A prototype of the scooter will be unveiled at EVS-20: Powering Sustainable Transportation, in Long Beach, California from November 15-19, 2003.
Long Beach, California - Vectrix Corporation, a developer of zero-emission vehicle ("ZEV") platform technologies, has partnered with industry leaders to develop and commercialize the world's first long-range, high-performance fuel/cell electric hybrid scooter. A prototype of the scooter will be unveiled at EVS-20: Powering Sustainable Transportation, in Long Beach, California from November 15-19, 2003.
To complete the hybrid demonstrator scooter in less than six months Vectrix worked closely with strategic partners Parker Hannifin, the global leader in motion and control systems; Giner Electromechanical Systems, LLC; GP Batteries International Ltd.; Methanex Corp. (the world's largest producer and marketer of methanol); and ROBRADY design. Commercial models are expected to be available in major metro areas in Europe, Asia and the United States by 2006.
The patented fuel cell/electric hybrid scooter combines the current battery-powered Vectrix scooter with an 800-watt onboard direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC). The onboard fuel cell continuously charges the scooter's batteries, extending its operating range and freeing it from having to be plugged into an electrical outlet to recharge.
The major benefits of the fuel cell/electric hybrid scooter include extended range and added convenience. It offers urban commuters and fleet operators a clean, quiet and competitively priced alternative to gasoline-powered motor scooters. Using methanol-based fuel also eliminates the safety and availability concerns of pressurized, high-purity gaseous hydrogen.
"This major technological breakthrough will, for the first time, offer executive commuters the advantages of zero-emission electric transportation without the constraints of charging from a fixed power supply," reports Andy MacGowan, Vectrix's president. "Furthermore, the extended range of the scooter will appeal to fleet operators, such as delivery services, police forces and security firms, as the scooter may be operated all day long without having to return to base for periodic charging."
The fuel cell/electric hybrid scooter outperforms a 400cc gasoline-powered scooter in every way. With a range of over 250km at 40km/hr (that is further extended with periodic stops), a top speed of over 100km/hr, acceleration from 0 to 50 km/hr in 3.6 seconds, and excellent handling due to a low center of gravity, the hybrid approach retains the outstanding speed and acceleration of the current Vectrix all-electric scooter. The high-torque electric motor is ideally suited to urban travel as it provides excellent acceleration from standstill and at low speeds.
"In the unlikely event the battery pack is completely discharged, the hybrid scooter will still achieve speeds of up to 30km/hr in fuel cell only mode," says Peter Hughes, vice president of technology. "Alternatively, stop for a cappuccino and, by the time you are ready to go, the battery pack will have enough charge for a quick getaway."
Compared with equivalent-sized gas-powered scooters, the Vectrix scooter offers a 91% savings in fuel costs, free maintenance for four years, reduced insurance costs and a guaranteed residual value. At an estimated retail price of €6,999, the Vectrix scooter will be 26% cheaper to own over four years than an equivalent 400cc gas scooter. Additional savings are possible as electric scooters are not subject to road tax or property tax in many countries. Government incentives, which are currently €413 in Italy and £200 in the UK, offer further cost savings.
"We are confident that potential customers will be as amazed by the potential cost savings as they will be by the scooter's outstanding performance," says MacGowan.
Targeted primarily at executive commuters, young urban dwellers, fleet operators and municipalities, the hybrid scooter will be sold through a combination of Vectrix-owned retail stores, all-electric dealers, and direct sales to fleet buyers. Vectrix is anticipating strong demand for the hybrid scooter as the European and U.S. scooter markets continue to experience strong growth, inner-city congestion increases, air and noise pollution takes its toll on the environment, and governments introduce subsidies and incentives for zero emission vehicles. The current executive scooter market in Europe alone is estimated at $3 billion annually.
"There is a strong market environment for electric scooters due to the growing popularity of scooters, increased emission regulation and greater environmental awareness. With over half a million executive-class and maxiscooters sold every year in Europe and the United States, Vectrix expects to achieve a significant share of this market over the next five years," says MacGowan.
The development of the Vectrix electric scooter dates back to 1996 when Founder and President Andy MacGowan created a vision to develop and commercialize an affordable, zero-emission personal executive transporter. The first of a series of products to be developed by Vectrix is an advanced zero-emission battery-powered maxiscooter that offers comparable performance to gas-powered maxiscooters. The company's longer-term vision is to develop environmentally sensitive technologies for other transportation applications. The corporate headquarters are located in Newport, R.I., with an engineering and test facility in New Bedford, Mass., and a European marketing operation in Rome, Italy.
Vectrix's management team, comprised of Andrew MacGowan, Carlo Di Biagio, Christopher Moe and Peter Hughes, has a proven track record in the motorcycle, aerospace, and alternative energy industries. Strategic development partners include Parker Hannifin, Alcoa, Getrag Gears, Giner, Gold Peak Batteries, Lockheed Martin and ROBRADY design. The company has been awarded five U.S. patents (including a patent for a fuel cell hybrid design), with a 6th patent pending, embodying over 100 claims.