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Submitted by EVPaul on Sat, 06/26/2010 - 21:27
I've been looking for an electric scooter for about a year. I wanted to start with something inexpensive to see how it goes before spending any real money. Seeing that spring is here and the price of gas is going up again it was time to make the jump. My requirements were: it had to cost less than $400, did not require special registration or licensing, and had pedals.
A month or two ago I found the Gelato on craigslist (only 3 miles away). It had been used a little, but had been sitting for the last two years. It was no supprise that the batteries were dead. I found replacements locally (batteryspec.com). There is not that much information on the Gelato online, but batteryspec.com had a listing. They also have a place to pickup locally so the cost of shipping 36 pounds of lead was eliminated.
If you live in the Silicon Valley (or San Francisco Bay area) and would like to save on shipping too, the guys at batteryspec.com are pretty good to deal with, be warned that the sign on the door is microscopic. Once inside you might
think that you have wandered into the lobby of a deserted tech company.
I've ridden it to work 15 or so times plus around the neighborhood on various jaunts. Overall I am pretty happy with the scooter.
The things I like about it most are: It runs nicely on the flats and manages small hills better than I expected. Luckily there is only one small hill to get over on my commute. I like that the batteries are in a box that can be easily removed and recharged in my office while the scooter is outside. It has carried passengers up to 120lbs without any noticeable reduction in speed.
However there are some downsides. None of these are deal breakers yet, but have become obvious. The case in which the batteries are contained is made of very thin plastic. Mine has already started to crack and is being held together with duct tape. There is a handle on top which barely holds up the weight of the batteries. I was not sure that it was possible to actually make anything out of thinner plastic, but amazingly the trunk box proved to be up to the challenge. There is not much information about the bike on the web and the manufacturer (Q-electric) does not respond to calls about parts. Their support email address on bounces all mail back to the sender. The controller is completely bare of markings. When it goes it will be time to do some re-wiring. Minor issues include no odometer and a questionable speedometer.
This looks like a lot of negatives. Overall it is fun to ride, uses no gas, and is very quiet. It has become my regular commuter.
My projects for the scooter are: install a cycle computer to provide accurate speed and distance measurements, and add a watt meter to keep track of the quality of the batteries. (How can we brag about the amount of money being saved without measuring?)