On Wednesday, May 13, 2009, Auto123.com was invited by Transport Canada to spend a day trying out a bunch of environmentally-friendly vehicles at the Blainville Test Center. For my part, I also got a chance to ride the new Vectrix electric scooter.
|Compared to similarly-powerful, similarly-priced gasoline scooters, the Vectrix is more comfortable and delivers greater performance.
The Vectrix offers the size and comfort of a large scooter, certified for highway use. The 28.2-hp motor allows this zero-emission vehicle to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 8 seconds. Top speed, by the way, is electronically limited at 100 km/h by the manufacturer. In addition to the regular brakes, there’s a regenerative braking system that converts kinetic energy while decelerating to electricity to charge the batteries.
First observation? Compared to similarly-powerful, similarly-priced gasoline scooters, the Vectrix is more comfortable and delivers greater performance.
What about the autonomy, a perceived Achilles Heel of electric vehicles? According to Transport Canada, the Vectrix can travel about 21 km at a speed of 100 km/h and over 104 km at 40 km/h. Granted, 21 km isn’t much, but let’s kook at speed, and more importantly, average speed. By the way, the great differences in range at the different speeds is due to the fact that air resistance goes up much more quickly (Exponentially in fact!) than speed.
OK, so where does this air resistance thing come into play? My weekday commute amounts to 40 km, including a portion on highways. At rush hour, it takes me 45 minutes to cover the distance, which translates into an average speed of 55 km/h. Based on the data from Transport Canada, I could travel 80 km on a single charge at that speed. Put another way, it means that the available range with the Vectrix would allow me to cover the round trip, as long as I kept my average speed below 75 km/h. I average 40 km/h now, so no problem!
From this analysis, we can see the Vectrix as a good example of early EV technology maturity, with performance similar to that of comparable gasoline-powered models. A quick road test was enough to discover the wonderful potential usability of electric scooters, although range will continue to be a concern until more efficient systems are developed and go into production.
Now, the great questions loom: where will the energy come from, and what will the price be?
Photo Credit : Philippe Champoux, Matthieu Lambert
|A quick road test was enough to discover the wonderful potential usability of electric scooters.