XM-3000 vs XM-3500 is it worth it?

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jvblack82
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XM-3000 vs XM-3500 is it worth it?

I'm going to buy one of these two scooters when they come out for work and back and around town driving. I've been paying attention to my around town and a lot of it is freeway which I can avoid and around 30-40 miles with opportunity to plug in if needed.

My questions are for people who have had electric scoots before.

Main question I'm trying to answer from this is, over the course of several years which bike would be a better investment?

First ?, when the mnfr says 50 mile range on the XM-3000 what is it really with traveling on 35-40mph roads. Seems these are all based on being in a Vacuum going 25mph and you weigh 100lbs.

Next question about the XM-3500 is, if I actually took it on the freeway what does my range realistically drop to? I saw the chart on the Vectrix and it plumits to 20 miles at 60MPH.

Next question is about the batteries. I didn't see exactly what the XM-3000 will be but I'm assuming Sealed Lead Acid since I think that's what was in the 2000. The 3500 is Lithium. From what I've read it looks like the Lithium have a much longer life span. So what is a SLM's life span and recommended care vs. the Lithium's life span and recommended care?

Last is an extra $1-2000 really worth it for longer lasting batteries when I don't need to use freeway, would be nice but don't need it.

I guess if the batteries are going to need to be replaced often enough to make the upfront investment in the Lithium bike worth it I'll spend the money, otherwise forget it. The point of this is to save money and have it eventually pay for itself in fuel savings.

jbird
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Re: XM-3000 vs XM-3500 is it worth it?

I have ridden an electric scooter about half the size of the XM-3000 for the last two years and over 4300 miles. The following is an educated guess about the answers to some of your questions. At max speed, the XM-3500 will probably go up to 30-35 miles non-stop on the flat. At max speed, the XM-3000 will probably go up to 20-25 miles non-stop on the flat. If you add hills and stops then expect less range. If you are heavy and/or tall then expect less range. In winter, the range can drop up to 50% or more at least for the XM-3000. How the lithium will perform in the cold is unknown but is said to be better than lead acid batteries. Also how many years the lithium batteries will last regardless of use is also not known. From my experience any lithium ion battery older than 4 years loses quite a bit of capacity, but this was with lithium cobalt not lithium iron phosphate. The lithium iron phosphate batteries have not been around long enough to know what the real world cycle life is just yet. To further complicate things, the longevity will be manufacturer specific as low quality cells may not live as long as lead acid while high quality cells may last ten times as many cycles or more. The batteries of the XM-3000 are silicone gel sealed lead acid batteries which are very sensitive to how far you discharge them, how long until you recharge them fully, and how well you recharge them. You can ruin them quickly if you are not careful. With super religious care (avoding deep discharges, prompt recharging to full, and careful recharging practices) you could probably get up to 7500 miles or more, but I suspect most people get much less than 5000 miles (discharging too deeply, allowing the batteries to sit discharged for too long, and using a maximum charging voltage that is too high.) I will tell you now do not trust the stock charger to have the correct charge profile or be very reliable on either scooter. Two chinese chargers that I used in the past charged at too high of a voltage and prematurely killed my first battery pack. For that matter, the overall scooter may not be very reliable (unfortunately a lot of EVTamerica Z-20 owners found this out the hard way.) You should plan on having to do your own troubleshooting and repairs if necessary or at least have someone nearby that can. People on this board often times will try to help you will this. To calculate the payback time, you will need to calculate the driving cost of your current vehicle. A quick estimate can be found on the following site. http://www.piercetransit.org/rideshare/costs.htm When calculating the cost of an electric vehicle, you have to calculate the battery replacement costs as well as the cost of electricity. In almost every case, the battery replacement costs are higher than the cost of electricity, but people selling electric vehicles almost always seem to leave this out of their calculations. In fact, I have delayed trying to build an electric car because the battery replacement costs were just too high as well as some components are just ridiculously overpriced IMHO. You will be a "pioneer" now matter which bike you choose. Owning an electric vehicle is an adventure and a cool hobby, but if your only reason is saving money you may get disappointed especially since manufacturer support and warranty generally are pretty bad for chinese electric scooters.

jvblack82
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Re: XM-3000 vs XM-3500 is it worth it?

Awesome input and god is that counter intuitive on the SLA batteries. But it makes sense, the alternator in your car is always running. I sell cell phones for a living so I'm used to telling people charge them as little as possible and let the phone die as much as possible to extend life. So with the SLA you want to keep them up as much as possible and don't let them sit to long without a charge? That is great for the type of usage I want.

I read about the Lithium batteries in the newer scoots. It says since they have a longer range you don't have to charge them every night if you won't be reaching half the range limit each day. Which indicates smiliar to what I'm used to with my cell phone battery. Opposite the SLA it sounds. I'll bet the Lith batts will drop in price after a while too.

I think no matter what I'll save money. At one cent per mile plus a $500 set of batteries hopefully every 5k miles. Compared to gas that'll be great. Plus as time goes on batteries will get less expensive and gas will go up. So the difference will get even better.

andys
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Re: XM-3000 vs XM-3500 is it worth it?

I am running Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries in my electric bike and a custom electric moped I have, and I would never go back to lead acid. The biggest drawback to LA besides the weight, is the continuous voltage drop as the discharge cycle progresses. This turns your 35 MPH top end into 25 in no time. With Lithium, you have nearly full voltage for the entire charge, and the pack voltage is usually about 6 volts higher than LA to start out. By the way, cold temperature has little affect on LiFePO4. I don't know how good the Lithium batteries will be that are supplied with the bikes, or what kind of quality control they will have, if any.

I am also very curious about what how these next generation Chinese made electric scooters/motorcycles will actually perform under real conditions, and how reliable they will turn out to be. I have serious concerns about their long term reliability however, based on the past performance of the factory making them, and the troubles other companies have had as well. You shouldn't have to re-engineer the scooter and do major mods on it to get it to work right, but that has been the trend up to this point

I also got very close to going ahead on a small electric car conversion project, but the math didn't add up in the end,(it may soon, if gas gets much higher) and the reliability questions of the batteries and controllers and chargers concern me.

At some point, I have no doubt that we will see good working,affordable (relatively speaking at least) well engineered reliable small EV's as well as freeway capable cars with cutting edge battery technology. I hope these two new scooters are a step in that direction. I will be reading the boards about your experience with him, and hope the things work as touted. I may even have to get one if the do.

solarjdp
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Re: XM-3000 vs XM-3500 is it worth it?

I have an EVT Z20b with only 1171 miles on it. My experience with range and batteries is that the range AND speed have increased since I first got it. Early runs the EVT would get "tired" around 20 miles with the red indicator coming on at 25 miles, meaning that it was slow to accel, and didn't reach top speed. Top when "tried" was about 30-35mph. (speed is per re-calibrated speedometer using the larger front Michelin bopper tire and some reference speed points from a pacing Honda Accord.)

Now I regularly go 30 miles b4 it starts feeling "tired". My top speed registers about 44mph and accel is better than early on.

My driving consists of in town commuter traffic with many stops and starts. I usually am travelling between 35 and top speed whenever I can so I am demanding a lot from the batteries. I plan to periodically connect the batteries to my de-sulphating BATTERY MINDER charger. I have brought many LA cells back to life with this baby. I figure if every 1500 miles or so I run the BATTERY MINDER it will extend their life.

As far as the "quality", it stinks. I suggest that anyone who buys one of these bikes diss-assemble, tighten, and examine it for proper assembly. Too bad we have to do it when we paid good $$$.

Changes made to mine so far:

1. New mirrors - Honda METROPOLITAN round scootermirrors chrome. Good visibility stay in place. About $ 30.00

2. Michelin Bopper tire in front.

3. De-soldered annoying turn signal beeper.

Changes soon to be maid:

4. Replace front fork springs with heavier units - research has begun.

5. Replace back "shocks". Close to decision on which ones. Will post when I have results.

Cheers.

jdh2550_1
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Re: XM-3000 vs XM-3500 is it worth it?

Hi jvblack82,

I'm a soon to be vendor of these bikes (as soon as they're available I'll be selling them) - so take anything that I say with that in mind. :) (OTOH, I chose to sell these bikes because I think they're the best value on the market and I ride my own XM-2000).

Regarding your question on the XM-3000 range:

Yes, the 50 mile range is "optimistic" in the extreme. Unfortunately, it seems that almost all manufacturers feel they need to quote the biggest range possible and then in fine print state "your mileage my vary". The 50 mile range is at 25mph, on level ground and a 130lb rider (OK, that last is a guess). I'm not sure about the vacuum!

Based on my experience with my XM-2000 you will be able to get close to 30 mile range at real world speeds (between 30mph and 40mph) before the low voltage cut (LVC) out on the controller kicks in. However, BE WARNED, that the LVC on these bikes drains the batteries lower to get that range and foreshortens their life. A safe "real world range" is about 20 miles. By "real world range" I mean ride the bike like you want to.

Regarding your question on the XM-3500 range:

The wind resistance to push a bike through the air increases exponentially as the speed increases. Thus, as you note, the Vectrix states a 20 mile range at 60 mph. Frankly I don't know what the range of the XM-3500 will be at these speeds - but I plan to test it and find out. I'll post the results on my website (see my signature block). I suspect it will be similar to the Vectrix - maybe a little better (the bike is lighter, the batteries are better and the motor may be more efficient)

Regarding your question on the XM-3000 batteries:

The XM-3000 comes with Greensaver SP27-12's - like all batteries in a long string the batteries "drift apart" in terms of their voltage. This is a bad thing (for an explanation search this forum). To counteract this you need to balance the batteries. This can be done in two ways: with a battery balancer such as the Smart Spark BattEQ product (for sale at NovaScooters.com) or with "bank charging", which is achieved by using five separate chargers (again, for more info search this forum).

On my XM-2000 I use bank charging. On my XM-3000 I will likely try out the BattEQ product (if I can manage to buy one!). Both have their pros and cons and both will cost you about $200 - but it's well worth it.

If you take away one thing from this post take away the fact that you should fit a battery balancer or do bank charging!

Lastly, regarding your question of is the extra $2000 really worth it? Here's one way to look at it regarding the cost of the batteries:

The XM-3000 batteries cost $500 to replace the set ($79 + $20 s/h from siliconebatteriesusa.com). The "safe range" is 20 miles. The expected life span is 300 to 500 cycles (I'll be conservative and use 300 cycles). So, the batteries will last for 6,000 miles (20 * 300). The battery cost is 8.3 cents per mile (500 / 6000).

The XM-3500 batteries will like cost $1500 to replace the set (that's a conservative educated guess). The batteries are 40Ah vs. 27Ah for the XM-3000. Also, due to the way the voltage is delivered these batteries will likely cover twice the range of the XM-3000 - so we'll say the safe range is 40 miles. The expected life span of is 1500 to 2000 cycles (I'll use 1500). So, the batteries will theoretically last for 60,000 miles (same rules apply - you will need to add a battery balancer to the XM-3500 to achieve this). The battery cost is thus 2.5 cents per mile (1500 / 60000).

So, just looking at the price saving on the batteries you save 5.8 cents per mile riding the XM-3500 rather than the XM-3000. You'd need to ride for over 34,000 miles to make up the price difference between the XM-3000 and the XM-3500!

So, I'd say, if you don't need the speed and increased range of the XM-3500 you'll be better off buying an XM-3000. With that extra $2000 you saved then perhaps you can buy another one for your "significant other" ;-)

I hope this helps with your dilemma. Good luck!

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.

Almy
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Re: XM-3000 vs XM-3500 is it worth it?

Excellent information! It looks like I've chosen just about the perfect time to start looking into getting an electric moped. I don't really have anything to add to the discussion. Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for giving their input. And John I may have to give you a call sometime in the near future about an XM-3000!

Almy

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