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Vectrix - My personal experience - updated
Submitted by turok on Sun, 04/19/2009 - 01:09
I have become, on Friday the 17th, april 2009, a Vectrix owner, and I'll post my findings about it here.
For me this purchase was a bit of a gamble, because Vectrix the company, at this time, has some financial issues, and we cannot be certain that it will survive the crisis, thus leaving us, owners without warranty.
But I knew it directly after I ordered the bike, and I didn't cancel my order.
-I know I won't regret buying it, especially if it keeps working. I bought it mostly for fun, so if something happens, it will be a pity, but it won't get me in serious trouble.
-It's just electronics. They can be repaired and enhanced in the future.
-I believe in the technology (EV's) and I want to support it every way I can.
-The Vectrix is about the only serious E-vehicle available on the market right now.
-I am truly concerned about the environment.
2 days into ownership, 150 km done on 2 1/2 charges, I'm starting to get a little used to the machine.
It is truly a fine motorcycle with more than enough punch, and it's certainly a head turner.
There are certainly some negative points, but I can count these on the fingers of one hand.
The good stuff keeps coming though!
When I went to go get it at my dealer, it, again, surprised me how big it is.
It's majestic and it’s SO much more beautiful than on any picture.. You HAVE to have seen it before you can judge if it’s worth it’s money.
It’s finished at a very high level, not like one you’d expect when you think “electric scooter”
Then again, It’s not perfect either, it has some stupid little details I would have done different.
Like the glove box, it’s probably invented either on a Monday morning or a Friday evening :-)
Also the rubber mats where the driver puts his feet on, should have been attached in another way, at one side it keeps popping out of its plastic base.
I like the overall design, and it’s long, low profile I find really sexy.
I would not put a top case on its sexy ass, it would spoil that . The helmet compartment is twice as big as may Honda’s was, so I’m very pleased with that too.
But it still took me a few weeks to get used to the overall design, in fact, I didn’t like the steering setup, and I still don’t, but I’m easing in to it . It gets better with time.
The gages ,handles, lights, paint, wheels, saddle….everything is eye-candy!
The machine is built for driving, and I would like to judge that part, but I couldn’t be objective.
I have almost no experience with other “high performance” bikes to compare with.
My Honda lead certainly wasn’t so sportive and I can imagine that everyone who has never ridden something serious would feel the same as I feel.. something like: WOW!
It’s heavy, so you must have a certain length to be able to safely drive it.
Once driving, it feels very stable, I can certainly feel the weight of the batteries, low down, working in its favor.
That weight at those speeds could be dangerous though, so I keep my distance from other vehicles. The regenerative brake works like a charm, but I see how someone could forget about his normal brakes in case of an emergency. It takes a little practice, but I’m getting it, using the front brake together with the regenerative.
The bike is built for city work, and I like the way it corners. I find it very maneuverable, and yet I feel safer than on my old Lead.
It really turns on a dime too, and although the reverse wouldn’t be totally necessary for me, it does come in handy from time to time.
Of course, with 150 km done, it’s early to judge everything, but I’m glad I bought it, and as for now, I don’t regret it :-)
Here some pictures, taken in a hurry, so don't mind the backgrounds please :-)
About the range..
The first charge (It was charged 16/17 when I got it) I used to get home from the dealer (35km - yes I consider myself lucky with that!), and I did it slowly, first because I wasn't sure I would make it home on one charge, secondly because I had to get to know the bike a bit.
But I got home with 1/2 charge left. The rest of the charge I wasn't so easy on the throttle, but I still squeezed 61 km in total out of the first charge.
I drove the bike until the red battery light lit, as prescribed in the manual. (It prescribes to do 5 deep discharges the first 5 times.)
The second and third charges gave me about 55 – 60 km, of course with a lot of brisk accelerations and some patches of high speed, just for the fun of it :)
It is clear to me that that affects the range immediately, so I am quickly learning how to stretch the range if needed.
I believe that if I want I can squeeze 75 km out of a charge, and I’m going to try that once for sure.
The “estimated range” indicator works very well in my opinion, you can really count on it.
With only 60 km of “real world” range, I better start planning my trips from now, but I’m willing to pay that price for our environment.
The manual says that (after these 5 initial charges) you can charge any time (also when the battery is not near empty), and also interrupt the charge process any time you like.
That doesn’t feel natural to me, and I will avoid that as much as I can, unless somebody can explain me why I shouldn’t.
I’d think that half charges would induce the memory effect that you always see in laptops and mobile phones.
Something entirely different:
I’ve done some 180 km so far (I know that’s not a lot yet) and it’s clear that when driving this vehicle, you must pay a lot of attention to other road users.
I almost hit a pedestrian yesterday, because he crossed the street unexpectedly. He quickly looked in my direction, but he didn’t see me coming. I guess there was no sound to back up what he saw.
The stupid thing was that when he finally noticed I was coming in his direction, he freezed instead of continuing!
I will have to remember that I’m invisible without a loud sound coming out of the exhaust pipe I don't have:-)
I've had my Vectrix for about two weeks now, almost 400km (250miles) done, and I'm extremely happy with my purchase at this point.
I'll probably have saved about a 100€ worth of "not having to fill up gas tank of my car" for about 4€ of electricity.
So I'm already earning back my investment:-)
Here some information about charges and range:
the first 6 discharges I discharged as far as I thought was safe, the manual prescribed to do this 5 times.
Here some range results:
Original charge:-----61.5km----0 bars left
That makes 53.8 km average.
The times I got 45km, I wasn't easy on the throttle, when I got 60+, I was carefull, because I had to.
My dealer contacted me earlier to ask how everything was going, very thoughtful of him.
He also mentioned that there were some minor updates available, so I’ll probably cruise towards him later this day.
Until now I’m very proud of riding (relatively) green, but some people I know, who’ve heard about my purchase reacted somewhat bizarre.
Some are just jealous I think, some try to defend their petrol bike…
Some say: “Isn’t that dangerous, driving without noise?” I say: “yes, I have to pay more attention”
But Isn’t it silly that we’re all used to the fact that vehicles are noisy?? It’s going to take a while before people get that.
Most say: “pity of the range..” while they don’t realize they only commute 10 km or so.
But they have a point when they say I can’t go cruising all day long with my Vectrix. And I must admit, if I could I probably would do more kilometers, just for fun :-)
It’s clear to me that most people are not ready yet to pay the price of getting less for more money, just to help our environment.
When I propose people to have a go, more often than I expected, they refuse. Afraid to fall or break something they say.
Even when I say I’ll take the risk, they’ll refuse. I wouldn’t refuse, but I guess everybody’s different :-)
And some, I heard say (mostly after a test drive): “WTF! I didn’t expect THAT” and “If the range gets just a little better, I’ll buy one too! (referring to an EV) ”
I altered their idea of future transportation, and that’s all I wanted to achieve :-)
I let a friend drive my V yesterday, he was one of the people who reacted ‘strangely’ (when I was awaiting delivery, he said” why don’t you buy a regular motorcycle like everyone?”).
He was very impressed after a go around the block, and so enthusiast that ,instead of stopping, he just continued to have another go giving a ‘thumbs up’ and a big smile as he passed by!
It gave me a chance to hear the V at high speed from a distance (otherwise I only hear it when I’m driving it, or when someone goes or returns). I like the sound it produces, it’s not too loud I think, but it sure sounds futuristic!
Afterwards, he said he wouldn’t have dreamed about such torque (he drives a pretty heavy motorcycle himself), and was surprised with the ease of use, the silence, the regenerative brake, and the luxurious seat / position.
The only thing that would stop him from buying one, would be the range. As usual.
more to follow..