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Oatnet goes Vectrix!

oatnet

1 MW
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
2,361
Location
SoCal, USA
I had no idea they even existed until i saw my fiirst Vectrix at the 2007 Alt-Car expo. I was thrilled by the idea of a freeway-complaint 62mph full-size scooter, and the display model I messed around with felt solid, totally different from the cheap chinese scooters that were starting to emerge on the American market. So I waited in line to test drive one on the Factory's tiny closed course, but since I didn't have an M1 license they wouldn't let me. :roll: I was put off the product by the rejection, and I scoffed at the 12k price tag ($11,995 as I recall), and honestly up until a week or so ago, I haven't thought or heard about them since.

So I missed it when Vectrix dropped their price to $8,995. I missed it when they entered bancruptcy. I almost missed it when dealers started flushing their inventory. But I stumbled across Vectrix in some post somewhere, somehow, and thought I'd do a price check on them. That lead to me buying a brand-new burgandy Vectrix VX-1 from an Authorized Dealer for $3,250, first owner, freshly titled. I've spent more than that on ebike projects!

So yeah, the 150v30ah battery pack is 3 year old NiMh wet cells not LifePO4, but it still goes 62mph (governed limit, not top end) for 20+ miles. My daily commute is @16 miles; It looks like folks are getting 30-35 miles from routine riding, and 50+ miles at 25mph. The pack is rated to last 1500 cycles, and its 200lbs is low in the bike for a great center-of-gravity. If it doesn't last, right now I could replace it with a prisimatic 30ah a123 pack and make it 125lbs lighter. The same cells could almost triple the capacity at the same weight load.

Since the pack meets my current needs, I'll just leave it stock as long as I can, and hope my careful usage and the 2-year warrantee will make it last a long time. I brought cash to buy it, but then I realized that if I used my platinum VISA I could extend the warrantee even further . :D

"But wait," you say, "What good is a warrantee with a bankrupt company?" Well, I have been lurking on the visforvoltage Vextrix forum, where someone just posted on Friday that the Bankruptcy terms funded 2 million for warrantee support for existing bikes, there have been recent job postings, and industry rumors about Vectrix gearing up for Part Duex, and a software update that increases the speed governer to 68mph. If nothing else, since these bikes reportedly cost 100k each to produce, I figure am way ahead. :mrgreen:

I have actually been hankering for an e-moto for a while, If I didn't have so many projects simmering right now, I'd have built one using one of Markcycle's amazing hub motors. I learned a lot building my first ebikes, but when I bought my first factory-built bike (tidalforce) I realized that even if I had choked on the cost up front, I would have saved a lot more in the long run. After converting the VW Bus and building dozens of ebikes, I think I have the basics down already, so I hope I can realize the same economy by buying a factory e-moto. I really like how it doesn't add to the project schedule.

Which reminds me, anyone want to buy a titled, registered Electric Comuta car project? I am willing to sell at a huge loss to free up parking space for the Vectrix. And maybe a mattress for when Mrs. Oatnet gets back from her trip, sees the latest thing crammed into the garage, and changes the locks on me. :lol: :oops: :D

It looks like a lot of folks are getting deals like these. I think that current market value of the Vectrix is par for the general populaze, but hugely undervalued to folks like us who can understand, maintain, and modify them. Brembo Brakes, Marizzochi forks, Pirelli tires. So if you have the inclination and funding, I'd highly recommend you contact your local dealer and do them the favor of 'unloading' one from them.

Enough Yapping, on to the pics:

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deal, but because they did go bankrupt, and because they are considered the first in the class in our line of reasoning about how to transport our butts up and down the road, i would recommend you clean it up and save it for a museum. but maybe put it off until when the pack is dead..

whatta deal.
 
Wow Oatnet i am happy for you that's just unbeleivable. I really like that bike. good value at that price.

Now that is the price you're gonna tell your wife right?

but are you going to tell us the real price you paid :lol: :lol:
 
HOWDY OATNET: I bought a silver vectrix back in NOV.-09 and I am in the process of making a trike out of it by adding outrigger wheels on the rear and I hope to be able to make it lean just a little. I paid $3700.00 for mine with 33 miles on it. I am not able to post pictures yet but soon I will.
I just have too many projects going on. You made the right move I knew this company would come back because this is too good of a product to let it stop now. Hope to hear more from you. GOOD DAY COOPER :D :D :D :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
 
Reminds me of the fat girl joke ...but do you really want your friends to see?

Seriously - it's cool a bit too heavy for my likes but cool!

-Mike
 
Dnmum, I am trying so hard to clean out my Museum right now. :D Know anyone who wants to pay top dollar for the brand-new TidalForce S-750X with B Battery I have in there now?

Slayer, thanks! Yeah, I couldn't pass up a deal like that. Looks like one listed on ebay today went to $4100, reserve not met.

Bluestreak I look forward to seeing your wheel project unfold. I'd like to put the dual-front-wheel from a wrecked MP3 on one, like Vectrix did with the demo.

Mwkeefer, I don't know the fat girl joke, sorry this doesn't meet your aesthetic. I like my ebikes light, but I am trying to branch out into freeway ridable EVs. Especially ones I don't have to slave over for months. :D

StudEbiker, thanks!

So the dealership claimed to have cycled the cells, but I am skeptical. So I am planning on some shallow cycles to wake the cells up, then I start on the 5 deep discharge cycles that Vectrix recommends to condition the cells. Funny how my old TidalForce NiMh knowledge still has practical value in a lithium world. Because of the range, and the limited speeds I feel comfortable with right now, each deep discharge.

It arrived with 40.1 miles, I gave it a full charge Saturday night, and this morning I put on @15 miles in a parking lot around the corner. I rode dirt bikes a few times as a kid, but I am essentially motorcycle newbie I had hoped my Ebike riding skills would carry over, but motos are a whole different world. Even though the batteries are low in the frame, apparently a 500lb e-moto feels nothing like a 120lb ebike. :oops:

I started doing circles and figure 8's, and in the beginning I was scared to lean much because that 500lb tilts fast. I slowly got used to the heft, practiced stopping, and keeping the bike balanced stopping and launching. As I got more comfortable, I started leaning into the turns, and eventually got a feel for setting a tighter turn with a lean, and then using the throttle to lift the bike back up through the turn (hope this is right!). Eventually I got the lean down too well and I sanded down the right tip of the fairing (see the picture below) the turn felt fine until the bodywork got in the way, but I recovered nicely.

Acceleration is fairly brisk. I am sure sportbikes are way way way faster, but it pulls strongly. In fact, my low back is a little sore from the pull. In fact, I think I am saddle sore, most of the muscles around my middle are aching from using butt-english to steer. Hopefully getting more comfortable leaning will translate to less butt-english, but I can tell I have a long way to go before it is second nature, and even longer before I'll feel safe putting Mrs. Oatnet on the back. :lol:

I charged it up again, looks like it topped out at 145+v, and now my range meter is projecting 50 miles, a bit more than yesterday.

Here are some more pics. My Panterra scooter always towered over the pedal-type chinese scooters, so I thought of it as large, but I knew the Vectrix was bigger. I didn't really realize HOW much bigger until I put them next to each other - the Vectrix is truly a full-size Maxi scooter.

At First Glance, the rear of the moped looks like it as tall as the Vectrix. That is because it has a rear helmet box on it. If I got the Rear box accessory from Vectrix (I will if I can find it!) it would be much taller.

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And Finally, the point I sanded down on the fairing - so, less lean then?
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YES OATNET I like the three wheel of the mp3 and I watched the video if the vectrix three wheel and I would like to find one. I've read that vectrix made about 200 of the three wheeler's. anyway I am glad that I have found sombody on ES that likes what I like. soon I will get back to my projects and finish them I am trying to let my left shoulder get well I hurt it somehow right after I bought my VECTRIX and have not been able to do much lately. You don't heal very fast when you hit 66 yrs of age. HAVE A GOOD WEEK COOPER :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
 
You may already know this, but there is a significant amount of info on these over at the VisforVoltage forums, in case you ever need it.
 
Thanks amberwolf, I posted over there after learning tons lurking, but E:S is my EV home so I'll probably maintain this thread more often.

StudEbiker, LongBeachMotorsports had another one, a white police model with an extra pair of flashing white lights but no markings. White is a rare color which is cool, but they said they wanted $800 more for it, which I don't think is worth it. The owner uses it to go to lunch so it has about 1k on it too.

Ice, I've had it to 60mph and it had lots left. Allegedly they are allegedly releasing a software upgrade that will bump the governed limit to 68mph. I don't know what the upper limit would be, but It would suck the batteries dry too fast to be worth it.

Lots has happened!

Mrs. Oatnet got back from a monthlong trip to Taiwan, and while she was not thrilled about the new addition, she wasn't upset by it either. Here is some old stuff I wrote when I didn't have access to the internet and forgot to post:
================================
I passed my CA M1 written test with 3 out of 25 wrong, 4 allowed, qualifying me for a learners permit. The alleged tests questions I googled were either not on the test, or virus websites.

Last night I read the CA 2010 motorcycle laws booklet, I actually found it very interesting and informative. Then I read the 1/3 of the (yawn) CA 2010 drivers laws booklet late. I woke up at early anxious about the M1 test, decided to roll out of bed, finish studying in line, and hopefully get it out of the way.

I was hoping for an early start but i got there only 2 minutes before the 8:00 opening, there was a good size line. I read most of the rest of the drivers manual while waiting. Once I got through that line to get a number things happened fast. It took about two hours, I was done before 10:00. I had an appointment when I renewed my license and that took an hour and half with an appointment. Since appointments are a month or two out I am I glad I did it now, not to mention relieved to simply have it done. Now I can legally ride in the street, just not at night, on the freeway, or with a passenger - none of which I want to do right now, maybe someday with a whole lot more experience. License, check!

Next, it was off to AAA to get insurance. I suddenly noticed that the dealer registered the bike as an ’08, not the ’07 I thought it would be. They didn’t barf on the VIN like I expected, but they did barf on the cc’s of the bike. My dealer registration form lists ‘electric’ in the cc’s field, the rep was insistent that it had to list cc’s. When I thought about it later, maybe when I kept on trying to explain by saying “There are no cc’s, its electric!”, he thought I was talking about what was on the form, not what makes the bike go. I emailed them a pic of the form, they called back and said they had a formula for calculating this, so they would insure it as a 244cc scooter. Replacement-value insurance with $1000 deductable, $197, just liability $172. Insurance, check!

I went out for a ride the moment I was street legal. I had a full charge to burn off for my “second full discharge within 24 hours” specified in the Oct/08 software upgrade. I cruised through some curves to my favorite secluded ocean cliff view, then to a DVD store, then did grocery shopping at Whole Foods and tossed it in the underseat storage. I was feeling pretty comfortable so I did my 3.1 mile commute to work, which includes some 6-lane surface streets with lots of aggressive traffic, and was a “big test” for me.

When I pull up to a light on an ebike, I might balance on a pedal, I might tip it to one side, but on a moto that’s a nono, you might lay it down. There have been a few embarrassing intersections, where I have been anticipating the turn after the stop, and have to struggle to lift the bike back up. Somewhere along the way I adjusted to keeping it upright. I think that it is why the Vectrix felt so heavy to me the first time I went out, because now it feels neatly balanced with a low COG.

On my first parking lot ride I was trying to lean into the curves, and use the throttle to pull me out. Stupid now that I think about it. A work buddy rides almost every day, and he set me straight. He told me to lean the bike over, but not my body, so my body could be used as leverage to pull out of a lean. I thought my ebike skills hadn’t carried over, but once he said that I realized they would – I lean my my bikes Waaaaay over on those maxis hookworms, putting the top bar of the frame into the back of my inside knee. The Vectrix doesn’t let me stand up like that, so I just tilt at the waist instead, and just like that everything clicked. I stopped thinking about pushing the handlebar towards the turn, and coordinating lean angles, I just rode like I have been.

Odd note – they tell you to look in the direction you want to turn. I find I have to look _above_ the direction to actually hit the mark.

I also Got my new Helmet today – Gmax GM86S, with the superior optics, great airflow, light and quiet, and BLINKY RED LIGHTS on the back:
http://www.webbikeworld.com/r2/motorcycle-helmet/gmax/gm68s/

Right now the Vect is downstairs charging, and I am running a time-delay video so I can see how hot it gets. I bought a pack of batteries from a guy parting out a Vectrix, so I have spare cells if any heat up and I can’t get Vectrix to honor the warrantee.

Next step, the $250 CHP course that will teach me all about how to ride an oil-burner - changing gears, identifying carburetors, using a foot brake, all anachronisms to the Vectrix. Of course, I fully expect it will also give me an opportunity to learn some tips that will save my life. Throughout my rides, I keep thinking of two things: “Ride like you are invisible”, and the high majority of riders who drop their bikes the first year. I want my performance to keep me in the minority.
=============================

The helmet stank of manufacturing chemicals - I opened a visor and stuck a fan in the neckhole and ran it a few days until it went away. So far it has turned out to be quiet and cool and clear as predicted, and I like the blinky lights. I am really thrilled to have the safety of wearing a full-face helmet without feeling goofy like I would on an ebike.

I've had an opportunity for a few rides, draining the pack to the red battery light in 25 miles of stop and go driving around my neighborhood. My low back gets sore from picking my legs up at hundreds of stops, like doing endless mini-crunches. Accelleration and top end are both currently beyond my comfort zone. Riding is becoming more automatic, which is good and bad - the other day went for a ride right after work, and I suddenly realized I had been thinking about work for a while, not focusing on the road surface etc... So I took it right back to the garage.

-JD
 
Good work OATNET, I love my vectrix and I am hopeing to get back working on my trike design setup but my hurt shoulder is still giveing me problems,but soon I will get started up again. GOOD DAY :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
 
Hi JD,

Nice score!

Can you qualify for either the federal rebate (10%?) or the CA rebate ($1,500?)?

EDIT ADDED TWO BATTERY PACK QUESTIONS:
You seem concerned with your battery pack life. Toyota NiMH (same chemistry) normally last a very long time.

Do Vectrix battery packs have a bad track record?

If so how bad?
END EDIT ADDED TWO QUESTIONS.

The helmet stank of manufacturing chemicals - I opened a visor and stuck a fan in the neckhole and ran it a few days until it went away.
Expose it to heat (car package tray, under the window, in the sun would be good).

Might be worth consideration (scroll down to the 6th post in the thread):
http://visforvoltage.org/forum/7920-lithium-gold-peak-battery-pack-vectrix
I just got a press release from GoldPeak Vectrix:

GoldPeak Batteries Announces the Acquisition of Vectrix

Vectrix has a bright future ahead!

On the 6th of November 2009 GoldPeak Batteries International announced the acquisition of all assets
and certain liabilities of Middletown RI based Vectrix Corporation. Before that, Vectrix Corporation filed
for bankruptcy under chapter 11, US bankruptcy law (for details please see official press release from GP
published Nov, 6th).

Gold Peak Group is a public listed company in Singapore and Hong Kong and is one of the leading
battery suppliers worldwide.

GoldPeak established for this transaction a Delaware based company called New Vectrix and re-named
as Vectrix Corporation. Vectrix Corporation is 100 % owned by GP Batteries through EVB Technology
(HK) Limited. The organizational structure of the new company will be communicated later.

The Vectrix Corporation is now working to consolidate all the activities (headquarter, sales, technology
and production). Lean manufacturing is based in Wroclaw, Poland and keep continues operation as
usual Vectrix continues to produce the Vx1 bikes and provides customers with accessories, spare parts and
technical support.

The company is currently developing new models of high performance, zero emission scooters and will
be introducing them in the near future: By the summer 2010 a new version of the Vx1 including several
technical improvements will be introduced to the market. The new Vx1 will have a GoldPeak Li Iron
Phosphate Battery. For the existing Vx1 customers, an upgrade kit to the Li battery technology will be
offered
.…
http://www.evbtech.com/product.htm
http://www.evbtech.com/Data Sheet/TDS GP18EVLF.pdf
http://www.evbtech.com/Data Sheet/TDS GP30EVLF.pdf
Link for the 45ah cells is broken. Here's a picture (45ah):
GP45EVLF.jpg
 
Hi,

An interview with a New Vectrix employee (interview starts at about 10 minutes) at the link below.

Information on warranty and support issues and they are working on new software or BMS for the existing NiMH:
EVcast #333: Not the Vectrix Your Grand Dad Used to Drive
posted by Bo Bennett, Group Administrator
Wednesday, March 3rd 2010 @ 7:41 AM

Join Bo and Ryan for a look at the week in EV news, plus an interview with Brian Buccella, VP of sales and marketing for "new" Vectrix.
http://www.evcast.com/members/evcas...the-Vectrix-Your-Grand-Dad-Used-to-Drive.html
 
For more than a month, I've been riding my Vectrix to work every day, and I love it. It is way more stable/comfortable at 60mph than any of my ebikes at 40mph, plus I get to wear a full-face helmet without looking foolish. I've put just over 500 miles on it so far.

It took some time to adjust to a scooter seating position as well as the abundant torque. My torso was constantly unbalanced - unsettling when getting blown around in windy conditions. I learned to lean into the acceleration to keep my weight over my COG and that pretty much fixed it. I guess on ebikes simply holding into the handlebars is enough to offset acceleration, not so on the Vectrix. One time I twisted the throttle hard to accelerate away, but had forgotten to start the bike. When the acceleration didnt come, Instead of leaning into it, I bonked my helmet into the windscreen and felt foolish.

I was disappointed to be rejected for the $1,500 California rebate. Vectrix says my dealer is not an authorized dealer (so I don't have the 2-year warrantee CARB requires for the rebate), even though they were listed as such on the Vectrix website the day I bought it and for months afterwards. Vectrix made many other changes on their website so they were keeping it updated, so I guess it made them look better to buyers to list 20 California dealers instead of correcting it to the (2) they still acknowledge. I guess the lesson for potential vectrix customers is to WAIT until Vectrix gets their biz gets sorted out as well as Brammo and Zero have.

Anyhow, I was stopped at a store on my way home, when a guy walks up to me and says "Hey, is that a Vectrix? I owned one for a week!". We chatted for a while, a very personable guy with a broad range of experience and a great perspective on the industry. Then he whips out his business card, turns out he is the senior editor for Autoweek/Westcoast, and is currently testing the Mitsubisi "i Meiv" electric car coming to the US next year. Despite being right-drive it is a cool little ride, I wish I could have taken more time to look at it closely but I was late and had to go.

At any rate, he took my picture and posted about the encounter on his blog. I didn't realize how ragged and floppy my moto-coat looks, but there you have it. I try to keep my face off the Internet so I had put my helmet on for the photo. Here is a link to Mark's blog:

http://www.autoweek.com/article/20100729/GREEN/100729831


-JD
 
Hi,
oatnet said:
For more than a month, I've been riding my Vectrix to work every day, and I love it. It is way more stable/comfortable at 60mph than any of my ebikes at 40mph, plus I get to wear a full-face helmet without looking foolish. I've put just over 500 miles on it so far.
Good to hear you like it!

oatnet said:
I was disappointed to be rejected for the $1,500 California rebate. Vectrix says my dealer is not an authorized dealer (so I don't have the 2-year warrantee CARB requires for the rebate), even though they were listed as such on the Vectrix website the day I bought it and for months afterwards. Vectrix made many other changes on their website so they were keeping it updated, so I guess it made them look better to buyers to list 20 California dealers instead of correcting it to the (2) they still acknowledge. I guess the lesson for potential vectrix customers is to WAIT until Vectrix gets their biz gets sorted out as well as Brammo and Zero have.

-JD
Sorry, too bad on the rebate. Another strategy would be to check with Vectrix on the particular dealer/warranty before a purchase.

The main problems with the Vectrix are the lame battery management and the range. A really solid 5kwh or 6kwh lithium pack would make it a massively better product. It seems likely, now that Vectrix is owned by one of the largest battery companies in the world that they will get there sooner rather than later. A $5k Vectrix purchase now plus a $5k battery upgrade might cost more than waiting and getting a new model with an improved pack.

You might be interested in these Vectrix threads:
http://visforvoltage.org/forum/9417-bikes-dead-wont-charge-seattle
Pain in the neck if you let the voltage drop!

Two DIY lithium conversion threads:
http://visforvoltage.org/forum/8427-jealousy
http://visforvoltage.org/forum/9120-my-vectrix-lithium-conversion
 
See how simple the Inrush Current Limiter is when you don't make a mountain out of a molehill?

[youtube]208kG8B6HJM[/youtube]
 
amberwolf said:
Is that just an automotive marker/signal bulb?

7w bulb like you would see in a tiny nightlight, very small. The pack was discharged to about 125v at that point, not so far off AC, and I figured it would have higher resistance than the 11w bulbs they are using on visforvoltage. :D
 
Cool. :) I have some of those bulbs (and bases) around from old Christmas light strings, some are 5W and some are 7W. Some bigger ones, too, with the next size up base, dunno their wattage but probably 11W.

Once I get something going that needs a precharge I'll remember those.
 
I found a local dealer in Wichita. Got to sit on one. That thing is solid. Guy said $9K with some wiggle room. :cry: Maybe next year.. Yours still holding up well?
 
8995 is MSRP now, from the original 11,995? 12,995?

If you look sharp, you can probably find an '07/'08 sitting at a dealer for under 4k. I'd pay 4k but not 8k unless they go LifePO4.
 
Hi,
oatnet said:
If you look sharp, you can probably find an '07/'08 sitting at a dealer for under 4k. I'd pay 4k but not 8k unless they go LifePO4.
Someone in Europe posted that they have announced plans to go to LifePO4 and make kits available for upgrading older versions.

The major problems with their NiMH models are:
  • 1. Poor thermal management. The entire pack and individual cells (which is probably worse) easily get too hot. Almost every Vectrix with a substantial number of miles has battery problems and most of them are heat related.
    2. No individual cell management. Individual cells get out of balance and the BMS hasn't a clue.
    3. No electronic pack conditioning.
Presumably LifePO models will fix 2 and 3 won't be an issue. Thermal management could still be an issue. The cells will obviously be in the same enclosure and the Gold Peak Cell Spec's for operational and charging temperatures are identical (or very very close) for their NiMH and LifePO4 Cells.
 
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