Two-Wheel or Not Two-Wheel?
By Josh Landess
Review of EVT's line-up of electric bicycles and motor scooters
EVT Police electric bicycles
PHOTO CAPTION: Police model electric bicycle, one of several models offered by US-based EVT. The company also imports and sells Taiwan-built EVT motor scooters. Although the names are similar, they are different companies.
Open Access Article Originally Published: April 19, 2004
"But where it can serve as an advantage is in situations where you have more rolling terrain, areas that are a lot more spread out, parking garages, event security where people want to have good visibility and they want the ability to carry a lot of weight. The racks that we have included on both the EMT and the POLICE bike have over 100 pound load capacity. In one case we found, for example, for bike EMTs, that they carry a pretty big load ... a portable defibrillator and a lot of other equipment.
"EMTs on bikes: A lot of times it’s really that they’re providing support for an event. For example, we had EMTs riding our bikes at the New York State Fair. A lot of ground to cover. You’re not necessarily moving around at high rates of speed. You’re moving in and out of traffic. However if you get a call you need to be in a certain location, you could accelerate to 25 miles an hour in about five seconds so when you get there you’re fresh, you’re not exhausted, you’re not out of breath. And the same thing goes for police. There are certain applications that it works very well for. I would say maybe not for the real hardcore police riding where there is a lot of varied terrain, where they need the ability to be able to throw the bikes around, lift them over their heads, those types of things."
A point that seemed impressive to me is the way the cruise control is implemented. There is an Economy Mode, which can help you save electric energy. There is also the ability to set the vehicle to help you divide up your energy between electricity and pedal power. You can set the cruise control at, say, ten miles per hour, and then this determines the speed the electricity gives you without pedaling, and hen if you are at anything higher than that, you can know it was your own exercise which bought you the extra miles per hour.
Clearing Up Some Corporation and Product Naming Confusion
Illinois-based EVT does sell another product, a $2800 5 hp 30 mph , battery-powered scooter is imported from a company in Taiwan that also goes by the name "EVT" (Electric Vehicle Transportation Company). This identical naming is purely coincidental. The Taiwan-based EVT is a subsidiary of a much larger Taiwanese company called Chroma.
While they may share similar names, EVT's bike and scooter seem to fall under the general name heading of, simply, "EVT Electric Bike" and "EVT Electric Scooter" (or something along those lines), but they each have different variants, with different model names. The Scooter models were called "Equinox" and "Ion" when I first test-rode them, but are now referred to on the web page as the 168 and the 4000-E.
Editor's Note: EVT's web page, EVTWorld.com is only one consonant different from this publication's EVWorld.Com doman name. There is no significance to this similarity, we are told.
These quick, good-looking machines are the ones that really tempt me, except that it seems almost decadent to buy a short-trip vehicle that doesn't give me the exercise that the bikes might. I could buy one of the scooters and power it with the solar panels I'm buying and ride to the grocery store at roughly the flow-of-traffic speed on the local 35 mph rural road, and be able to say that the entire trip was solar powered and exercise-free.
At EVS-20, I and a fellow attendee took extra rides on these Sealed-Lead-Acid machines, which didn't run short on energy, and we had a few drag races in the parking lot. We both agreed that it was outrageously fun, and, at the same time, disturbingly dangerous. He said that even though he had loved the ride, he would not be buying one for safety reasons for both himself and his child. I am still considering a purchase.
The story behind the scooters is that they were established products in Asia and Europe, and were starting to trickle into the U.S. EVT of Skokie seized the opportunity to become the sole U.S. Distributor. A big challenge was to make the scooters compliant with the Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) so they could be licensed and titled in every state.
EVT's marketing rep. said, "We spent a lot of time working with the Department of Transportation helping them define what are the characteristics for electric vehicles, because they only know combustion engines in terms of sizes. So, essentially we spent a significant amount of time educating them because they know there are a lot of vehicles being somewhat illegally imported or misrepresented on importation documents in the United States." Modifications to make the EVT Scooter compliant included DOT approved light lenses and brake hoses, full-time daytime-running-light capability and a kill-switch.