The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

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DonCristobal
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The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

Who I am:

Before I get right into the Z-20 saga I should probably let everyone know where I am coming from. I have been interested in Alt Fuel/Electric Vehicles for about 8 years now, right after I decided to sell my very polluting but very cool 1972 Datsun 510 Coupe. I replaced the low-riding Smoke Monster with a much greener Compressed Natural Gas van, which turned out to be a lemon. Hoping for a green but more worry free vehicle, I finally I ended up buying a Civic Hybrid in 2003, before their prices skyrocketed. At the time, my purchase was sufficient to answer that voice in my head that kept asking, "what are you doing to help the environment?" The hybrid seemed to a sufficient response to the question and remained so until recently. Now, my present views on the global warming situation has caused me to draw into question even my use of a hybrid vehicle. So, with the hopes I could move to zero emissions instead of just low emissions I started looking for an electric car. Unfortunately, as there are few affordable four wheeled choices, I decided to explore the two wheel option, which brings me to the Z-20...

Beginnings

For some people the quest for the Great Z-20 started well over a year ago, but for me it has only been since August, 2007. I looked at all the other choices on the market, Evader, Zapino, XM-2000, and I found that on the surface most of the bikes seemed to be pretty comparable. What really stood out for me about EVT America, the manufacturer of the Z-20, was the claim that the bike could reach 45 mph. This top speed would enable me to cross the Golden Gate Bridge without being a hazard to the other drivers. Another big selling point for me was the range of 30-45 miles on a charge. That range is far enough that I could pretty much get anywhere in the Bay Area on a single charge, especially since you can take the Z-20 on the BART train. The combination of a great top speed and a considerable range would give me enough transportation freedom that I might be able to get rid of my car. On top of all the great attributes of the bike was its cost of only $1,999, a most wonderful introductory price. So, after ruling out the XM-2000 based on negative feedback from people on this board, and the Vectrix because it just isn’t worth what you pay, I decided on the Z-20.

Send the Money, Things Get Funny

EVTA has a history of changing their mind. My first experience with EVTA’s waffling behavior was when they extended of the introductory price for an extra 30 days. You see, I scrambled to get the deposit together and I sent my waiting list packet 2-day FedEx to make sure that I didn’t miss out on the introductory price. I was fairly stressed out about getting my package in on time. To find out that they extended it was pretty irritating, but hey, so it goes. Unfortunately, as several people have on this board have mentioned, this was not the first time that EVTA has said one thing and then did another. My initial opinion was that I didn’t think that EVTA was very professional. This wasn't something that I was necessarily mad about, but instead it helped me set my perspective on the company. EVTA is not Honda, they are not even Kia (boo Kia!), they are a pair of brothers who decided they want to build a electric motorcycle. Are they a pair of business juggernauts who are going to transform the electric vehicle industry? Well, it definitely doesn’t look that way at this stage in the game. Anyhow, let me get back to the point, after I sent my money I was expecting a few more snafus, especially since they hadn’t finished designing the bike. I did not expect however, that there would be quite so many missed promises. I was told I should expect the bike in October. Then November. Then definitely by Christmas. They only missed the initial promise to me by three and months. Not too shabby right? Ha. You now ask, why did you decide to buy the bike after so many missed deadlines? I’m glad you asked.

Mitigating Concern

One of the few things that EVTA has done well during this entire process, and keep in mind that I am only focusing on my experience, is that they have always responded in a timely fashion to my questions and concerns. During the whole waiting game many technical concerns were raised by members of this forum as to what buyer could actually expect of the product. Every time an issue was raised I went straight to EVTA to find out the “truth.” Every question was answered with a quick reply. All of my concerns were answered and there was always a detailed explanation as to why they were not able to hit their deadlines. This type of responsiveness goes a really long way when my biggest concern was, “what happens when it breaks?” In this way I figured that if something went wrong I had the piece of mind to know that they would make an effort to fix it.

Good Luck, Bad Luck

I often ask myself the following when it comes to EVTA. How many of the problems are simply just bad luck and how many stem from bad business management? I fully believe that the 9 dead bikes from the 24 shipped to the East Coast was primarily the result of poor shipping. This is pretty damn unlucky considering the effort EVTA put into “designing” a quality shipping crate. On the other hand I don't think that luck had much to do with the extended shipping delays. I will agree with USATracy that EVTA should have foreseen the Walmart domination of the shipping market during Christmas that caused serious delays. That is, they should have had the foresight to see this problem if they were experienced international businessmen. Again, my bet is that they aren’t. Virtually every problem that hasn’t resulted from bad luck I believe comes from the fact that this is EVTA’s first venture and they aren’t as business savvy as the average consumer would like them to be. I've chosen to live with it and I hope that they get better at it.

Two Guys Trying to Do the Right Thing and Get a Few Dollars Too

Please keep in mind that a lot of what I have to say is speculation based on my own particular experience. I encourage the reader to explore the wide variety of opinion that exists on this forum. When it comes down to it I see EVTA as a pair of brothers who are trying to do what many of us dream about, starting a business from the ground up with nothing more than passion and hard work. Their technical knowledge is likely sufficient to build a bike, but probably not all that innovative. They definitely have little to no capital, which accounts for the need for such a substantial deposit. Considering the baseline that they probably started with, I am pretty impressed. As a blind consumer on the other hand, I wouldn’t be all that pleased. They’ve missed deadlines and failed to deliver on promises. I’m happy that I have the visibility that I do because I know with great certainty that EVTA cares about what they do and that they want their customers to be satisfied. What this means is that every consumer needs to be vocal and EVTA needs to stay responsive. I do not doubt that EVTA will improve with time and I believe it is our constructive feedback on their product that will be integral to their success. I will support them in their efforts as long as they continue to support me as a customer.

Hey, I Need Customer Support!

As it stands presently I am satisfied with my Z-20b. I am satisfied, but my expectations still have not been met. The website tells me that the bike has a range of 30 to 45 miles on a charge. What this means to me is that the bike should get no less than 30 miles to a charge. I have now had two occasions where my range was 23 miles and then 20 miles. I expect an explanation or a way to fix this “problem.” The website also tells me that my top speed is 45 mph. My bike does not go faster than 40 mph. I expect an explanation or a way to fix this “problem.” While it was not published on their website, I was told by EVTA that the bike could get up to a 40 mile range at 45 mph. I expect an explanation or a way to fix this “problem.” Lastly, I was told by EVTA that my bike should not stall when I go full throttle from a stop. I expect an explanation or a way to fix this “problem.” I received a prompt reply from Fernando about my concerns and that he was going to forward them on to Andy. Thus far 3 days have passed and I still haven’t heard from Andy.

EVTA, I like you guys, but you need to answer my concerns if you plan on keeping my support.

A Small Request

I have a small fantasy that this thread be just about my personal experience with the Z-20 and EVT America. I have had a relatively good experience with EVTA and I'd like to show people what might be considered a "best case scenario." It would be great if any technical debates could happen on a different thread, but of course this is a free forum, so hey, do whatcha like. Oh yeah, I welcome all questions and and thanks for reading.

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

I can't even keep a video post short....

More to come...

Don Cristobal
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Ohm is where the heart is.

DonCristobal
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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

Here are some basic stats:

I typically put 7 miles a day on the bike. I've been on it 15 of the 17 days since it arrived, even rainy days. My three longest rides were 23 miles, 20 miles and 13 miles. Other than easing into the throttle for about half a second to avoid the stall, I do not baby the bike.

The 23 mile ride looked like this:

Z-20_Range_Test.jpg

I tried to go as fast as possible when traffic permitted. The trip took 1.5 hours and I had the lights on the whole time. The two hills were quite challenging for the bike with respect to top speed. At both grades, I'm guessing 3-4%, the bike wouldn't go faster than 33mph (estimated speed). Overall it was a tough ride and I returned home with 3 bars left, approximately 70% discharge assuming that the bars actually equal 10% discharge.

I don't have a picture of the 20 mile ride, but essentially it was back and forth across the city over big hills. I would say that I was going full throttle 80% of the time if not more. Unfortunately the power dropped on the way home quicker than I thought and I returned home with the double flashing red on the gauge, which I am sure means "damn near empty." I didn't think that I would use that much juice. In fact the bike moved into some sort of low power mode where my top speed was about 25mph (estimated speed).

It does everything I need and gets over every hill. Typical hill top speed is about 20-25mph. One hill, going up Gough St at Washington, my top speed was about 12 mph. You should google maps the intersection and look at "street view" to get a sense of just how steep it is. Although the bike made it over, I won't be going that way again.

**Stay tuned for more "official" testing now that I have a digital speedometer attached to the bike.

Don Cristobal
EVTA Z-20b
---
Ohm is where the heart is.

DanCar
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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

I can't even keep a video post short....

Very entertaining. What software did you use to speed it up?

http://www.fun-ev.com

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

Dude you are freaking hilarious. Thanks for posting that video, though I wanted to see you pull that heavy beotch off the stand; I think my back is still recovering. At least your bike is running, I'm still waiting on a new throttle; apparently China is "snowed in" and there is a delay in getting parts. Imagine that, EVT with a delay. Peace out.

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

On registering the bike in California...

First of all, the paperwork on my bike arrived 10 days after my bike did. I was given an explanation as to why this happened, but quite frankly it didn't matter to me. I, like so many others, waited months and months for the bike, and technically I should have never tested the bike nor driven it a foot until I registered it. Staring at my bike for ten days would have really stunk, so I took the risk and rode it anyway. I hope that in the future EVTA doesn't future buyers in this position, because getting the paperwork out early is key.

I am happy to report that my bike is fully registered as a "Motorcycle" and not as a "Motor Driven Cycle." The VIN and title indicates that the bike is a motorcycle and no matter what I told the DMV employee would change their mind. When they were doing the vehicle verification (make sure to bring your bike to the DMV), the guy tried to tell me it was a moped, but after seeing the paperwork and hearing that it went over 30mph he changed his tune. Technically the bike is a "Motor Driven Cycle" because it doesn't have enough brake horsepower, but somehow EVTA managed to get "Motorcycle" on the title and the VIN.

Although you don't have to insure the bike, I have decided to do so. It is very easily done with Geico, online. I would love to hear from anyone else who has a different bike whether or not you have had luck getting a major insurer to cover you. If it wasn't for EVTA working with Geico to get everything set up I would have had a really tough time insuring it. I called about 7 different insurance companies and they all said, "electric, no way. too dangerous." As far as this piece of the technical paperwork goes, good job EVTA, I thank you.

Don Cristobal
EVTA Z-20b
---
Ohm is where the heart is.

DonCristobal
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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

Very entertaining. What software did you use to speed it up?

Adobe Premier Elements 3.0

Don Cristobal
EVTA Z-20b
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Ohm is where the heart is.

mlh78750
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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

I would love to hear from anyone else who has a different bike whether or not you have had luck getting a major insurer to cover you. If it wasn't for EVTA working with Geico to get everything set up I would have had a really tough time insuring it. I called about 7 different insurance companies and they all said, "electric, no way. too dangerous."

I called my agent and got liability coverage for around $70 from an underwriter called "foremost". I could have gotten full coverage if I wanted.

Good job on the post.

DanCar
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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

Progressive, liability, $80 per year. All over the web.

reikiman
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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

What a wacky video..

And, to think, you didn't even try some of the steeper hills of San Francisco, it looks like your long test route was chosen to avoid most of the steep hills, right?

Anyway, about EVT America.. they aren't newcomers to the EV business. They have been doing this for years, I got my EVT 4000 in Oct 2002 and at that time they were importing EVT scooters from Taiwan. At the time (in 2002) EVT was importing to the U.S. through two companies, EVT America and Electric Motorsport. A year or so later they (EVT Taiwan) decided to change the game and start importing through this other company, evtworld.com. EVT America and Electric Motorsport both were still getting EVT's and I'm pretty sure it was always through evtworld.com.

They first started discussing the Z-20 2-3 yrs ago and it's been a loooong wait for them to deliver on it. One would think that after 2-3+ yrs of development they'd have worked out the kinks in the design etc.. there is the speculation on usatracy's part that they totally scrapped the design and redid it within the last 6 months.

- David Herron, The Long Tail Pipe, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
- Electrified Electra To

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

DonCristobal,

Sadly, we more experienced guinea pigs (aka e-max owners) should have been more forward about the range and speed claims. The claimed range for all these scooters is (even the Vactrix), at best, the expected range on flat terrain, no stop-and go, summer temperatures, running the pack down all the way. At worst, it is an outright lie. The speedometers always read at least 10% high.

Actually, 20 to 23 miles in San Francisco, in presumably cool weather, is pretty good performance. In my hilly town (Pittsburgh) I have never gotten better than 18 miles cool weather, 23 miles warm weather. And, and any hill over 16-18 percent is punishing the scooter.

Start saving now for a LiFePO4 pack.

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

Don, thanks for making the video. It's really neat to see the box being opened. Can you add more detail about how the scooter rides, handles, feels, stops, accelerates, and sounds? I'm just interested in your opinion and experiences. I won't hijack this thread, and am sorry if some of our rambling has really degraded from the value of the EVT Z20 community and discussions here.

[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/587-my-kz750-electric-motorcycle-project]KZ750 Motorcycle Conversion[/url]
[url=/forum-topic/motorcycles-and-large-scooters/588-fixing-my-chinese-scooter]900 watt scooter[/url]
Pic from http://www.electri

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

By the way, as I have decided to operate my bike exactly as EVTA recommends. This means I will not be bank charging. I have already purchased 5 new vector chargers and I haven't even opened the shipping box. If anyone wants them I will sell them to you for $125.

Don Cristobal
EVTA Z-20b
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Ohm is where the heart is.

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

Hi. :) I'm new to all of this. I really enjoy reading ALL opinions of EVs. Recently added my name to the EVTA R20 waiting list, but I am in NO HURRY for delivery!!! :) I can wait until some of the "bugs" are worked out. Besides, I am way up here in the snow and sticks of Wisconsin. It wont be another 2-3 months before I brave these roads on my motorcycle. I would LOVE to see/hear the "BUZZ" of the locals when they see me cruising on an Electric Scooter. Their idea of an electric scooter is a type of wheelchair. I want to start with the R20-the right price & learn from there. When I finish my degree-2 years left. :)-- I will then make enough money to get a nice electric car. Looking forward to seeing another "Don Adventure" and commentary from usatracy.

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

Well it's the second day with my new R-20.

It's running great. I have made lots of short runs with it.
I found out that you need to be careful making a very tight
left turn cause the kickstand will touch the ground. But that is
not the kind of turn I would make in normal driving.

I am following the recommended charging procedure;
- Turn off the Key
- Turn off the Circuit Breaker
- Charge

I will be converting it to bank charging once I get more
familiar with it.

The only thing that does not work is the odometer - no biggie.
I'm sure EVT will send me a new speedo/odometer module.

I have not gone below the second LED down on the batteries yet.

Anyway, still running and still pleased with the R-20.

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

Please keep in mind that a lot of what I have to say is speculation based on my own particular experience. I encourage the reader to explore the wide variety of opinion that exists on this forum.

and

A Small Request

I have a small fantasy that this thread be just about my personal experience with the Z-20 and EVT America. I have had a relatively good experience with EVTA and I'd like to show people what might be considered a "best case scenario." It would be great if any technical debates could happen on a different thread, but of course this is a free forum, so hey, do whatcha like. Oh yeah, I welcome all questions and and thanks for reading.

So you say...

4- The newbs, listening to the opinions and plans of another newb, and interpeting them as facts leading to postivie outcomes, could lead to major disappointment in the near term and a risk of financial loss if the outcome is negative, which they could then try to recover from an individual making the assertions which are, in my opinion, premature and baseless and lacking supporting documentation and testing results.

Tracy, I have encouraged people to seek out other opinions about the Z-20 elsewhere on this board. The purpose of this thread is supposed to be my experience with the Z-20 to give people a singular viewpoint. Unfortunately, instead of this thread being about my opinions you have decided to make it, like so many others, about yours. I am not asking that you do not share your opinions, but I am instead asking that you insert them in a way that doesn't disrupt the purpose of the thread. There are plenty of ways that you can avoid taking over this thread and I most respectfully ask that you use them.

Don Cristobal
EVTA Z-20b
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Ohm is where the heart is.

Brock
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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

Don you have to release another video that way AWSOME. I watched it yesterday and still giggle when I picture that door closing and hitting the box and you having to move it. It was classic or when you were trying to get the top off. What is your day job?

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

I worked in fine dining as waiter and/or manager for about 8 years. Over the past two and half years I worked in inside sales as both a rep and a manager. Now I am involved in a worldwide implementation of Microsoft CRM 4.0. That's the day job. The night job is as a singer in a rock band.

Neither my day job nor night job explains my ineptitude with a wrench and a garage door, but I hope this info tidbit somehow enhances your understanding of me and the Z-20. How it could do that, well, I really don't know...

Don Cristobal
EVTA Z-20b
---
Ohm is where the heart is.

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

Don, I showed a buddy of mine your video. Great stuff!!! :) I laughed every time the garage light went out and you'd run & press the garage door button to activate the light again. Classic... been there, done that :) Eager to see part 2, but you sound mighty busy so guess we'll be waiting. How is your Z-20 running? Ride it today?

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

I ride the bike almost everyday. I believe I have been on it 18 of the 20 days I have owned it.

I was late for an appointment today and I tied my own record time (set in a car) to get from home to work. The big part of the route, most of which is a hill, goes from Market and Franklin to Franklin and Broadway. You can see a street view in google maps to get a sense for the grade. I believe the grade is between 7% and 12%. Traveling on the hill at about 30mph was no problem.

Still no complaints about the bike, that is if you leave out my expectations.

By the way, I'm planning on testing my batteries soon to see if they are out of balance as many folks suggest they will ultimately be. I'll probably glue two banana peels together (the hard part) and then lay one end on the positive pole and the other end on the negative pole (the easy part). With an oven thermometer I will then check the temperature of the peel. After recording the temperature of the peel I will then repeat the same steps for the other four batteries. I am hoping that all five peels will show a temperature deviation of less than 5% percent, which would indicate to me that the batteries are in balance. In fact, now that I think about it I might be able to save myself a lot of time if I just perform a lick test. If anyone has any suggestions on this let me know because I don't want to waste time doing it the wrong way.

Back to work...

Don Cristobal
EVTA Z-20b
---
Ohm is where the heart is.

Ben
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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

I wouldn't use the banana peels as they tend to attract fruit flies and really.. who needs the extra weight of a fruit fly infestation on their bike after the test. Slows you down.. especially if they all want to fly in the opposite direction to your intended route.

I would definitely go the lick test. I personally prefer to use other peoples tongues for this one though.

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

Don,

You are awesome. Thanks for taking the time to post all the info and video. Wish I could be enjoying what you're enjoying, but I had my time (all 3 days of it). Hopefully, I'll be up and running again soon. I also received a Z-20b, but the moldings seem to fit better than yours and my windshield didn't have any flaws. Additionally, I don't think my charger is not the same as yours. It is like the charger that somebody had posted up on here - brushed aluminum looking, not black like yours. Anyway, I'd gladly take a scratched windshield on a bike that ran at this point.

Keep up the good posting!

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

Don,
This is a great thread. I too really enjoyed the video. I am also following your approach to treating my batteries as I've been told by Andy. Over time, we can compare results. I can't ride mine now. Still waiting for a new controller.
Fred

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

At first I thought I was watching the new "chipmunks" movie! :-)

Or...perhaps a modern version of one of the "3 stooges!" :-)

Actually, very informative and entertaining at the same time. Good job. Thanks for posting.

Gushar

Gus

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

The next installment...

Don Cristobal
EVTA Z-20b
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Ohm is where the heart is.

DonCristobal
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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

I just got an e-mail from EVTA with instructions on how to install the trunk. The instructions were sent exactly 12 hours too late. I did not put the trunk together the same way that the instructions recommend.

Don Cristobal
EVTA Z-20b
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Ohm is where the heart is.

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

Re: Video (Volume 1 1/2)...

Ouch!!

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

Don your a true inspiration, I've just bought my Z-20 and am loving every minute of riding it. So far there has been no real problems and I'm going to use it just they way it is with no add ons. I was worried at first when I ordered it due to some of the posts here but after reading yours I was relieved to hear a positive outcome. Keep riding and posting 8)

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

I tightened up the bike yesterday and it seems more solid that when I first rode it. When I looked at all the major pieces of the bike it appeared to be well assembled (to my untrained eye and wrench). The body however was the opposite. There were at least 4 screws missing and some screws were stripped. I replaced all the missing screws and tightened up the rest.

My guess is that the chassis was put together by people with at least a moderate amount of skill and the body assembly was done by persons who have very little skill. If persons who assembled the body did have some sort of measurable mechanical ability, then the poor craftsmanship on my bike is a sign that they didn't care a bit about putting together a quality product.

By the way, the bike had spent a week on the charger without incident.

Don Cristobal
EVTA Z-20b
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Ohm is where the heart is.

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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

DonC,
If I had to guess I'd say you were right about frame assembled separately from body. I'm sure the Z is like most other bikes where they source things seperately, bolt on the electric bits and then slap on the panels and call it ready to ship ;-) (don't flame me Mountain - I'm only joking - I know there is at least a little bit more involved).

I know that you're doing your best to stick to the book - but you might want to be careful about leaving it on charge so long. It won't necessarily be apparent if you're damaging the batteries. A cheap mechanical timer from the local hardware store will be less than 10 bucks (the sort of thing you use to control your lights) and you can set it to 10 hours to be conservative with the amount of time it takes to charge. You'll also reduce your carbon footprint just that little bit more because you won't be float charging for no particularly good reason (so you can feel doubly good about that $10 investment ;-)).

BTW when do we get another "chipmunks" movie? :)

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.

Mountain chen
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Joined: Wednesday, September 5, 2007 - 19:18
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Re: The Z-20 Experience as told by DonCristobal...

DonC,
If I had to guess I'd say you were right about frame assembled separately from body. I'm sure the Z is like most other bikes where they source things seperately, bolt on the electric bits and then slap on the panels and call it ready to ship ;-) (don't flame me Mountain - I'm only joking - I know there is at least a little bit more involved).
:)

John is right,being QC in this field for more than 10 years,I have to accept the true.This is most common Chinese workmanship.especially the new comer of EVT supplier....We have to admire Andy's unique sourcing eyesight.

But it is not every factory,that's why we spend 2 months and a lot of costs to get ISO9001 approval,in order to throw away the bad impression of western buyers.
ISO9001.jpg

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