Looking for Vectrix purchase advice...

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fatdog
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Joined: 12/09/2011
Points: 7
Re: Looking for Vectrix purchase advice...

After looking awhile I've come across another issue. I am now in Hawaii so have to shop long distance. While there are plenty of deals on the 2007 VX-1, I have found a newer one of interest. But I'm having trouble getting questions answered.
The basic question is whether it is Ni or Li. It was first described as a low mileage 2010 model, but on the web page is listed as 2009. It has the 'striped' body paint, not the mono-color plain as the 2007. The seller first wasn't sure it was Li, then said for sure it is, but made me suspect his knowledge when he wasn't sure if it had a VIN - i.e. wasn't really a street legal bike since it was electric.
I actually don't think he (a dealer) is trying to screw me, just a gas bike guy. But is there a quick way for him to determine if it is Li? Were some in production in 2010 before the 'VX-1 Li' was put on the cowling? Obviously makes a huge dif in value.
Thanks for any suggestions.

antiscab
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Joined: 07/07/2007
Points: 1598
Re: Looking for Vectrix purchase advice...

The VX1 Li variants can all show battery voltage and temperature while riding

That would be the first clue

The VIN number is located in two places:
behind the front wheel

and in front of the back wheel on the battery box

next to the VIN is the production date

Note: many nimh VX1's have been converted to lithium by vectrix at the factory, these were all old/new stock

if it is a nimh Vectrix, the csot of converting to lithium yourself is around $4000

Matt

__________________

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst replacement TC Charger
conversion
Spent so far: $5800 + $7000 + $1720 + $960 + $320 + $720 + $140 + $600
Cost to do it again: $2500 + $5600 + $1720 + $960 + $320 + $720 + $140 + $600
Cost for a Petrol bike:$6000 + + $1440 + $6000 + $800 + $1400 + $3200 servicing
Total spent: $17260
Total to do again: $12560
Total to have used a petrol bike: $18840
Total distance travelled so far: 79'120km

fatdog
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Joined: 12/09/2011
Points: 7
Re: Looking for Vectrix purchase advice...

Thanks Matt.The Vectrix world owes you a tribute.
fatdog

Lionstrike
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Joined: 12/19/2011
Points: 74
Re: Looking for Vectrix purchase advice...

I know that I am late here and that I am the forum newbie, but I thought that I'd throw in my two cents.

I am probably the most recent owner of a Vectrix on this forum, I just bought mine last December, 2011. I have heard a lot of bad things about failures too, and am already thinking about upgrade options. I was a little spooked about failures.

In the short time I've known this bike, I DO NOT regret my purchase one bit. So far, this thing seems to be a spectacular bit of engineering. Perhaps it is just because my bike has a total of about 530 miles on it, very few of which I put on myself because I bought it used, but I haven't seen item #1 in terms of issues with this bike. Perhaps I should knock on wood.

Forgive my babbling randomly, but a couple of major issues come to mind as when I think about the future of my Vectrix.

- I HATE DEBT. Really. I can't stand it. There are very few things in this world I hate more. Taking out a lean for an 8-11K electric vehicle is something that I am unwilling to consider. I gave the guy roughly what your friend's asking price is and paid it out of pocket. Keep in mind that just because you would buy a more expensive vehicle does not rid you of the possibility that it too might have it's problems. That brings me to my next point...

- All batteries fail. Sooner or later a battery pack will have given it's last. That time might be extended with lithium and you might get those cool little perks like enhanced range and performance, but it doesn't rid you of the cost of thinking about replacing that battery some day. Until EV battery prices come down... that won't be cheap. I expect a fair amount of pain here in this department, but that brings me to my next point...

- Some folks are reporting 30,000 trouble free miles on their Vectrices (see what I did there with the plural form of Vectrix? Clever huh?) with no issues of any kind and all on stock parts. Looking at the price of fuel and maintenance costs, that stands for me to equal roughly 5 years of rain or shine DAILY commuting. The functional effect is that at least in my case is muting any potential effect of battery replacement cost at least as it is now. Battery cost as I understand it, is expected to fall precipitously.

- EVs are a hobby for me. Unlike a lot of folks on this forum I have ZERO formal education in electronics or engineering. I am a tinkerer, a hobbyist. I read a lot of books and I put together my own EV motorcycle (which is nothing like street legal). I have learned a TON from wrenching on things in the small area outside my kitchen which doubles as a shop for me. My major point being that if I were to encounter some kind of failure on my Vectrix, although I would HATE the downtime, I wouldn't view it as an entirely negative thing allowing me a great opportunity to learn more about how EVs are designed and allowing me to wrench on vehicles which I am beginning to love inward of itself.

- "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." No matter what you choose you'll always wonder about that other one. This brings me to the point that another post mentioned: this is an addiction. You'll likely end up craving more no matter what you get.

So forgive my word vomit, but as a brief aside the answer in my opinion is that there is no answer. You'll begin to enjoy your EV whatever you choose for the sake of itself. And when that happens, I am guessing that with your background you'll probably find yourself with a wrench in your hand. And if that's the case anyway, better off with a cheap VX-1.

Just my two cents. But then again, I am the newbie.

PzlPete
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Joined: 06/22/2009
Points: 157
Re: Looking for Vectrix purchase advice...

I appreciate everyone's input here and would like to add my own two cents.

I have owned a 4000li lithium powered xtreme cycle for the past 13 months and have put just over 7000 miles on it. What impresses me the most about these lithium cells, as we debate lithium versus NIMH, is that these Thundersky Lithium's appear to be showing little to no sign of decay in those 7000 miles. I have owned NIMH and NiCad batteries in the past, and they did not hold up nearly as well as these lithium cells are. In fact I was usually fortunate to get more than a years life out of NIMH or NiCad. I will probably put another 7000 miles on my 4000li over the next year and will keep you updated.

Cor
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Joined: 02/12/2012
Points: 36
Re: Looking for Vectrix purchase advice...

I have until now not owned a motorcycle - I converted an eBike to Lithium that I have been riding recently. In the past I have owned a large electric vehicle (S10 truck). However I am about to buy a *new* Vectrix, if I can find 2 others interested in also buying one for half price, see my post in the Sell forum. I have read through most of Mik's posts, especially about charging problems, gearbox noise & warranty voiding, Vectux mods and the posts about NiMH to Lithium upgrade (which was exactly as I expected, since I have upgraded my bicycle already, so I know about the finicky Lithium).
I plan to run the Vectrix with the NiMH pack and relaxed charge profile to remove heat & over-charge damage and stretch the usability of the NiMH pack as long as I can. After all, my Prius also has no issues after more than 52k mi with NiMH batteries and I hear many who have gone to 300k and beyond... Even RAV4EV routinely get over 100,000 mi even though their pack is larger and consequently the nr of cycles is lower due to the available range being more than 100 miles instead of the ~40 miles of the Vectrix. But having 1/3 range means that still >40k mi should be possible...
Anyway - anybody interested in a new (never titled) NiMH Vectrix for half price? Give me a buzz.

Caruso
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Joined: 04/22/2011
Points: 88
Re: Looking for Vectrix purchase advice...

I went from a Vespa 250GTS to a Vectrix. The Vespa frustrated me in many ways. It was fast enough to expose the limitations of the small wheels. The top speed varied a great deal depending on headwind and incline. I liked the styling though, and the surprised looks you got overtaking cars on the motorway! I find the Vectrix more satifying to ride, it's more stable and feels more torquey. It's more relaxing to ride, which is ideal for the commuting I use it for. I'll admit I'm biased in favour of the Vectrix, but that's despite having ridden other bikes and scooters most of my adult life.

CO2
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Joined: 07/24/2011
Points: 110
Re: Looking for Vectrix purchase advice...

antiscab wrote:

After a full charge, how many bars are remaining when red battery light appears?

That will tell you the condition of the battery

a 15 mile commute is fine for nimh, as long as you charge at both ends.
15 miles is around a 50% discharge
Just don't try to make the round trip

The nimh battery can have decent life, as long as there aren't any dead cells presently

my own nimh battery gave me 13'500km, after which the worst cell was 29Ah and had accelerated self discharge.
So there was still plenty of life left in it.
So you should get a fair bit of usage before upgrade time

Installing The Lairds nimh firmware will help aswell

One of the reasons I like the Vectrix is the battery box space is *huge* - that gives rather a few options come battery replacement time

$2500 for an original Vectrix with a good battery sounds about right

Matt

So the best way to see full charge of the nimh battery is make a trip of 15 mile?
How can we verified, in old vectrix, if batteries are really good? can bus?

Aircon
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Joined: 12/23/2009
Points: 425
Re: Looking for Vectrix purchase advice...

antiscab wrote:

After a full charge, how many bars are remaining when red battery light appears?

That will tell you the condition of the battery

I always wondered about that. Seems like my battery, despite Charles' tech checking every cell, has only had 2/3 of it's potential, as from fully charged I still have about 1/3 of the bars showing when the red light comes on. It's done that since new.

No wonder I only get 40-50km out of a charge.

ofx210p
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Joined: 10/20/2008
Points: 375
Re: Looking for Vectrix purchase advice...

My bike was 'new old stock' from Charles in Aussie. and the best i've ever had was 52km from full to empty. But as far as Charles's own admissions he believes that Vectrix deliberately sold him a couple of hundred bikes with damaged batteries. So all australian Vectrixes either need their batteries dismantled and reassembled with good cells or you just have to accept a lower km range than say a fully capable battery.

Obviously there are 2 other options available if it really bugs you . 1 is to replace your battery with a full strength-tested one from antiscab for $1200-$1500 or 2. go the lithium route.

Cheers

antiscab
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Joined: 07/07/2007
Points: 1598
Re: Looking for Vectrix purchase advice...

CO2 wrote:

So the best way to see full charge of the nimh battery is make a trip of 15 mile?
How can we verified, in old vectrix, if batteries are really good? can bus?

Connecting to the CAN bus won't really tell you anything

to test the capacity:
ride to red battery light
fully charge
ride to red battery light again, this time note how many bars were remaining before the light came on

If you don't ride to red battery light initially, your battery won't be charged to full
You need to do the second ride to red battery light immediately after the CC stage of the charge process has completed

Self discharge is highest when the batteries are fully charged, so they don't stay full for long

Even with a good battery you will have disappearing bars due to the self discharge

Matt

__________________

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst replacement TC Charger
conversion
Spent so far: $5800 + $7000 + $1720 + $960 + $320 + $720 + $140 + $600
Cost to do it again: $2500 + $5600 + $1720 + $960 + $320 + $720 + $140 + $600
Cost for a Petrol bike:$6000 + + $1440 + $6000 + $800 + $1400 + $3200 servicing
Total spent: $17260
Total to do again: $12560
Total to have used a petrol bike: $18840
Total distance travelled so far: 79'120km

CO2
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Joined: 07/24/2011
Points: 110
Re: Looking for Vectrix purchase advice...

And If I can´t ride the Vectrix, it's another way to check battery health?

Cor
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Joined: 02/12/2012
Points: 36
Re: Looking for Vectrix purchase advice...

I think that Mik has his "rock" where he parked the Vectrix with the rear wheel in the air, opened the throttle and let it run until it ran no more.... There is no need to actually have the vehicle move in order to run it down, though it is more fun to ride it than to have it sit. Also the load is higher when riding than with the wheel in the air, but you will get some load from running it idle - it might take hours to run down though. If you want to do a real-life stress test without moving then you dial in about 10 hp on a dyno and run the bike full bore, simulating about 65 MPH ride on the freeway. You should be done well within 20 mins at that power level (approx 8kW).
I could think of other ways to load-test the bike - a poor mans dyno would be a junkyard car with at least somewhat functional parking or service brake. Position the bike to rub the rear tire against the car tire while that tire is jacked up, open the throttle and load the bike's drive system using the car's brake system.
If you have an old truck (or other car with differential rear wheel drive system) then the cold oil in the diff and gearbox might already present a good load to the bike even without actually braking...

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