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Vectrix: Two Wheels Green

Vectrix's new Maxi scooter looks good, performs well and is a friend of the earth, writes Tim Luckhurst

Published: 23-Nov-2006

"Cool people ride electric" is the slogan adopted by the Vectrix Corporation of Newport, Rhode Island. Its new emissions-free Vectrix Maxi Electric scooter suggests that caring people certainly will - and soon. The machine offers a tantalising insight into how it feels to ride clean, congestion-smashing technology. But even if caring is cool there is work to be done before it becomes universally popular.

This scooter desperately wants to be a proper motorcycle. It has Brembo disc brakes at front and rear. An ultra-lightweight aluminium frame paired with state-of-the-art Marzocchi telescopic forks makes handling agile enough to keep up with the pack - even in the crazy mêlée of central Rome. Exploiting the low centre of gravity afforded by 82 kilograms of nickel hydride battery I soon began to chuck it around. It is nimble and secure, even on slimy cobbles.

A regenerative throttle arrangement whereby the twist grip is turned forward to reverse the polarity of the electric motor provides excellent engine-braking. This patented DAaRT system (decelerating, accelerating and regenerative throttle) gives the Vectrix a reverse gear that it does not need. More usefully it means that energy generated during braking is recovered by the battery, so extending the scooter's range by up to 12 per cent.

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