Electric Vespa Question

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eltoro
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Electric Vespa Question

I have a 1984 Vespa PK 125 S Automatica scooter, which is Vespa's first automatic transmission scooter model, but it still has a 2-stroke, gas- and oil-burning engine. It's a reare scooter, never imported into the USA by Vespa. And few mechanics can or want to work on it. Plus, it pollutes. So I am thinking of turning it from an Automatica into an Electronica.

That's right, Electronica, as opposed to Automatica. If I continue to encounter scaredy-cat scooter mechanics in my area who say things like "I wouldn't touch that thing with a ten-foot pole" when I ask if they could service my newly procured 1984 Vespa PK 125 S Automatica, then my fall-back plan is to embark on a project to turn my beloved Automatica into an Electronica -- a true vintage all-electric Vespa scooter.

It's been done before, with the Rezistor, so well documented here -- http://visforvoltage.org/blog/jstept/2110 -- and a company in Seattle actually sells vintage Vespas made into electric scooters -- Soundspeed Scooters at: http://soundspeedscooters.com/content/electrified-vespa

Here's a video of an electric vintage Vespa in action:
Vespa EV

I think my '84 PK 125 S would be a good candidate for an electric conversion because it is so light (just 198 pounds).

A question I have for those with the technical know-how is, do you think the fact that it has an automatic transmission makes it easier to convert to electric than if it were a manual tranny PK, since an electric scooter normally has an automatic CVT transmission?

Would I need to replace the current transmission with a new CVT, or could I find a way to give the existing 2-speed (neutral and drive) transmission the juice it needs to run from the newly installed battery packs, electric swing arm motor and other conversion parts, which are listed here:
http://www.vespaev.com/

Another way of putting it, can I remove the engine while keeping the auto tranny in place, or does one inevitably need to do away with the tranny if one does ways with the motor?

By the way, here is my PK:
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As you can tell, I have a lot to learn if I am to take this on, and these questions are to let me begin to get my mind around the project. I appreciate any input. Thanks!

Steve in San Diego

marcopolo
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Re: Electric Vespa Question

An interesting project. Vintage Vespas make very good donor vehicles for EV conversions. If you can invest the time and expense to acquire the aesthetic experience of owning an electric Vespa.

But doesn't the concept strike you as fairly incongruous? After all, for the expense, wouldn't you be better off simply purchasing a purpose-built EV such as a CoMoCo?

Vespa's charm is the cheap and responsive ICE engine. It will be very difficult to replicate the handling dynamics of a Vespa in an EV version. Several of the PRC sourced Ev's are actually EV versions of early Italian motor scooters, Vespa, Rabbit, etc. The body work for these vehicles are just copies from the old Vespa dyes and tooling.

It's technically possible to retain the old gearbox, but again, why bother/ The biggest challenge you will face is achieving balanced riding dynamics in a substantially altered vehicle.

You will also need to check with your local DMR, to ensure the engineering certificate, insurance compliance, etc.. is sufficient to register for roadworthy.

Good luck.

marcopolo

IBScootn
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Re: Electric Vespa Question

eltoro,

If you are set on a conversion, you might look at Kelly Controls' hub motors and controllers: www.kellycontroller.com. I'm not familiar with your bike but a hub motor means you can get rid of the space taken up by the motor and tranny (more room for batteries) as the motor is now in the wheel. As an example you might check out how this company's products are configured to aid in your own conversion:
http://zelectricvehicle.com/11.html

However, being that you are in California, check out these EV tax incentive sites as you might find it is cheaper / more desirable to sell your rare bike on Ebay/Craigslist and buy a new bike via state/Fed tax incentives than it would be to do a conversion. I'm in Colorado and I bought a new $6600 e-motorcycle for $2400 after tax rebates.

State incentive:
https://energycenter.org/index.php/incentive-programs/clean-vehicle-rebate-project
http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/laws/law/CA/8161
http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/laws/state_summary/CA

Fed 10% tax incentive:
http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/laws/law/US/409

Good luck,

Motorcycles: 2011 ZEV Trail 7100, 84V, 60AH, 60+mph, Cycle Analyst, TNC throttle, modified charger. 2013 Kymco GT300i
Bicycles: 2017 Sondors Thin
Cars: 2016 Leaf SV, 30KWH pack. 2007 CR-V
Solar array: 5KW. Cost per lifetime KWH produced $0.073
Bi

eltoro
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Last seen: 8 years 7 months ago
Joined: Sunday, November 14, 2010 - 20:48
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Re: Electric Vespa Question

IB Scootn, that is great advice, thanks! What e-motorcycle did you end up buying? How hard was it to get the tax credits or rebates you had due to you?

I will keep my Vespa just because it is so rare, but I do have an electric folding bike to take 7 miles to work and back. It goes about 21 mph max so I'm considering something electric that goes a bit faster.

Thanks.

IBScootn
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Re: Electric Vespa Question

Eltoro,

Don't worry about getting the rebates/credits. I have had no problems getting credits. They want to give away the money; it is in the best interests of this country to move away from imported oil. Just look at what is happening in the Middle East and our worries over access to the Suez Canal.

We might be similar. I started off with a e-bicycle (350W, 24V) and liked it. I test rode the A2B e-bicycle and thought it was cool (good torque / 20mph / 20miles). I thought about maxing out my existing ride to get EV experience, but then I started wanting more - something that would get me around town (40mph / 20 miles). There was a guy selling a two-year old R-Martin EVD-3000 scooter for $1400. It was tempting to buy it even though I knew I would want to waste a lot of money and even more time converting it over to a lithium bike. But then I also started thinking that some roads where 50mph, I might want to zip up into the mountains, and a couple times I might want to venture out on the highway for a few miles to get to another side of town. So I looked into the XM-x000's but found out they would not have a reliable BMS until late this spring. Then I found a company that had real transportation (>60mph / >55 miles)that was cheaper than even the A2B toy when tax credits were added in. It was a no brainer to go with the e-motorcycle.

Motorcycles: 2011 ZEV Trail 7100, 84V, 60AH, 60+mph, Cycle Analyst, TNC throttle, modified charger. 2013 Kymco GT300i
Bicycles: 2017 Sondors Thin
Cars: 2016 Leaf SV, 30KWH pack. 2007 CR-V
Solar array: 5KW. Cost per lifetime KWH produced $0.073
Bi

eltoro
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Re: Electric Vespa Question

IBScootin, would you care to share what e-machine you found that does 60mph with 55 mile range and how much it costs? Thanks.

IBScootn
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Points: 257
Re: Electric Vespa Question

Check out:
http://www.zelectricvehicle.com/17.html

Why did I get this bike....because I liked that it had regen braking for longer range, a quiet hub motor (no noisy chain), good speed/range, the stability/comfort of the low center of gravity maxi-scooter frame, and that I was dealing with a U.S. manufacturer for warranty issues. With the tax incentives, it was a no-brainer.

My advice to you is to get a bike with more speed/range than you think you will need for two reasons. First, this site is filled with sad stories of people buying some small bike that met what they thought they needed; but they later found out that they really liked riding an EV, and wished they had more speed/range. Second, as the batteries get older, the range gets shorter. So, even if it meets your range needs while new, it might not later down the road.

Motorcycles: 2011 ZEV Trail 7100, 84V, 60AH, 60+mph, Cycle Analyst, TNC throttle, modified charger. 2013 Kymco GT300i
Bicycles: 2017 Sondors Thin
Cars: 2016 Leaf SV, 30KWH pack. 2007 CR-V
Solar array: 5KW. Cost per lifetime KWH produced $0.073
Bi

eltoro
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Re: Electric Vespa Question

IB Scootn, that is a nice looking e-scooter and not a bad price once you apply some tax credits, as you said. Can you tell me how long you've had it? Did they ship it to you, or did you pick it up somewhere? In the real world, does it meet the speed and range stats described on their web site? It'd be cool to see a picture of your actual bike! Thanks.

escooterchina.com
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Re: Electric Vespa Question
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