The Vectrix VX-1 is the best eco-friendly scooter you can buy, according to professional reviews. It looks and feels like any other comfortable large scooter, but the all-electric Vectrix VX-1 uses no gas. Unlike weaker hybrid and electric scooters, the VX-1 electric scooter can reach speeds of up to 62 mph, taking steep hills and busy highways with ease -- and earning heaps of accolades from experts.
The Vectrix VX-1's acceleration is "unparalleled," says Susan Carpenter, the Los Angeles Times' motorcycle columnist. "The Vectrix is faster off the line than any scooter I've ridden and experiences almost no power loss under load," she says. "Riding it up and over San Francisco's multitudinous roller-coaster hills, it didn't strain."
Experts say the Vectrix VX-1 looks and rides like a big, smooth maxi scooter, such as the Honda Silver Wing (MSRP: $8,500 to $9,000). But its 26 horsepower is similar to a 250 cc scooter like the Vespa GTS 250 (MSRP: $6,000), and its top speed is similar to a 150 cc scooter like the Kymco People 150 (MSRP: $2,800). Unlike smaller scooters, testers say the Vectrix VX-1 electric scooter keeps pace on the freeway, and its solid weight and precise handling inspire rider confidence.
The Vectrix VX-1 runs silently on a DC electric motor powered by an NiMH battery. The battery is projected to last 50,000 miles, and the Vectrix scooter comes with a two-year warranty (most scooters have a one-year warranty).
You charge the Vectrix electric scooter by plugging its built-in cord into a standard household outlet. It takes three hours to fully charge, or two hours for an 80 percent charge. The company estimates that the Vectrix VX-1 can run 35 to 55 miles on one charge, but testers say it's more like 25 to 40 miles in real-world operation. You can recharge the electric scooter's batteries up to 12 percent while riding by using the regenerative braking system -- simply roll the handlebar throttle backward and the Vectrix VX-1 scooter brakes confidently, testers say. The Vectrix is also equipped with excellent Brembo disc brakes, but reviewers say they usually used the throttle brake during tests because it's so effective.
The Vectrix electric scooter is expensive, but a federal tax credit for eco-friendly vehicles (10 percent of the scooter's value) and a federal tax deduction for new vehicles (equal to the sales and excise taxes) bring the price in line with the conventional gas-powered Honda Silver Wing large scooter. In April 2009, Vectrix introduced the cheaper VX 1-E (MSRP: $8,495), with a maximum speed of 50 mph. The 30-mph Vectrix VX-2 electric scooter (MSRP: $5,195) is due in June 2009.
Experts are consistent in their praise for the Vectrix VX-1 electric scooter. Motorcycle reviewers at major newspapers -- including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle -- as well as at Motorcycle.com and Cycle World, find many of the same pros and cons when they test the VX-1 (some of the reviews don't specify the model, but the VX-1 was the only Vectrix scooter available at the time). ScooterMaxi.com presents the Vectrix VX-1 scooter with an award based on testing, but the full review had not been posted when we checked. Popular Mechanics also honors the Vectrix as a top-ten new bike, but there is no mention of testing.
1. The New York Times
The New York Times' Dexter Ford tests the Vectrix VX-1 electric scooter in rush-hour traffic on a Los Angeles freeway. The Vectrix keeps pace and handles confidently, but its charge runs out after only 25 miles.
Review: Electric Glide: Passing Pumps on a Scooter, Dexter Ford, Dec. 9, 2007
2. Los Angeles Times
Susan Carpenter tests the Vectrix VX-1 electric scooter for a day in San Francisco, much to the excitement of people she meets along the way. At the end of the day, Carpenter agrees that the Vectrix electric scooter is "worthy of applause."
Review: Vectrix Electric Scooter: Just In the Nick of Time, Susan Carpenter, Aug. 15, 2007
3. San Francisco Chronicle
Arv Voss tests -- and likes -- the Vectrix VX-1. He finds the electric scooter enjoyable and easy to ride, with loads of convenient features.
Review: 2008 Vectrix Electric Maxi-Scooter, Arv Voss, Dec. 15, 2007
Reviewer Yossef Schvetz does an excellent job describing how the Vectrix VX-1 electric scooter performs, from a motorcycle enthusiast's point of view. He's impressed, especially with the Vectrix's acceleration and control.
Review: Vectrix VX-1, Yossef Schvetz
5. Cycle World
Cycle World's Chris Worden finds both pros and cons during his test of the Vectrix VX-1 electric scooter. It's roomy and comfortable, and Worden particularly likes the electric scooter's regenerative braking system, but he notes that the Vectrix is expensive and its range is limited by its charge.
Review: WebRide: 2007 Vectrix Electric Scooter, Chris Worden, Nov. 2007
ScooterMaxi's Jim Robins gives special recognition to the Vectrix VX-1, finding little to dislike about this electric scooter. A link leads to a second write-up on the Vectrix with a promised full review, but that had not yet been posted when we checked.
Review: 2008 ScooterMaxi Awards of Distinction, Jim Robins
The Vectrix VX-1 is the only scooter on this Popular Mechanics top-10 list. A short write-up praises the Vectrix's styling and quick acceleration, but there is very little detail about the electric scooter here.
Review: 10 Hot New Bikes at the 2009 New York City Cycle World Motorcycle Show, Josh Max, Jan. 19, 2009