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View Full Version : The Vectrix is back! A full MCN test



Richard230
16 March 2012, 1620
I just received the April issue of Motorcycle Consumer News and they have published a full, four page, test of the 2012 Vectrix VX-1 Li+. I was really surprised how positive the editors were about the scooter. They had a lot to say and I will try to hit some of the high points.

The article starts out by providing the history of Vectrix and mentions that after Vectrix's Chapter 11 filing in September 2009, the company was bought by Gold Peak Industries Limited of Hong Kong, who immediately started improving the model range. Gold Peak is one of the largest battery companies in the world and they replaced the original NiMH battery pack with LiFePO4 cells, which they claim are more stable than Ii-ion. The battery pack consists of four modules of 10 cells connected in series. The pack comes in two capacities, 30 Ah for the VX-1 Li and 42 Ah for the VX-1 Li+. The + is rated at 5.4 kWh. The lower spec scooter is rated to have a range of 40-60 miles, while the + is rated for 55-85 miles. The battery pack is fan cooled, which runs when the bike is under way and when it is charging. The scooter is built in a factory in New Bedford, MA and at a plant in Wroclaw, Poland.

Charging time is 4-5 hours from completely discharged and 2.5 hours to bring the batteries up to 80%.

The only scheduled maintenance item is for the planetary gear drive fluid to be replaced at 200,000 miles, which is a two-hour job, with the lubricant costing $12. Including the throttle, the VX-1 only has 11 moving parts.

The motor and drive train are manufactured by Parker Hannifin in a dedicated part of the factory in Poland and the scooter uses a 3-phase, PM, brushless radial gap hub motor rated at 21 kW, with a maximum motor speed of 5500 rpm. The company claims 28.2 hp for the motor and 47.9 lb-ft of peak torque but the magazine tested the scooter on a rear-wheel dyno and obtained a figure of 18.57 hp. Voltage is 125V.

They said that they really hammered the scooter in their testing and achieved an average range of 47.8 miles per charge. Vectrix claims that the battery pack requires 1000 miles of use to achieve its maximum performance. Using a Kill A Watt P4400 meter, MCN recorded 7.85 kWh to fully recharge the battery pack. They estimate the running costs to be $ 0.025 per mile. Vectrix claims a 10-year, 50K mile life expectancy for the batteries. Replacing the battery pack costs $4000.

The scooter's lightweight aircraft-aluminum frame weighs 25 pounds and was designed by Lockheed Martin at the same time it was designing the F-22. The scooter weighs 454.5 pounds and they say the handling is extremely pleasant. The front forks are 35 mm Marzocchis and the rear shocks are a pair of 5-position pre-load adjustable shocks with 4.33" of travel at each end. The scooter is rated for use with a passenger. Brakes are top-quality Brembo 270 mm front and 240 mm rear. The Vectrix uses re-gen, activated by turning the throttle past closed. Doing so at a stop will cause the vehicle to move backward. The charger can be set for a delayed operation to take advantage of lower off-peak electric rates. Carrying capacity is 483.5 pounds. Tires are 120/70-14 Pirelli GTS23 front and 120/70-13 Pirelli GTS24 rear.

They say that while the VX-1 Li+ is not cheap, at $13,995, it offers real-world performance and utility right now and is worth a look. They conclude with the statement that "if electric-powered two-wheelers are ever to be taken seriously, they'll need to perform at least as well as this one".

Here are some performance specifications: Top speed 68.5 mph; 1/4 mile 18.94 sec. at 68.23 mph; 0-60 mph in 12.47 sec.; stopping from 60 mph takes 141' and when the speedometer is reading 65 mph, the actual speed is 62.4 mph.

All in all, a very positive report on this electric maxi-scooter.

elmotofan
18 March 2012, 0930
Thanks for sharing the article on Vectrix. Are you planning on taking a test ride any time soon ? I dont see a dealership listed for them here in Miami, but there sure seem to be a few out in California. On a related note, did the article mention anything about availability of the Li+ here in the states? How do you think this compares to the ZF6 ? Please let us know if you find these types of details. Again thanks for the detailed post.

Richard230
18 March 2012, 1355
I test rode the original Vectrix when it was introduced at Marin BMW, sometime around 2008, I believe. About a year after taking on that brand, in addition to BMW and Moto Guzi, they went out of business. I liked the Vectrix at the time, but it was too big and heavy for my taste, plus, I am not a scooter guy any more (not since my 1962 Vespa 125 and 1963 Lambretta 150 - both of which were mechanical disasters). I took the Vectrix on the freeway and it ran well at speeds up to 65 mph and seemed to handle better than I had expected. But it sucked the watts fast at that speed and had a typical range of 25 to 30 miles - compared with the 60 miles that they claimed (if memory serves). Nothing new there, I guess. I particularly liked the method of activating the re-gen, by moving the throttle forward beyond the closed position. I think that they had a well designed and built vehicle, that was sunk by its high price, high cost of development and mostly the crash of the economy shortly after it came on the market.

Scuderia West in San Francisco used to carry the brand and perhaps they still do. But I haven't see it advertised anywhere so far and that is why I thought MCN's test was so cool, as that was the first time that I had heard anything about the new Li versions being available in the States. You will likely need to check Vectirx's website for a list of their dealers. The Vectrix is pretty heavy and uses LiFePo4 technology, so I would expect the Zero to have a higher performance. My guess is that range of the Vectrix + and the Zero ZF6 should be about the same. (My bike is the ZF9 and it is good for 70-80 miles in normal suburban riding, plus its top speed is about 15 mph higher.)