Electric Scooter Update (Or, the Truth About Battery Powered Vehicles)

Last year I purchased an electric scooter from R Martin Limited with the intention of cutting my fuel costs. Unfortunately, I did not ride the scooter much last year, except in my 9 mile commute to the office because it was not capable of anything more than a 20 mile trip without draining the batteries. First, the Bad

Friends and family did some troubleshooting on the unit, and we found a few issues. First off, the battery terminals were loose. This caused the scooter to spontaneously loose power, (big surprise), on bumpy roads. This was easily remedied, once the scooter was torn apart and we could get at the batteries, which was a chore.

The “luggage case” that was included at a modest additional charge (I forget, but I think it was around $50) was barely big enough for my helmet. It also broke very early on, and I ended up having to simply remove it and throw it away.

The worst thing about it, however, was that it never came close to the advertised range. Last year, they were saying it had a 40 mile range if you ran it at 50mph, or a 50 mile range if you ran it at 40mph. In the few months that I rode it, I never got anything even close to this. My mileage was more like half of the advertised range.

Now, the Good

So, last fall, hot on the heals of filing for divorce, I put the scooter up with a friend and didn’t really give it much thought over the winter. Last week, we dug it out and I am quite pleased to say that the scooter is running better than ever before. What has changed?

First off, my friends (my co-worker Scott McGrath, his brother Bill (president of LEDDynamics) and some of their other friends from the Tardhaus) tore the thing apart and put it back together again. The bad news here was that they found nothing wrong with it.

BUT… remember that last year at this time, I weighed 210#. Now I am a lean, mean 166#. So I shed about 20% of my cargo weight. Also, just before I left on this year’s first trip, the gang told me to “baby it,” and ride the machine really gently. I’ve been doing this in my car for the last few years in an attempt to increase my gas mileage, so the concept is nothing new.

The result? Nothing short of amazing. Instead of dropping to 50% charge in 10 miles, the thing is still at 75% full after a 19 mile trip. So far, I’ve been “babying” it (keeping it under 40mph) for the first half, and then opening it up for the second leg, doing 45-50mph for the rest of the way, and it still has more than half a charge remaining when I arrive.

All in all, I’m loving my scooter again, thanks to the gang at the Tardhaus!

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