One of the growing trends seen all over the world is a downsizing shift in the size of vehicles used by business. All over the world, people are trying to reduce the use of, or eliminate the use of cars and trucks, and downsize into 2 and 3 wheel vehicles to lower their costs of operation. The Z
Electric Vehicle company of West Virginia, USA is riding that wave with its line of electric vehicles. www.zelectricvehicle.com
Many people have seen the rise in the use by food delivery company of bicycle, and then electric bicycle. But that is just a fraction of the market. Consider that ZEV Electric is producing its 140 mile range on a charge/80 + mph LRC model bike to compete with BMW in the European Police market. Compared to the BMW, the ZEV has twice the range for less cost. In many countries, such as Switzerland, Denmark, France, the Post Office has initiated electric 2 and 3 wheel vehicles evaluation programs.
Preferably, the buyers for the vehicle downsizing companies, Police, Post Office and delivery want electric vehicles over gas. But that preference is not just based on the idea of saving money on fuel, it is mainly for the radically less maintenance and associated costs, and the time associated with servicing vehicles, or even putting fuel in them. While many of the companies looking to go electric on two wheels are using 4 to 25 bikes, ZEV is engaged with companies with far more bikes that that. Some customers have up to 5,000 bikes that they use for commercial use. Think of the time it takes to keep those bikes fueled and running, tracking the gasoline, time out of service for overhaul, even regular oil changes and service taking the vehicles out of availability, etc. Switching to electric virtually stops all maintenance except every few years when the batteries are changed out. All of the vehicle “fueling” is back at the store where metered power tells the store chain exactly and quickly what their “fuel bill” is each month and all of that fuel goes in the vehicle it is supposed to go in. It is the value of the time saved, the predicable and seldom maintenance, and available for duty time that makes the electric so interesting to the business.
The problem with this idea of industry going to electric two wheelers was that until ZEV introduced its new models, no electric 2 or 3 wheel vehicles existed that could stand the duty cycles of the corporate owner/user. Some companies in the past had already experimented with electric bicycles and light gas scooters. But the bicycles are just really not built for the daily pounding, and are hard pressed to handle bulky or heavy loads. Some other companies have tried the use of just general motor scooters as used by the general public, but found they also were not up to the rigors of sustained corporate use. Most 2 wheel scooters or light motorcycles are built in the knowledge that the customer usually drives only on weekends and seldom drives more than 2000 miles a year. But many ZEV owners drive 75-100 miles a day, 2500 miles a week, 125,000 miles in a year.
ZEV is intent on delivering the new generation of electric motor bikes and scooters designed specifically for heavy duty use. In two wheel vehicles, with speeds to 80 mph, ranges to 140 miles on a charge, and the ability to carry 450 lbs or more with integrated carrying box, the new generation of vehicles is fast attracting the attention of business users and high mileage, long distance commuters.
What is defining these new vehicles are radically stronger chassis with big diameter frame tubes, heavy duty motor controllers, and in wheel “hub motors” that are the equivalent of “Big Block” truck delivery motors with big diameters for high torque and very high efficiency and long life to 100,000 miles. The in wheels “hub motors” are the ultimate in simplicity with zero moving parts in the motor and drive train except for the bearings in the wheels. Not one motor has ever failed in 10 years of operation of a ZEV bike. Surprisingly, all of these things add up to very little extra money on the price of a vehicle. Some of the toughest vehicles sell for less than some of the lighter duty “sportabout” bikes you think of students as driving.
Z Electric Vehicle’s stated goal is produce the toughest and most efficient bikes on the market for the high duty cycle and mileage user. At the top of the ability scale is the companies T-8500. Designed originally to compete for the Post Office and Courier delivery business and serve as a Police bike, the bike can run 80 mph and up to 140 miles on a charge. http://zelectricvehicle.com/18.html The rear seat flips up or comes off to carry big loads on a big flat load deck. A reverse gear helps riders in tight maneuvering or when the bike is heavily loaded. Some ranchers in Colorado have adopted this bike and do fence line patrol at high altitudes pulling a trailer as high altitude does not affect the electric. This bike seems to attract the interest mostly of courier, park rangers, and police, and longer range demand delivery across a city.
The ZEV 2700 was built from the start to be a hauler for local delivery and to be a low priced entry vehicle. http://zelectricvehicle.com/20.html This bike has 3 load carrying surfaces–a big flat platform for a floor able to hold bulky packages, a big flat back end built for boxes, and another mount for load carrying on the front (a basket is supplied mounted there on the standard bike). The rear seat flips up into a backrest to carry big cargo box or heavy loads. A line of various sizes of load carrying boxes give a flower/pizza/fast food/grocery store the ability to haul about anything. Platforms for really heavy and bulky objects fold down at the rear axle level to keep any heavy loads low to the ground and the bike easily managed. Designed with a speed governor that can be set to keep the bike under the speeds that avoid the requirement in some States for vehicles (and drivers) to be licensed as motorcycle (Moped Law) the package is gaining favor worldwide. At $2845 MSRP and with multi unit discounts to business purchasers, the unit is not more expensive than non electric bikes. While intended as a business unit, the bike has found an unexpected market for people owning motor homes and boats to carry with them on their trips. Then there are those people who want to park their car or do without one using the bikes hauling capacity as a car substitute.