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Z Electric Vehicles (ZEV) Scooters?

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by igotzzoom, Mar 19, 2016.

  1. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Member

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    Hi All,

    Was wondering if any of you had any interactions or dealings with (or own) Z Electric Vehicles (ZEV) scooters. They're based out of Morgantown, West Virginia. They custom-build electric scooters. I emailed them with a few "tire-kicking" questions. I got a very quick response from Darus, who seems to be one of the principals at the company. Basically, it looks like they use outer body parts from China, essentially generic maxi-scooter looking components. But the frame seems to be custom-fabricated in-house, and the electrical system and motor are specially selected and engineered for the application. They're a little on the pricey side, going from $11,000-$15,000 for the high-end models. Some of them are capable of more than 100 miles range and 90 mph top speed. The website looks like it was designed in 1995, but other than that, they look pretty cool.

    http://www.zelectricvehicle.com/
     
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Zero FX Stealthfighter

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    As much as I recommend a scooter for use if you live in a city, their price is fairly comparable to that of electric motorcycle brands like Zero Electric Motorcycles, or Brammo Electric Motorcycles. The motorcycles seem much safer off road AND going fast (90 mph) on the highway. Most, if not all of those scooters have the motor in the rear wheel. If you drive on a gravel road for a while that can cause a lot of vibration on the motor and can cause it to wear out much faster.

    Other than that, Z Electric Vehicals has been the best (from what I have seen) range to cost scooter out there on the US market. Although you might want to have something a little more agile for the cost you might have to pay. Glad you brung this up, they're an intereting company.
     
  3. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Member

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    If I were to get one, it would be primarily for on-road cruising in the 'burbs, maybe a little freeway driving. I do like some of the Zero models, but the on-board storage on the ZEV LRC is attractive. I hadn't thought about the vibration issue on the rear motor. But for the kind of riding I'd probably be doing with it, I don't expect it would be a major issue.
     
  4. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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  5. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Member

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    True. But they're add-on hard bags. The ZEV, like most maxi-scooters, has a lot of storage built-in. I don't know. It's all academic until I have space for a bike. I'm in a townhouse, and it would be a tight squeeze to get it in between my car and my wife's. Our garage is pretty small. We're thinking of getting a single family home within the next 18-24 months, and one of the items on my wish list is a 3-car garage.
     
  6. domenick

    domenick Nerd

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    I would look at other people's experiences with ZEV (and Zero too, of course) before parting with a large amount of money. There have been a number of posts about it on the V is For Voltage forum.
     
  7. robby

    robby Member

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    This is good advice. Two things I'd add in favor of the Zero are:

    1) 2015 and later Zeros come with ABS, which is a big safety benefit and impossible to retrofit economically on a vehicle that isn't designed for it.
    2) It is nice that the ZEV has an oil-cooled motor but realize they do that out of necessity -- they have a relatively small motor that's closed off inside a hub. The design of the Z-Force motor is a lot more elegant (stator on outside gives a great deal more surface area), and allows for air cooling, which eliminates the need for a liquid system (which will always be some combination of messier, heavier and more complicated).

    I don't mean to knock on ZEV (I'm a big fan of what they are doing), but I do think Zeros have a significant safety edge and probably a reliability edge.

    Anecdote/disclaimer: I own a 2013 Zero XU. It's been a dream to own -- no maintenance and no problems. The only reason I'd consider trading it would be to get ABS, which was not offered on any electric bike of that year.
     
  8. Rafaelo

    Rafaelo New Member

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    Z Electric Vehicle is happy to offer you a test ride, in West Virginia or their test track in Pennsylvania.

    You absolutely should take one. The reason is: the center of gravity on these scooters is unusually low. The battery way down low, the motor inside the rear wheel hub. You are used to a high center of gravity, making it easy to lean into a turn. A low center of gravity makes for a very stable scooter, but for that very reason it almost seems to be fighting a lean into a turn. Different handling than you are used to.

    Pluses: the owner Zehrbach is very proud of his engineering, always tinkering with improvements. Things like an oil bath inside the rear hub motor that reduces noise, heat, rust, and corrosion even for scooters in moist salty environments like Bermuda. Reducing the number of magnets which means fewer on/off cylces, less heat losses. And a new alkaline battery, which combines the advantages of old fashioned lead acid batteries with high power storage like lithium batteries -- but without the higher cost.

    Minuses -- and this is a big one -- read the Wikipedia page on Zehrbach's financial dealings at
    Z Electric Vehicle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia of ZEV’s Founder Darus Zehrbach

    You would be wise to establish an escrow account at your local motor schooter dearlership, and make sure you have an actual scooter delivered to them before you release the funds. I've met the guy Zehrbach, and I like him. I liked the scooter I test-rode. But the fate of Vectrix tells you scooter manufacturers are on a thin edge. Given this guy's financial history make sure you protect your money during the transaction.
     
  9. frankenstein

    frankenstein New Member

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    I happen to own a ZEV Electric scooter, the ZEV LRC. It may well be the best bike I ever owned. I have had it now for several years and commute to work on it.

    I drove the Zero bikes, S and SR before buying the ZEV LRC. Those motorcycles are really small, the size of a 250 cc at best. They really are not good to carry a passenger on unless she is very young, small, and skinny nor good for a large rider. Cycle World hit the Zero for having a bad rider seat. The ZEV seat is quite comfortable with a butt pocket, and a rear seat big, wide, and my wife loves it. The ZERO is a lot smaller than the ZEV and did not feel as stable at speed because of the shorter wheelbase and higher CG. The reverse gear is very nice when backing into parking spaces with the wife on the back. Charging time is half the Zero

    For storage, the ZEV has five storage compartments, and all but two are really large. The under seat box holds 62 liter, which is about 3 ½ feet long, and 1 ½ ft wide, by about 10 inches deep. You can mount the rear storage box on the rear rack if you want also. I have hauled grocery and takeout several times under the seat.

    ZERO has no fairing. I can set on the ZEV and hold the throttle open at 80 mph on I-81 without getting beat by the wind, cold, or rain. The ZERO is just more of a nice weather machine in comparison and just is not as comfortable. Do not discount the wind beating when considering and how the temperature might change during a days ride.

    For price, the ZEV are a lot less money than the ZERO. The LRC I bought cost $13,900 which is the most expensive one, but about $4,000 less than the ZERO with the large battery pack that gets less range than the ZEV. So, no, you cannot get a ZERO with that performance for the same price. $4,000 was a lot to me and I got more performance for the money.

    The ZEV has bigger brakes than the ZERO and you can haul down on them without upsetting the handling. I like the large tires for braking The Zero’s motor makes a lot more noise. From what I can find from the NHTSA/DOT listings, the company is the oldest in the business, over 10 years old, but Zero is close behind.

    You are right about the range and efficiency of the ZEV. ZEV just beat all of the ZERO and the ZERO streamliners even in the Vetter Challenge with their old Yeller #1 prototype LRC. It scored better than everyone in efficiency except for one custom built streamliner that won by only 2or 3%. From a ZEV customer letter a couple of weeks ago:http://www.schultzengineering.us/events/v-chall-16/v-chall-16.htm http://www.schultzengineering.us/events/v-chall-16/v-chall-2016.pdf

    The idea that the oil bath inside the motor is more complex or anything negative is incorrect. The motor just has oil inside for heat transfer and to stop corrosion. Its not a pumped system. This is not a small motor. It’s much larger than the ZERO in diameter and surface area, and not buried in the chassis like the ZERO where its fins are turned cross to the on coming wind. It’s out in the breeze and cools really well. I have been out with the wife here in the NC mountains, and I have checked the motor and controller many times to see if they got hot. They do not. But while I read about ZERO shutting down from heat, I never see that about the ZEV. The ZEV motor, since it is a hub motor, also has the magnets on the outside of the motor. The windings do not move nor does the shaft so its just speculation that any vibration bothers it.

    Contrary to the trash talk that gets passed off as fact in the forums, there is no evidence anywhere of any legal action involving the company or any of its managers. I investigated that. Guys on the forums try to make a case of a man with a similar name, but not the same name, having past legal issues. They claim the company founder was the guy that got in trouble (not the current managers) but even then, articles by magazine writers say the founder died the first year. Even Rafaelo here says it was the founder with the issues. Then the issue was I recall 25 years ago, 15 before the company started. So if there was ever a connection, its very vague and not relevant in my mind. I can find no one that claims they have been even slightly injured.

    Last time I stopped by the factory on the way north, they had a new 110 mph, 170 mile range highway speed version of the LRC in testing. My brother in Jersey wants mine, so I plan on moving up if they get that on the market. But I have to see about a white S first.
     

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