There have been a few electric motorcycles released in the market in recent times, like the Zero DS and Brammo Enertia, but the 2011 Vectrix VX sticks out as an electric scooter rather than a motorcycle. Available in three models, the VX is designed for zooming around the city as an alternative to a regular car. The VX-2 is at the lowest end, offering a top speed of just 30 miles per hour. The VX-1 seems to be a better pick, offering a performance equal to most other scooters and still looking like one, making it easier to ride. It has scooter-like hand-operated brakes, lots of storage space under the seat, and stylish looks. Unlike other electric motorcycles in the market today, the 2011 Vectrix VX actually looks like a regular scooter. A closer inspection shows signs that it is not a gas-powered motorcycle, including the lack of tailpipe and a hub-mounted electric motor poking out instead of a standard chain and shaft arrangement. The easy step-through frame of the scooter makes entry and exit really easy, but the 515-pound weight makes it difficult to take it on or off the stand. The weight is largely due to the Nickel Metal Hydride battery, but the VX-1 Li and Li+ get Lithium-ion batteries that lower the weight by 60-90 pounds.
The 2011 Vectrix VX is a great example of how a motorcycle can have a small carbon footprint and still deliver a performance. It has a maximum speed of around 68 miles per hour, and acceleration is more than acceptable for city trips. Unlike other electric motorcycles in the market today, the VX comes with a very innovative regenerative braking system. When the throttle is opened, the scooter moves ahead as usual. When the throttle is twisted further back, the motor begins to recapture the energy into the 3.7 kilowatt-hour battery pack. It can be surprising to see the regenerative braking at work for the first time, but after sometime the rider should get used to it. In fact, it becomes so easy to use this braking system that the Brembo disc brakes are pretty much kept as a secondary option. These brakes are excellent too, bringing the scooter to a dead stop within seconds. In fact, under emergency braking the scooter combines both braking systems to bring it to a halt, which further improves braking power. However, it should be noted that the rear wheel tends to lock up easily while emergency braking.
The size and weight of the 2011 Vectrix VX makes it feel like a large motorcycle on the road. It requires more space on the road than other scooters would, but the weight adds to a smooth and comfortable ride. The regenerative braking of the scooter plays a role once again in the handling characteristics. It helps the rider prepare for corners without requiring friction brakes, and the low center of gravity makes it easier for the scooter to lean into a corner. Moreover, the laid-back riding style of the scooter makes the steering feel lighter than expected, which makes handling a lot easier. However, all this power and handling comes at a rather hefty price tag that comes close to the price powerful sports bikes.