Personal Electric Vehicles

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VECTRIX VX-1
VECTRIX VX-1
SEGWAY X2
SEGWAY X2
RAZOR ECOSMART METRO
RAZOR ECOSMART METRO
E-GLIDE 48
E-GLIDE 48
ULTRA MOTOR A2B
ULTRA MOTOR A2B
CRYSTALYTE
CRYSTALYTE
TREK RIDE+
TREK RIDE+
SCHWINN SEARCHER E8
SCHWINN SEARCHER E8
BUMBLE BEE
BUMBLE BEE
CURRENT MOTOR CO. DELUXE
CURRENT MOTOR CO. DELUXE
ELECTRO MOTORSPORT NATIVE Z1500
ELECTRO MOTORSPORT NATIVE Z1500
QUANTYA EVO1
QUANTYA EVO1
MOTOCZYSZ
MOTOCZYSZ
BRAMMO ENERTIA
BRAMMO ENERTIA
ROEHR ESUPERSPORT
ROEHR ESUPERSPORT
The Zero
The Zero
The Brammo
The Brammo
QUANTYA EV01 STRADA
QUANTYA EV01 STRADA
MissionEVT powertrain
With 141 hp and 115 foot-pounds of torque, the MissionEVT powertrain, with its liquid-cooled AC induction motor, is capable of 0 to 160 mph in one gear.
VECTRIX VX-1
SEGWAY X2
RAZOR ECOSMART METRO
E-GLIDE 48
ULTRA MOTOR A2B
CRYSTALYTE
TREK RIDE+
SCHWINN SEARCHER E8
BUMBLE BEE
CURRENT MOTOR CO. DELUXE
ELECTRO MOTORSPORT NATIVE Z1500
QUANTYA EVO1
MOTOCZYSZ
BRAMMO ENERTIA
ROEHR ESUPERSPORT
The Zero
The Brammo
QUANTYA EV01 STRADA
MissionEVT powertrain

When the term was coined, “personal electric vehicle” (PEV) meant almost exclusively electric cars. A decade later, we’re seeing the resurrection of the electric car—almost every major automobile manufacturer has something in development. With the electric car movement behind them, a parade of PEVs—from something you can sling over your shoulder to a 100 mph-plus electric racing motorcycle—is coming down the pike.

The price range for these vehicles is almost as extreme as the vehicles themselves. A few hundred dollars will buy you an around-town scooter. A whole lot more will get you a custom-built, full-on race motorcycle.

Even a year ago, many of these products were pipe dreams—pretty online prototypes, but not in actual production. Today, there are products that are available, affordable, and sitting on a showroom floor for you to see, touch, and ride.

Stand-up Scooters

We’ll start the tour with two extremes in the stand-up scooter market: Segway’s Personal Transporter and one of the ubiquitous Razor-type scooters. Both of these can be used for just about the same thing—getting around the city.

At a retail price of about $8,000, the Segway is a premium product, commonly in use by police and security details. It weighs a little more than 100 pounds, and has a top speed of about 12.5 mph with a maximum range of 24 miles. A marvel of gyro-servo robotic technology, the Segway is controlled by the rider’s shifting weight.

On the other end of the scale is the simple, light, and inexpensive electric Razor scooters. Originally a kid’s toy, Razor now offers the EcoSmart Metro, with larger wheels and more power, which means some propulsion oomph. At about $400, with an 18 mph top end and a range of 15 miles, these scooters can get you everywhere a Segway can, plus you can carry it up the stairs and park it in your office.

A little more exciting is the E-Glide GI Powerboard. This 1,000-watt, 36-volt electric skateboard is not for the meek. At $1,400, with a handheld controller and an estimated top speed of 24 mph, this is an affordable option for the commuter/adrenaline junkie.

Electric Bicycles

The electric bicycle market ranges from DIY kits for converting your standard bike with hub motors for bike wheels to purpose-built electric bicycles. There are several DIY kits, including Crystalyte and Golden Motor that come as individual parts or as complete packages with batteries and controllers. You can get an idea of acceleration by the motor’s power rating, and electric bikes generally fall within the low 250 to 800 W range. Higher wattage gives you more speed and acceleration.

The Ultra Motor A2B is one of the more striking purpose-built bikes available. It weighs 72 pounds, can pull you (unassisted) at 20 mph, and has a range of about 20 miles (unassisted). The electric components are completely integrated and the bike includes disc brakes and tires that look more intended for a light motorcycle than a bicycle. These, as well as the kits, have pedals and even multispeed shifting, just as a standard bike. At $2,700, they’re not out of the range of what many die-hard bikers would pay for a racing bike.

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Comments (1)

Mark Smith W4CHL's picture

Great article, looking forward to a refresh, perhaps including 3 wheeled LEVs? One set of vehicles, which our local Light EV crowd terms the "Big Fairing Equipped Recumbent" (BFER) aka velomobiles. Most of them now are available with Electric Assist and the recent introduction of the production version of the Organic Transit ELF is giving a boost to this segment of the LEV market.

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