FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Z-20 MOTORCYCLE UPDATE ............
Press Release .....
FOR THE "Z-20 WAITING LIST" CLUB
December 2006 UPDATE
Miami, Florida - December 1, 2006 It’s been a better part of three months since the last update that I wrote in August. Frankly, I never intended that so many months would go by before my writing another update, but why write an update if I really didn’t have anything important to say, other than ‘we are still at it and hopefully soon we will have something significant to announce’. Well, the day has arrived and what better day than on the first day of December 2006.
Today, after months of research and testing and many ups and downs, we finally have what we consider is a reliable controller. What this means is that we now have a reliable scooter or motorcycle, since this vehicle is capable of 45 MPH plus, regardless of the drivers weight and that, according to the DOT, is considered a Motorcycle. Yes, this means that if you weigh 250 lbs you will still be able to reach 45 MPH, but it may take you slightly longer to get there than someone that weighs 180 lbs. The less you weigh the faster you will reach maximum speed.
After I wrote the last update I received many, many emails asking every question imaginable. I also received many suggestions, complaints, and some extremely encouraging comments referring to the fact that we have put quality before expediency.
The question most asked is ‘when is the Z-20 going to be available’ and the answer is that now that the controller and overheating problem has been resolved, we are almost ready to go into production. Almost, because even though we have completed the testing phase with the new prototype controller, we still have to make some adjustments to the scooter as this controller is slightly larger in size than the previous one as well as some additional testing with the first production controllers just to make sure they work as well as the prototype. You may well ask why the additional testing, but there is a good reason for this as I am about to explain.
This new controller is made in Canada, but will be installed in China along with various other components made in at least three other countries. This results in a complex importation procedure into China (where usually everything is exported, and not the other way around) and once we bring these components into China they all have to perform perfectly.
Our aim is to complete these final tests and changes before the end of the year, no easy task during the holidays, and start an initial limited production (100 to 200 Z-20 units) in China by January. If all works out as expected, the first Z-20 scooters would be available by the end of February or early March at the latest. Please keep in mind that shipping from China to the US takes at least two weeks to the West Coast and about a month to the East Coast. And then it will be spring, a perfect time for riding the Z-20 scooter.
Some Questions Answered
Before I get into some of the specifics regarding the controller and other innovations that we plan to incorporate in the Z-20, let me answer some of the questions that I was asked by various persons during these last couple of months.
One young lady asked me if a person such as herself would be able to handle the Z-20. This lady is 5’2” inches tall and thought that perhaps she was too small for such a large and heavy scooter. I promised that I’d check it out and I did. I looked for and found a young lady of the same size and weighing 110 lbs and put her on the scooter. In the enclosed pictures you can see our 5’2” model zipping around Miami with ease. Mind you, the scooter weighs more than twice her weight and she did at first have some difficulty parking the scooter on its stand, but after a while and a bit of practice, she was handling the scooter with ease. In fact, after traveling several miles, we checked the motor temperature and it remained the same as when she began her ride. Though we didn’t test to find out the distance traveled, she could probably get twice the range as I or someone my weight can (I weigh 204 lbs).
Carla 5'2" and 110 pounds.
A few of you asked if we could offer a programmable controller as these persons are either engineers or persons who like or want to experiment with various settings and the answer is yes. We have available a highly sophisticated controller that is completely programmable, but much more expensive and we would require a disclaimer if purchased, as it can also easily be inappropriately used resulting in irreparable damage to the unit. We would also have to make some structural changes on the scooter, as this controller is much larger in size resulting in additional expenses.
Some of you expressed their like for the color combinations that we are experimenting with, while others expressed their displeasure. For those that liked the colors as well as those that did not let me say that we will have enough color combination to please most if not everyone. I did have one person that suggested we use bright colors for safety reasons and on this we fully agree, so if you like the somber, all black, sexy look, you will be out of luck. Hopefully, soon we will have all the color combinations available for all to see.
Can we incorporate a regenerating system that helps recharge the batteries? Yes we can and the more sophisticated controller already mentioned has this added function as well as a reverse and multiple other functions, but we decided to leave these out and keep the system as simple as possible. The regen function is certainly a good marketing tool, but, at least for now, you’d have to drag the scooter 250 miles to make any difference. So while adding a considerable expense to the scooter, the results would be negligible at best. Unless we find a truly advantageous item to add to the scooter, so that the performance, safety or reliability is increased substantially and without some radically increased cost, then we would rather not include it as part of the Z-20 package.
This holds true for the batteries, which many have suggested using more sophisticated types or why not use ones like the e-Max scooter (which I have heard is now defunct) uses? The fact is that we are actively looking for a better battery pack, but so far have found only a couple of possible and promising alternatives, but at a much higher cost. Nevertheless, we hope to soon have alternative battery packs that could be ordered as an optional item, but they will be considerably more expensive.
Are the batteries easily removed, should you need to replace one or all? The answer to this question is regrettably no, it is not easy to remove the batteries and will require either taking the scooter to a Motorcycle service place or, for those that are do-it yourself types, we will provide clear and detailed instructions. We are working on an easier way to remove batteries, but frankly, under most circumstances, the batteries should not have to be removed for months if not years and I will expand on this subject when I discuss “other innovations.”
Is there any room to store a helmet on the scooter? Yes, the removable trunk on the back of the Z-20, which is part of the package, easily hold a large helmet under lock and key and can also easily be removed from the scooter should the driver prefer to carry it away like a suitcase.
Rear Trunk with full size helmet in it.
There were so many other questions, that it is hard to answer them all, but hopefully the most often asked have been answered. Some questions, like ‘can I recharge using solar panels’ or ‘do I need a license to ride the Z-20’ or ‘how much does it cost to charge the scooter’s batteries’; I have left out because a reliable or correct answer is practically impossible to give. The answer depends on several factors like where you live; what country or state and so on. Every country, State, and even in some cases each city has different helmet laws, licensing rules, and electricity rates (kilowatt –hour) and what may cost a few cents in Miami, Florida may be more expensive in San Francisco, California or in Geneva, Switzerland. Some of these questions you can ask on an individual basis and we will try to answer as best we can, but please remember that in some cases, we simply don’t know the answer. We will also try to post many of the answers to these and other questions on our website in the Frequently Asked Questions page.
Specifics and Innovations
With regards to specifics, in particular the controller, which has been our biggest hurdle, the amount of testing has been quite extensive and frankly, for a while, we though we weren’t going to find a solution, at least not one that would allow us to build a reliable scooter within the price range that we had planned for. As it is we ended up with a controller that is twice as expensive, a few inches in length larger and ten times more sophisticated. Can we maintain our prices? Absolutely, the introductory price will be honored. So, for now the answer is yes, but only because we have not added the additional cost to you, the buyer. We felt that this would not be fair and we still feel this way. Let us say that your patience for being on the "Z-20 Waiting List" has been rewarded. However, the price will go up after the Z-20 Waiting List is serviced.
EVTAMERICA 200 Amp Controller
This controller will be a 200 amp peak power controller with a .05 second throttle response time with a built in heat sensor that will lower the amperage automatically should it reach a temperature that may damage either the motor or the controller and will not leave you stranded unless you weigh 300 lbs and are driving full throttle continuous in the Sahara Desert in the Summer or you try to climb a mountain where even a Harley has problems climbing. It is also a potted, moisture proof controller. What this all means is that in places like South Florida, where the terrain is flat, but temperatures reach 98 degrees F and 100 degrees F and the pavement can be as hot as 150 degrees F, a 200 lbs person can ride around all day at speeds averaging 40 MPH and everything will work OK. It also means that if you live in Vermont or Oregon where the temperatures are quite temperate year-around and you are in a hilly terrain, a 200 lbs person will also have no problem; actually the Z-20 should work even better if the ambient temperature is around 60 degrees F or so. What happens if you weigh 160 lbs? You will get to top speed faster, the motor will stay cooler and the overall range will increase. What happens if you weigh 180 lbs and you carry a passenger that weighs 110 lbs? The total weigh will be 290 lbs and the scooter will still reach 45 MPH, but it will take longer to reach top speed. Depending on the terrain, temperature or both, after a while the controller’s heat sensor may cut down the amperage and cause the scooter to move more sluggishly, but it really depends on various factors, including the state and degree of charge on the batteries and this is were a clean cut answer is hard to come by. The fact is that for now, we have some limitations. If you want a trail bike to ride through the woods, or a large ‘hog’ type motorcycle that carries two large people over hills like San Francisco, or even a scooter that has a 100 mile range, then the Z-20 is not for you.
However if you are looking for a totally clean commuter type vehicle that has a 30 to 50 mile range, can reach 45 mph top speed, is completely quiet, has zero emissions, and is environmentally friendly with practically no maintenance, then the Z- 20 scooter is your best choice.
For this type activity, the Z-20 is not the right choice
We have now incorporated a battery equalizer, which is also potted (moisture proof) and will keep all the batteries, while charging and discharging, in perfect equilibrium. The importance of this feature is immense, as an unbalanced battery pack results in a shortened life span for the batteries as well as a less efficient power pack. The equalizer also has an LED light (one per battery) that indicates whether any battery or cell within the battery is malfunctioning showing which one it is that is bad, thereby allowing you to replace the battery and not have to replace the entire group or all four batteries. This equalizer is made in the USA developed by US engineers.
We are now testing a regenerating system for lead acid batteries that if proven true, will increase the deep cycle life span of the batteries from the usually 250 to 300 cycle range stated by the battery manufacturer to 900 cycles or more. What this means is that a battery which was expected to have a life span that at most was 300 (deep cycle) charges (and the last 100 or more at a greatly reduced capacity) would now have at least 900 charges at almost full capacity. As I stated previously when referring to removing the batteries and how difficult might this be, here we have situations were even if you recharged fully (from a fully depleted to a fully charged battery) every day, you could do this for approximately three years without having to remove the batteries. This, of course, is highly improbable as tires, brake pads, or some other item will have to be replaced, but still, what if?
But that isn’t all, this system will also decrease the charging time by half and substantially increase the overall range. You might say that this is too much to expect? Perhaps, but we will find out for sure before we go into production.
Like I said, we are still testing, but the best part is that this added feature will also be included in our present package and it too is made in the USA, so let us hope it works as well as we have been promised.
Finally, let me add that once we actually are ready to begin production we will be asking for deposits. The exact amount has yet to be determined and is now being studied by us to develop it as a workable plan. The deposit will test the dependability of the "Z-20 Waiting List" which has now grown to close to 900 buyers. Again, the deposit will confirm that a buyer on the Waiting List is serious, willing and able to purchase a Z-20. This confirmation will allow us to plan production, organize inventory, determine color selection and plan shipping in accordance to the geographic location of the individual buyer. Strategically our business goal is to build in accordance to demand, so ideally every Z-20 built will have an owner waiting even before it is totally assembled. This method rationalizes production and lowers cost. Whatever we can save will be reflected in the selling price of the Z-20.
Priority on the waiting list will be determined by two factors: date of registration and deposit confirmation.
We plan to start with 100 to 200 Z-20 units and then proceed with to an additional 200 or more while we find out how many we can manufacture while assuring optimum quality control in a place where quality control is not necessarily a priority. As we have explained before, the production of the Z-20 will be realized under our direct and personal supervision. I will personally be there every step of the way.
That’s it for today’s update; I sincerely hope it was worth the wait.
This update was written by Andres Pruna and delivered for release on December 1, 2006