Make a Better Scooter

31 replies [Last post]
sgmdudley
Offline
Joined: 12/22/2007
Points: 211

After reading all the threads/posts regarding the XM-2K, Zapino and Z20/R20 I started this thread for the benefit of any manufacturers watching this forum. I cannot afford a scooter in the price range of the Vectrix, but I would gladly have paid a few thousand more for a scooter with the following:

1) Better manufacturing process and quality control
2) Better motor and controller (read quality and compatibility)
3) Lithium-Ion batteries and good wiring with soldered connectors
4) Better tires, like the Michelin S-1
5) An accurate speedomer/odometer that reads in Miles.
6) Bank Charging Standard (not an option)
7) Battery Equalizer standard (not an option)
8) A headlight that you can actually see where you are going
9) Better Range and Speed then any of the 2000-3000 watt scooters available today.

Is this day dreaming or what?

__________________

Robert Dudley
E-Scoot Tech

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
jdh2550_1
jdh2550_1's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/17/2007
Points: 2338
Re: Make a Better Scooter

I applaud your effort and your intent - however, I think your list is too vague. It's a good starting off point for the discussion though.

First, I'd suggest documenting the capabilities wanted. For me, this class of bike should have a true 45mph top speed, a real world 25 mile range and "brisk" acceleration (I'll have to think some more about a quantitative acceleration figure). All these figures should be for an average rider weight, with gear, of 180lbs. "Real world range" would include a simulated drive cycle that includes stop and go traffic and extended 40mph cruise speed and would leave the batteries down to the lowest safe level (i.e. no boosting the range by setting the controller with a dangerously low cut off).

For reliability it needs to be able to go 3000 miles between services and it needs to be dealer prepped before delivery so that things can be properly adjusted from the get go (even Honda's don't arrive to the end customer without passing through dealer prep). Ideally this means a battery pack with a 3000 mile life expectancy - not sure that's doable yet.

Yes I agree with bank charging. Not so sure about equalizing. Depends on the chemistry and capacities somewhat. However, see next - I want a 2 year warranty on the battery - so it will behoove the manufacturer to provide appropriate battery subsystems to support this.

Warranty should consist of 12 months parts and labor - apart from consumables. Batteries should be warrantied for 2 years with a clearly documented test procedure for determining a faulty battery and a clearly documented usage and charging procedure to remain in warranty. (In fact a savvy manufacturer might build in a data logger to determine whether the batteries were left in an uncharged state and use that as the basis for not paying out on warranty - I'd be OK with that). Warranty work should be able to be performed by a licensed gas scooter dealer.

I agree with you that I'd prefer brand name tires (Michelin, Pirelli, Dunlop etc.) and a speedo accurate within 5%. Hopefully dealer prep and a service interval of 3000 miles would help address your points like "better soldering"

With those specs I'd compare the existing scoots and see what each vendor needs to address to get there.

To the technical folks and the tinkerers out there - can we turn any of our existing scooters into the "ideal" scooter?

__________________

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas. No Worries." - JDH, CuMoCo || "Make Volts Not War" - anon.

LinkOfHyrule
LinkOfHyrule's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/17/2007
Points: 730
Re: Make a Better Scooter

Well, yeah. Hell, you could build one up from scratch if you had the money, tools, and know how. Isn't that, like, the entire point of modding a scooter?

My very (very) long term goal is to either buy or replicate Vectrix's superbike. Of course, I would use an induction motor and whatever uber-chemistry is available then.

I think it could be done for under $75,000 :D.

__________________

The author of this post isn't responsible for any injury, disability or dismemberment, death, financial loss, illness, addiction, hereditary disease, or any other undesirable consequence or general misfortune resulting from use of the "information" contained herein.

Shayler
Shayler's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/08/2008
Points: 31
Re: Make a Better Scooter

I would like to be able to buy parts of the scooter (XM2000 or bigger size) separately and put it together myself. I do not know if this is currently possible or not, but it would be nice. For instance buy your frame, hub motor, batteries, etc. and build it how you want it. Does anyone know manufactures that will sell some of this stuff separately?

LinkOfHyrule
LinkOfHyrule's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/17/2007
Points: 730
Re: Make a Better Scooter

Almost. I know you can get pretty much all the more intricate parts for a scooter (motor, controller, etc.) by themselves, but I don't know of any manufacturer who would sell you just a frame and body. Generally easier to snag a broken one on eBay or something and replace whatever you want.

__________________

The author of this post isn't responsible for any injury, disability or dismemberment, death, financial loss, illness, addiction, hereditary disease, or any other undesirable consequence or general misfortune resulting from use of the "information" contained herein.

andrew
andrew's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/28/2006
Points: 1361
Re: Make a Better Scooter

sgmdudley wrote:

[topic post]

All perfectly doable. But from a manufacturers perspective, how much is it going to cost, and how much are you going to have to charge to sell it? And what is the projected market at that price for the product offered?

That last one is key. The vectrix is proving that for a 60 mph well built maxi scooter with 30-40 miles real world range there is a market for $12,000. Would there be a market for a $6,000 well built scooter that goes 45 mph and has 30 miles range? Maybe not, because the people buying the vectrix have a lot of money and may be buying it for the novelty or uniqueness of it.

The same could be said about the Tesla. What is the target market? People with lots of money. Why are they going to buy it? Possibly for fun, the novelty, uniqueness, and for peace of mind. Cut the performance and price in half and there may be no market for that product.

jdh2550_1
jdh2550_1's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/17/2007
Points: 2338
Re: Make a Better Scooter

Good points andrew - but I suspect there is a market for such a bike based on the cost and sales of quality Japanese and Italian 50cc mopeds.

I think one of the major things Vectrix brings to the table is a better dealer network. At the moment the electric scooter market is for the (techy) geeks and (green) freaks (don't take offense folks - we're all in this together). Or rich folk scratching an itch.

Before it goes main stream it's just GOT to have a mainstream feel - people don't like change and they don't like risk so having to tinker with a bike themselves or have someone tinker for them is going to make buying an EV scooter a non-starter. It's years away before we get to a stage where their going to be able to walk into a dealership and choose between a range of EV scooters and walk out with the one that suits them...

__________________

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas. No Worries." - JDH, CuMoCo || "Make Volts Not War" - anon.

PJD
Offline
Joined: 11/22/2006
Points: 1238
Re: Make a Better Scooter

I really don't think the additional QC needed to make these scooters reliable should not have to cost anything close to thousands of dollars. In the case of the e-max, the defects were a follows:

Defect: Poorly secured filter capacitors on the controller PC board - causing controller failure if ridden on rough roads
Solution: Secure capacitors to board with silicone
Cost: less than a dollar per controller.

Defect: "a black-box" control module frequently failed, resulting in inoperable scooter
Solution: get rid of the black box - it wasn't needed!
Cost: negative 10 dollars.

Defect: Inadequate power for hills
Solution: minor redesign of controller - raise amperage limit.
Cost: negligible

Defect: numerous annoying rattles - poorly secured chassis wiring.
Solution: secure chassis wiring better
Cost: additional hour of labor per scooter plus a dozen wire ties - maybe one dollar.

Defect: Poorly designed 4S-2P battery arrangement.
Solution: wire batteries into 2P-4S arrangement.
Cost: negligible

And a few others... but certainly not anything that should cost a thousand more - except, as I'm learning, the LiFePO3 batteries.

As far as charging, bulk charging is probably the only really practical way to charge a LiFePO3 pack. A bank of 20 independent 3.2 volt chargers doesn't seem to feasible. But a BMS seems to be mandatory on these packs anyway, and they are supposedly more overcharge and undercharge damage resistant than AGM sealed lead acids, so charging issues are a bit less critical.

BTW, with with all this stuff fixed, one of my e-max's now has 9400 km on it. As far as a speedometer reading in miles, it time for the US to join the world and go metric anyway...

Mik
Mik's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/11/2007
Points: 3723
Re: Make a Better Scooter

Quote:

The vectrix is proving that for a 60 mph well built maxi scooter with 30-40 miles real world range there is a market for $12,000. Would there be a market for a $6,000 well built scooter that goes 45 mph and has 30 miles range? Maybe not, because the people buying the Vectrix have a lot of money and may be buying it for the novelty or uniqueness of it.

Some good points there Andrew!

I do indeed have a lot of money, compared to the average person currently living on our suffocating planet.

But not that much that I could simply buy a Vectrix for fun. Far from it! I bought it because my calculations show that it will save me money in the short as well as in the long run.

Through my work I have the option to use a fully maintained 6cyl car, including petrol and full private use, or get an increased amount of money in each pay check and arrange for my own transport.
The first part of the calculation was really easy: It's heaps cheaper to run used cars with the payout than having the fully maintained car.

The second part of the cost analysis was more complicated, because there are many additional costs with riding motorbikes or scooters: Protective clothing, helmet, gloves, boots, security chains and locks, insurance, interest for finance.

And there are many unknowns: Will it perform as claimed, how long before the battery gives up the ghost etc.
With the perks of having a good job comes of course the responsibility to turn up reliably and on time, so the vehicle must be reliable.

And I still need to keep a car to bring a bunch of clean clothes to work every now and then, pick up family members, go surfing, etc.

Well, I concluded that there is no hope of getting the majority of people to help save the planet if the more wealthy minority is not prepared to do the right thing and take some risk with their money!

My Vectrix is not performing as well as the ads claim, but it does what I need it to do.

Well, Karma had to help me out a lot there: I got an unexpected promotion to a workplace closer to home; my Vectrix would not have made it to my old workplace and back without recharging, despite the salesman's enthusiasm...
This might however still improve if the upcoming service finds some rectifiable fault.

I am not prepared to join the traffic where I live with anything that does not have some grunt - I prefer to live! As far as I can see, the Vectrix or a car are currently the only options.

Here is part of an email I sent to my Vectrix dealer a while ago, saves me further lengthy typing (I spend way too much time writing on this forum, anyway!):

I do not believe that there is a very big market for selling Vectrix' to current petrol scooter owners; much more so for first time ever scooter buyers. This is because the running cost differential between a car and a Vectrix is so much bigger than the running cost differential between a petrol scooter and a Vectrix.
It would take some time to recoup the comparatively high purchase cost of the Vectrix when it replaces a petrol scooter.
But one would save money immediately when buying a Vectrix instead of replacing a car with a new car, even if keeping the old car registered and using it occasionally. And one gets the benefits of being stuck less in traffic and being able to find a place to park the Vectrix. Petrol scooter riders already have these advantages, and they do not face the prospect of spending $10,000.- to $40,000.- or more to replace their vehicle when it gets old.
Before purchasing my Vectrix I carefully calculated the likely costs, including everything I could think of, and came to the conclusion that it will take about 5 years to recoup the purchase price; this is including the cost to keep an old Toyota Camry, replace it every 3-4 years or so with another old car if needed, and drive it to work about once/week instead of the Vectrix. I assumed AU$1.50/l as the petrol price and AU$0.14/kWh for electricity in the calculations.
Higher petrol prices would shift the advantage rapidly towards the Vectrix option, even if electricity costs rise proportionately to petrol costs.
Of course it also depends on what the actual battery life span and servicing /repair costs for the Vectrix turn out to be over the years.
In other words, if the servicing costs etc are as advertised and fuel prices do not go up, I will own both a 5-year old Vectrix and an old car outright in 2012 without having spent any extra money compared to continuing to drive only a used car.

Since I wrote that email on 23-Dec-2007, petrol prices have already hit AU$1.50/l....chances are I'll save a packet riding electric! And thats with using the Real World Specs of my Vectrix!
And if the battery only lasts 5 years and the rest of the Vectrix also falls apart by then, I would still not have spent an extra cent.

A massively reduced environmental footprint for zero cost, and maybe even saving me money!

Oh, yes, I do also have some fun along the way!

Cheers,

Mr Mik

__________________

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

racermike39
racermike39's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/15/2007
Points: 127
Re: Make a Better Scooter

Hello every one.

"Before it goes main stream it's just GOT to have a mainstream feel - people don't like change and they don't like risk so having to tinker with a bike themselves or have someone tinker for them is going to make buying an EV scooter a non-starter. It's years away before we get to a stage where their going to be able to walk into a dealership and choose between a range of EV scooters and walk out with the one that suits them... "

John, I totally agree, and I have astatement that I have repeated many times about the acceptance of EV's. It goes something like this:

"Untill a soccer mom can get into an electric vehicle, and drive it like an ICE minivan, it will never be accepted." This is not a slam to soccer moms, but a statement that indicates what the American consumer demands, and the unwillingness to make changes or be educated about alternatives to the current ICE vehicles. Lets face it. That is why the Hybrid has some success. They operate exactly like the vehicle that it replaced. This is a start however, in the transision process. As more and more Hybrids become more reliant on electric power, and the general public becomes accustomed to it, the change over to an all electric will be more likely.

This EV look and feel of an ICE costs money. What you are trying to achieve with these scooters will cost $15,000 to do in the US. Maybe a team from this forum could go over to China and bring the solutions to the quality problems, and educate the manufacturer in what the Worlds EV consumer demands. China has awesome manufacturing resources. The quality is something that can be achieved. I think the China scooter manufacturers do well at producing a scooter that "on paper" is excellent. Maybe some US real world scooter application experience would be all that is needed to get the products to meet or exceed our expectations.

Does anyone think that the Hydrogen/fuel cell debacle had an adverse affect on the development of EV's? My opinion is that all the stakes for alternative fueled vehicles were put into fuel cells, and destroyed (for a time)and development on batttery EV's.

Just some thoughts.

Thanks too all who contribute to this forum.

Mike K.

__________________

Racermike
5 years ago I met Jesus and he total ruined my life. I have never been happier.

racermike39
racermike39's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/15/2007
Points: 127
Re: Make a Better Scooter

Someone posted "I wish I could buy a XM-2000 or similar sized scooter to convert".

I think it may be possible. Check this link out:

http://www.motocrox.com/redpitbiroch.html

Go to rolling chassis. I can't beleive what you get for $400. This would make an awesome conversion platform.

I have yet to search on "scooter rolling chassis" but I would bet that someone is importing something.

Mike K.

__________________

Racermike
5 years ago I met Jesus and he total ruined my life. I have never been happier.

antiscab
Offline
Joined: 07/07/2007
Points: 1584
Re: Make a Better Scooter

Ben,

On my bank charging setup, it takes the 3A chargers i got from www.batteryspace.com approx 3 hours to return my batteries to full charge. According to my drain brain i took 8.5AH out of them during the ride. Im using them on an emax, with 5 of the original batteries wired in series for 60v.
I can repeat the test as i have no changed over to LiFePO4.

do you have a website?
I bought an emax from EMC in WA, their dealer network is incompetent. Its good to hear there are other sources of EV scooters for the Aust market.

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

Shayler
Shayler's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/08/2008
Points: 31
Re: Make a Better Scooter

Thanks racermike,
I wonder if this motor would work on one of thoughs chassis...
http://www.electricvehiclesusa.com/product_p/mo-pmg-132.htm

DanCar
Offline
Joined: 11/21/2006
Points: 181
Re: Make a Better Scooter

sgmdudley wrote:

but I would gladly have paid a few thousand more for a scooter with the following:

I've requested most of the features you've asked for from the manufacturer in the past. They mostly say yes, they are working on it. For the bank charger issue, they don't seem to get it yet. I get an answer like: "The bank charger cost $350 and new batteries cost $350 so why not just buy new batteries when they give out?" I don't agree and haven't been able to convince them to add the bank charger to VRLA batteries. For li-ion it is available. Long range for li-ion is also available but the cost for the larger amp hour batteries rises quickly.

Daniel

sgmdudley
Offline
Joined: 12/22/2007
Points: 211
Re: Make a Better Scooter

If Electric Scooters are going to be a viable means of transportation as an alternative to using GAS, then they have to made better. It has been pointed out by others repling to this thread I started that this needs to happen before the general public will start investing in this type of vehicle. The Vectrix does meet the requirements but at too high a cost. This can't be the only way to go. There must be something that can be produced that would be reliable (which is the key word for this whole IDEA). It must be able to get you to work, or the store or where ever and back without problems. I know that there would be those incidents of flats tires, etc, but in general they should go more then 1 foot and die. or work the 1st day then not the 2nd. And we should not have to rewire the scooter and adds things to make them utilize the batteries better and keep track of the battery condition. We should not have to replace the tires as soon as we get the scooter to have some rubber on the road we can rely on. I guess this is wishful thinking. Maybe I'll get a Vespa.

__________________

Robert Dudley
E-Scoot Tech

sgmdudley
Offline
Joined: 12/22/2007
Points: 211
Re: Make a Better Scooter

Sorry about the last line of the above post. Yes, Vespas are more reliable, are fun, go faster (I would get a GTS 250CC) and get 60 mpg. But my goal was to get away from using GAS. I guess I am just a little frustrated at having an expensive (to me) electric scooter that I cannot drive yet. OK, I will take a deep breath, relax and wait for parts and paperwork which should be here next week.

__________________

Robert Dudley
E-Scoot Tech

PJD
Offline
Joined: 11/22/2006
Points: 1238
Re: Make a Better Scooter

Well, we have to face it, motor scooters in general are a very tough sell in the US. More than anywhere else, middle-class people in the US live with a disproportionate feeling of insecurity (in many cases for valid economic and political reasons). So, this leads them to be pretty adverse to anything that looks the least bit "dangerous" like using scooters for everyday transportation even in areas with good climates.

jdh2550_1
jdh2550_1's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/17/2007
Points: 2338
Re: Make a Better Scooter

To PJD and others that stated things like "it wouldn't take a couple of thousand dollars to fix the problem with scooter X". I fully agree - however, to attract dealers and have a pre-delivery inspection on every e-scooter sold would likely add that sort of cost. Also, more time in real world testing, sales and marketing and the whole shebang has to be factored into that final price.

In another post I talked about buying rolling chassis from China, batteries from elsewhere and doing final assembly in the US (for the US market). At present, and with the examples we've all dealt with, I'd rather stick with the QC here. If I can get a rolling chassis with everything except batteries, charger and wiring harness delivered to the US for $750 and then spend another $1500 on high power (large cells) LiFePO4 then I need to be able to build, test, warranty, distribute and service the bikes.

I wonder what the true dealer cost of a Vespa or Yamaha 50cc scooter is? And what the common failure modes and associated warranty costs are? Anyone know a gas scooter dealer?

__________________

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas. No Worries." - JDH, CuMoCo || "Make Volts Not War" - anon.

racermike39
racermike39's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/15/2007
Points: 127
Re: Make a Better Scooter

Hey Shayler,

Check out this link:

http://www.zeromotorcycles.com/

This uses that same motor at 72 volts. According to what I've read, this bike will keep up with a 250cc moto X bike for about 45 minutes. They don't give you a top speed, but there is information on the web saying they will do about 60 MPH. they say it will do 45 MPH trail riding for about an hour.

Can you imagine that combo on that 50cc chassis? What a ride! I think a 48 Volt combo with the E-tek or PMG 132 would be very fun, fast, and have a decent range.

The bottom line I think for a top quality scooter, that will give you reliable rides and the range you are looking for, you still have to convert a gas scooter. The high volume availablity and choises provide many opportunities. You can choose the best controller, batteries and motor for your needs. Most gas scooters come with quality brakes, tires and suspension, and come with all the stuff required for street use. XM-2000 and Z-20 are valiant efforts, but it seens most electric scooter offerings are (in my opinion) just getting out of the kids toy realm, and just begining to be manufactured as viable transportation.

This has been a great thread. Thanks again to all who posted.

Mike K.

__________________

Racermike
5 years ago I met Jesus and he total ruined my life. I have never been happier.

jdh2550_1
jdh2550_1's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/17/2007
Points: 2338
Re: Make a Better Scooter

Mike wrote:

The bottom line I think for a top quality scooter, that will give you reliable rides and the range you are looking for, you still have to convert a gas scooter.

and

Quote:

M-2000 and Z-20 are valiant efforts, but it seens most electric scooter offerings are (in my opinion) just getting out of the kids toy realm

I have to disagree with you there Mike. If someone wants to build a reliable bike equivalent to a 50cc scooter then I think the XM2K or Z20 are a great starting point. Personally I favor the XM2K (can't think why ;-) ). Out the box it has speed performance which is likely better than a 50cc moped. For $2000 (or raynman's for $1500) it's a great starting point. By the time you've spent the time and money amassing everything you need for a gas conversion then you'll have spent a good deal more than either the X or the Z.

Now, if someone wants to build a bike equivalent to a 150cc scooter or a 250cc maxi-scooter then I agree that a gas conversion is likely a better bet cost wise than a Vectrix (which I equate to a 250cc maxi-scooter). I don't actually know of a commercially available electric scooter which is equivalent in speed performance to a 150cc ICEr.

__________________

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas. No Worries." - JDH, CuMoCo || "Make Volts Not War" - anon.

jdh2550_1
jdh2550_1's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/17/2007
Points: 2338
Re: Make a Better Scooter

A couple of additions to my original reply to this post.

I was far too kind on the battery life - I said 3,000 miles. I think 10,000 would be a better target seeing as battery replacement is likely to be greater than $1000. If the bike has a 25 mile "safe" range that's 4,000 cycles - and that isn't going to happen. However, well looked after C-LiFePO4s might do 3,000 and Altairnano's batteries (in the Pheonix EVs) have a rated life of 12 years or something like that - so it's not absolutely impossible.

The batteries would be broken in at the factory and come ready to be ridden. I doubt more than 1% of the customer base would likely follow a break in regimen such as the one usatracy recommends. Rather than waste all that energy I think I'd use a bank of UPS batteries to act as either a load (i.e. charge the UPS batteries from the bike batteries) or a source (i.e. charge the bike batteries from the UPS batteries).

All this has me itching to draw up a business plan and actually contemplate how one might make a true competitor for a quality 50cc ICE (Vectrix doesn't count because it's a maxi-scooter competitor). Then, just secure some venture capital and it's off to the races... Simple, huh?

__________________

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas. No Worries." - JDH, CuMoCo || "Make Volts Not War" - anon.

Ben
Offline
Joined: 09/04/2007
Points: 33
Re: Make a Better Scooter

Improvements in quality, it should be said, applies generally to all chinese scooters. Not just electric scooters. If you want to compare petrol to electric then really you should be comparing like to like.. Non chinese to non chinese & chinese to chinese other wise you are crossing two different areas because the issue is with quality of chinese scooters and not electric specifically.

Having said that. In Australia we are starting to get chinese scooters that are achieving similar quality levels to other countries, but it did take some time to achieve. Eg. a 24hr scooter race run here in OZ end of 2007 was won convincingly by a chinese scooter.

Matt the site is in the tag line below.. Isn't it?

Mik
Mik's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/11/2007
Points: 3723
Why make a better scooter? Why make any scooter?

Hi,

just a general question about two wheelers, no matter if ICE or electric:

Why is there so much talk about "scooters" - is the design inherently more energy efficient than a motor-bike?

Or is it just that there is an assumption that more people will be comfortable riding them?

I fear it is all due to the risky behaviour of many scooter riders, i.e. it appears acceptable to ride scooters with office clothes, in shorts, skirts, t-shirts or whatever.

Of course it is extremely dangerous to do this.

See the Hurt Report for an analysis of motor bike accidents: http://www.clarity.net/~adam/hurt-report.html

Here are some relevant excerpts of the Hurt report for this scooter/bike question:


12. Most motorcycle accidents involve a short trip associated with shopping, errands, friends, entertainment or recreation, and the accident is likely to happen in a very short time close to the trip origin.

MEANS : the sort of reach most EV scooters have.


14. Conspicuity of the motorcycle is a critical factor in the multiple vehicle accidents, and accident involvement is significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle headlamps (on in daylight) and the wearing of high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets.

MEANS: Don't try to expand range by not having your lights on, and don't get on your ride in office clothes.

16. The median pre-crash speed was 29.8 mph, and the median crash speed was 21.5 mph, and the one-in-a-thousand crash speed is approximately 86 mph.

MEANS: The vast majority of motorbike accidents happen at EV-scooter speeds.

24. The motorcycle riders involved in accidents are essentially without training; 92% were self-taught or learned from family or friends. Motorcycle rider training experience reduces accident involvement and is related to reduced injuries in the event of accidents.

MEANS: A vehicle not requiring proper licensing and training of the rider will potentially cause more accidents.

37. The likelihood of injury is extremely high in these motorcycle accidents-98% of the multiple vehicle collisions and 96% of the single vehicle accidents resulted in some kind of injury to the motorcycle rider; 45% resulted in more than a minor injury.

40. The use of heavy boots, jacket, gloves, etc., is effective in preventing or reducing abrasions and lacerations, which are frequent but rarely severe injuries.

BUT: If lacerations are not the only injuries, they may well kill you in conjunction with other injuries that might have been survivable.

Cheers,

Mr Mik

__________________

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

Mountain chen
Offline
Joined: 09/05/2007
Points: 318
Re: Make a Better Scooter

BEN is right,in china. Never a E-scooter manufacturer could start with expensive injection mould for new model like Vectrix.

We have to purchase petrol scooter parts and modify into electric version.In china,the price competition make petrol scooter cheaper and cheaper,the related parts are worse and worse quality.Anyway,we are seeking for better Taiwan parts such as lighting (Jute) and tyres (Kenda) .

Unless the E-scooter market grow and quantity goes up,we can start with injection mould and total new model with good quality parts matching expensive price of E-scooter.

But this is relationship like egg and chicken,who came out first ? without good quality,the market volume will never grow.

jdh2550_1
jdh2550_1's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/17/2007
Points: 2338
Re: Why make a better scooter? Why make any scooter?

Mik - I think the talk is mostly of scooters (for the US market) because this is the type of motorized two wheeler that most often falls in the category of being able to be ridden without needing a specialized motorcycle license. Such ICE bikes which fall into this category are also usually below 50cc and sometimes speed restricted to 30 mph. As far as wearing suitable clothing goes - here in the US unfortunately it's fairly common to see some yahoo on a liter-plus sports bike wearing shorts and t-shirt (and if the state permits no helmet). Sad, but true - folks like usatracy support the notion of it's a personal right to be able to risk life and limb this way.

Ben - I disagree that for this discussion we should segment the markets into "budget" (Chinese) vs "non-budget" (non-Chinese). A lot of folks who are buying an electric scooter are doing so expecting a reliable, low maintenance experience. I think that's more of the target of this thread. I think the question is "how can these customers get that reliable experience for a moped sized bike". Of course I could be barking up the wrong tree...

__________________

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas. No Worries." - JDH, CuMoCo || "Make Volts Not War" - anon.

jdh2550_1
jdh2550_1's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/17/2007
Points: 2338
Re: Why make a better scooter? Why make any scooter?

Mountain,

I don't think any one is complaining about the styling or the quality of the injection molded plastic! Your answer seems like a bit of a lame excuse. What folks want from the manufacturer are things like: suitable batteries, well adjusted brakes, waterproof controllers suitable to ride in a wide range of conditions, a well assembled motor with well soldered connections, reliable switches, high quality tires etc. None of that equates to having to design a rolling chassis from the ground up (which I do agree with you is a VERY expensive proposition). Yes, some of those poor quality components might also plague the ICE bikes - however, not all of them and again, it's not necessarily an expensive proposition to fix those things that are common failures of the ICE bikes.

The other part of the equation is the customer expectations of a smooth delivery and ownership experience - this is where it switches over from a manufacturing question to a distribution and dealer network question (we can't blame the manufacturer for that as well... :-) )

__________________

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas. No Worries." - JDH, CuMoCo || "Make Volts Not War" - anon.

Mik
Mik's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/11/2007
Points: 3723
Re: Why make a better scooter? Why make any scooter?

John wrote:

Quote:

I think the talk is mostly of scooters (for the US market) because this is the type of motorized two wheeler that most often falls in the category of being able to be ridden without needing a specialized motorcycle license. Such ICE bikes which fall into this category are also usually below 50cc and sometimes speed restricted to 30 mph. As far as wearing suitable clothing goes - here in the US unfortunately it's fairly common to see some yahoo on a liter-plus sports bike wearing shorts and t-shirt (and if the state permits no helmet). Sad, but true - folks like usatracy support the notion of it's a personal right to be able to risk life and limb this way.

Thanks, John!

Can anyone think of a reason why a scooter is better than a motor-bike if you have an open motor-bike license and want to wear protective gear when riding, anyway?

Mik

__________________

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

spinningmagnets
Offline
Joined: 12/12/2007
Points: 295
Re: Why make a better scooter? Why make any scooter?

I got into researching E-bicycles because my son wanted to go to college nearby, and he had gotten several speeding tickets, causing him to lose his license for a year. I am now fascinated by E-scooters, and also E-motorcycles.

The laws vary by state, but it seems that scooters have significantly easier and cheaper license, registration, and insurance requirements. I once bought a small motorcycle that was cheaper than the high-end gas-scoots. Though not allowed on the freeway, some were more powerful than my motorcycle. They had an automatic transmission and thus no clutch, and also, as mentioned before, they were restricted to 45 MPH.

I am happy for anyone who gets an E-scoot, but personally I am now only interested in a 25 MPH E-bike, and a 45 MPH E-motorcycle.

Based on my limited experience with gas-scoots, I am unhappy with the small wheels (compared to a motorcycle). I can get an old small gas-moto (for near free) and convert it to electric. So, this is my new focus, but in my case, I already have a Motorcycle license.

I'm investigating if an E-moto conversion that eliminates the clutch and is limited to 45 MPH can get scooter licensing and registration. A scooter here also does not require a safety course to get a license, all new motorcycle riders here do.

For those who are not as mechanical, or just don't have the resources to do a conversion, a factory E-scoot may be the best commuter option. That being said, I am happy to see all types of EV's growing in popularity.

Ben
Offline
Joined: 09/04/2007
Points: 33
Re: Why make a better scooter? Why make any scooter?

Sorry John but I am really just pointing out that budget is budget and it makes no difference whether it is petrol or electric. If you buy budget petrol scooter there will be problems too. Hell buy an expensive one and try and get away without problems. Will there be less problems with an expensive scooter compared to a budget one. Maybe...Maybe not, but you would hope so. Oh for a perfect world.

That is not to say that they cant be improved because they can and will be. This is just part of any product development in absolutely any area of commerce you care to name. Computer hardware, software. Hell they spend billions developing new cars only to release with a myriad of flaws and faults and recalls. How often is a series II model just that much better. And it is not limited to any one company either.

As Mountain points out better parts are constantly being sort and sourced... Some parts come from the same factories as those used in expensive scooters and motorcycles. It is an ongoing process. Again... not limited to Electric.

Mik.. I can think of one reason.. Storage. Scooters generally have it.. Motorcycles generally dont.. Yes you can add more storage to either. Also, scooters have a different trendy image and are more likely to be accepted in 50cc format than a motorcycle running a 50cc motor. In our case here, Electric of course.

Anyone can sit on their back sides and what for a perfect product of any type.. I hope they have a comfy chair.

racermike39
racermike39's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/15/2007
Points: 127
Re: Why make a better scooter? Why make any scooter?

Hey John!

I'm with ya on the venture capital and producing electric scooters. A healthy relationship with an overseas rolling chassis supplier, and the quality electronic components and battery technology that does exist, A scooter that fills the needs and expectations of the consumer is entirely possible.

My thinking was more along the lines of puchasing 1000 Chevy Avios and Colorado pick-ups as "coasters", and converting them to EV's. It seams everyone is waiting for the "magic" battery to come along, and the range to increase to 300 miles. My theory is get the cars built and on the road now, and when the LiofePh batteries come down in price, the cars will greatly improve in range and performance. I believe that will happen just about the time when battery packs would need to be replaced. There are several dormant assembly plants in Michigan now. I bet with some involvement with some government agencies, those facilities could be used rent free or close to it. The right PR/sales person could probably get GM on board as they would certainly benefit from the good press coverage, and maybe even help GM qualify for the % of vehicles that must exceed certain MPG ratings.

But now is the time.

I should probably stop playing with electric tractors and 4 wheelers, and just buy an Avio and convert it. At least a working prototype would be available to promote the product line.

PS
Thanks for correcting me on the comment I made about the scooters above. I am not saying that XM and Z-20 are not good products, I actually applaude their efforts, and I think they have brought the electric scooter industry to another level. I am NOT an arm chair quarterback. I am a lousy spectator, and I love being "in the game". My desire is to be part of the solution. Not a critic or finger pointer.

Mike K.

__________________

Racermike
5 years ago I met Jesus and he total ruined my life. I have never been happier.

jdh2550_1
jdh2550_1's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/17/2007
Points: 2338
Re: Why make a better scooter? Why make any scooter?

Mike,

When you arrive in Michigan to chat up Jennifer Granholm and persuade her to give you big bucks to take over one of the dead car factories be sure to stop in to Ann Arbor and say hi - I'd be happy to host you ;-)

I too had similar thoughts (OK, I admit it, dreams!) about converting cars and trucks in mass. However, I think I'd rather cut my teeth on motorcycles - hey, it worked for that little Japanese outfit that started selling in the US in the 50's or 60's - what were they called again? Oh, that's right - Honda! :-)

First off though I need to know some basic facts about the 50cc moped market - like what are the sales figures and average prices to figure out if it's even financially feasible. Then I'd put together a 5 year plan to try and gain a 5% to 10% market share (I'd also be adding a 150cc equivalent product and a 250cc/Vectrix equivalent product in years 2 and 3).

Does anyone know where I can go to get free information about the motorcycle market?

__________________

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas. No Worries." - JDH, CuMoCo || "Make Volts Not War" - anon.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Short URL

Build Your Own Electric Vehicle You need this book if you want to build your own EV
Revenge of the Electric Car The electric car is not only back from the dead, it's inevitable
e-Bike Kit Electric bicycle conversion kits and accessories
Customize This