EV Scooter Dials Down Power, Range For Value

High-performance electric vehicles (EV) generally grab the headlines, since the idea of an EV going fast is still enough of a surprise that the people tend to sit up and take notice when one comes along.

Even so, while souped-up EVs stir up plenty of online chatter this doesn’t often translate to sales. Largely because making a high-performance EV remains an expensive business. Hence automaker Z Electric Vehicle’s (ZEV) latest model of scooter, the ZEV 5000.

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image via ZEV

The launch of the 5000 seems on the surface a step down for the automaker, which is better known for its high-performance rides. Most of their models enjoy a  top speeds of 75 to 80 mph, and contain lithium batteries that give the scooter a range of  100 miles.

The 5000 can’t get up much beyond 60 mph and its non-exotic, lead-based battery gives the scooter a range of 50 miles, down to half that in heavy traffic.

ZEV said the new model is a response to economic hard times and the fact that disposable income is not what it was —  though the scooter comes in at a not exactly giveaway price of $4,545, this is still considerably less than earlier ZEV models.

The company said the 5000 is also tailored to the habits of many urban bike riders. In a statement ZEV said: “For the vast majority of the population, their needs and use patterns could best be served by a new approach, rather than a new technology. The vast majority of the public needs a vehicle to commute to work less than 20 miles.”

“With the world economy not exactly booming, the intent was to try to create the maximum value product for the market and to drive down the sale price,” the automaker added.

Lead-based batteries have not always had the best reputation. This is in part because of reduced performance and a historical  problem of plate sulfating based on the use of sulphuric acid.

Paul Willis has been journalist for a decade. Starting out in Northern England, from where he hails, he worked as a reporter on regional papers before graduating to the cut-throat world of London print media. On the way he spent a year as a correspondent in East Africa, writing about election fraud, drought and an Ethiopian version of American Idol. Since moving to America three years ago he has worked as a freelancer, working for CNN.com and major newspapers in Britain, Australia and North America. He writes on subjects as diverse as travel, media ethics and human evolution. He lives in New York where, in spite of the car fumes and the sometimes eccentric driving habits of the yellow cabs, he rides his bike everywhere.