Update on the Native Z6000 now 4000 Miles driven.

October 26, 2012 2 comments

I’ve now been driving my Z6000 for over two years. It’s still a great way to get around town but has had its share of problems. One brake fluid reservoir corroded and had to be replaced. I’ve had one tire replaced — the stock tires are sticky which results in great performance and not so great tread life.

I also had the seat replaced which wasn’t expensive but really didn’t last long in part because it was parked outside for extended periods. Some of the plastic cracked when they were servicing it and they replaced it (EMS) without charging me for what was quite a bit of labor.

In summary, I like the scooter but it’s been a bit of a headache to keep up with the issues that have arisen.

Electric Scooter Picks-Up Model MBAs

December 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Just a week and a half ago my scooter got some well overdue attention at the semi-annual Capstone Showcase event for Presidio Graduate School. I brought the scooter with me to class and to the showcase event since my final project, Social Outlet, is a solution that provides all of the needed infrastructure to support widespread adoption of two-wheeled electric vehicles, including scooters, motorcycles and bicycles with the ability to charge whenever and wherever needed.

I took the Z6000 with me on BART that morning having received reassurance from the BART Police that taking a near 300lb vehicle on BART is perfectly ok as long as it’s not powered by a volatile fuel or a Segway. This was my second time taking my scooter on BART and it went without a hitch, save some shocked looks from fellow passengers. I didn’t have as much luck at the evening Capstone Showcase event, where shortly after taking this picture I was told I had to remove it due to a potential fire hazard. I tried to explain that it was safer than an incandescent light bulb but failed to make a dent in their official policy. Good thing the ability to take EVs into buildings isn’t a requirement for their adoption!

Given the relative ease of taking one of these vehicles on BART I can’t see why anyone would want to buy a gasoline powered one in San Francisco or the East Bay. It is awesome having a scooter in either urban area and so easy to park and not hard to find places to charge up either!

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Native Z6000 and Zero MX Share Same ETEK Motor, Who would have known?

December 28, 2011 Leave a comment

In the very cool news for a Z6000 scooter owner, department, it turns out that the ETEK EMC-R motor used in the Zero MX Electric Motorcycle is identical to the one used in the Z6000, the only difference — the controller in the Zero MX is not programmable, the one in the Z6000 is and I’ve used that to my advantage to decide on my personal trade off between power and range. The other difference is that my Z6000 has a 300amp controller while the Zero has one that maxes out at 400amps. Of course with my comparably tiny battery pack — bigger would not be better.

I hear from the guys at EMS that the 2012 version of their Z6000 has an updated motor that is silky smooth and brushless. It does away with hall effect sensors and gives smoother power delivery. I’d guess it would also provide longer battery life and better range. The upgraded motors will make it into the 2012 Zero line-up.

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Electric Motorsport Z6000 AKA Z6 Quality and Service Problems

November 22, 2011 1 comment

I new that I was taking a risk purchasing my scooter from a small local business that was importing from overseas. Still I felt better about purchasing from a local business that was at least doing final assembly in the United States and I felt a good connection with the CEO, TK. The fact that I could drive the scooter home from the shop rather than having it shipped was a big plus as well.

Unfortunately, while the scooter in many ways has been great, in others it’s been a bit of a headache. The biggest problem I’m running into now is interrmittant making it hard to diagnose. Sometimes, without warning, the motor simply fails to respond and I find myself without any power at all. At a minimum this is frustrating and inconvenient, at worst its downright dangerous. Sometimes I’ve riding along at 40mph with traffic on all sides, rapidly slowing isn’t comforting.

I’ve already brought my scooter in and EMS failed to find the cause of the problem. The problem hadn’t recurred for a while until the cooler and wetter weather of autumn arrived and now it can happen several times in a short ride.

I’ve also had some headaches when trying to change the brake light and turn signals. The assembly for the turn signals is poorly and cheaply designed. Pushing a new light into the socket caused the socket to sink into the body of the scooter. Ultimately, I needed to carefully hold the socket in place with needle nosed pliers while gently placing the replacement bulb into it. This was tedious and more of an art than a science. Also, unlike most scooters sold in the United States, the turn signals are not mounted on a stalk making them more visible but are flush with the rear of the scooter. I’m not sure if this is really DOT compliant but it’s definitely not as safe or easy to service.

The range of my scooter has deteriorated over the 18 months or so that I’ve been riding it and I have been considering spending the big bucks to upgrade to lithium ion (LiPo) batteries. It’s hard however to commit more funds to this with such more reliability. I’ve written to Todd to try to address this issue and if the problems can be addressed will go forward with the upgrade.

I’ll keep you all posted!

How can we get people out of their cars and onto Electric Two Wheel Vehicles?

October 11, 2011 Leave a comment

That is the question I spend a lot of my time pondering. It just makes sense. Why use a 2,000 to 6,000 lb vehicle to move a 100 to 250lb person? Our cars are designed to carry up to 5 passengers at highway speeds for long distances, in fact they are least efficient, and highest polluting in the first 5 miles of use. Compounding the problem, most trips are 5 miles long or less.

Cars are great when we need them. What about when we don’t? An electric scooter produces little emissions (only what is produced at the power plant to produce a very small amount of electricity). Electric bikes, (aka eBikes), and Electric Motorcycles similar. They are super convenient, easier to park, cheap to maintain and as fun as they are practical. I’ve personally carried up to 4 bags of groceries on my e-scooter using my large Givi Top Case along with the hook mounted in the front of the scooter below the handle bars.

Well, I’m asking for some help in figuring out the answer to this question and I’m doing it for my Capstone class in my MBA in Sustainable Business Management that I’m taking at Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. You can find the survey here. And I’d be grateful for your feedback!

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Riding my Electric Scooter in the Rain through Oakland

October 11, 2011 Leave a comment

We have been having some early rain this year, thanks in all likeliness to global climate change. Good for the trees and plants and our water supply which I believe is quite abundant these days. Not so good for folks like me who are getting around on two wheel vehicles!

I’ve been getting by with my rain paints, treated boots, waterproof gloves and water resistant motorcycle jacket. The roads are a bit slick but riding carefully and a bit slower has made it pretty reasonable. As the quote says, there is “No such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” Unfortunately I don’t know who to attribute that to.

It’s actually been easier to get around then I would have expected and I’ve stayed reasonable dry (when prepared). Still, I would do well to get one of those single piece rain jumpsuits that goes on over street clothes and some even have a collar that fits up in the back of the helmet to keep your neck dry.

Still when I ride through the rain, I can’t help but think of the Billy Joel sang in which he referred to being crazy exemplified by his willingness to “ride his motorcycle in the rain.”

As for the posts I’ve read about people afraid to ride their electric two wheel vehicles in the rain because of the potential for electrical problems — mine seems to work just fine. In my Native Z6000 all the components are weather protected and that must be making the difference.

All said, I’m very glad to have some sun today and will be heading out on a ride soon to run some errands and enjoy the fresh air!

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Cortech Summer Gloves Closeout

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Those of you who follow my blog know that I don’t post about deal very often and when I do it’s because it’s a great deal on motorcycle/scooter related clothing or equipment. I just purchased a pair of summer mesh/leather gloves that are so good that I ordered a spare pair! You can purchase the Tour master Cortech GX gloves at Motorcyclegear.

These are by far my favorite gloves ever. I found them true to size and they started slightly tight but thanks to the give of the leather (they are mostly mesh with a little leather) they gave just the right amount to be a perfect fit. Cortech GX Glove Photo

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