Today I collected my Yamaha EC-03 electric moped from ESB Mototorcycles. We intend to use this solely as a satellite vehicle from the motorhome. I had told the dealer on Saturday that I would bring the motorhome along to use it to transport the bike home, but as it was such a lovely day I asked a friend to drop me off so I could ride it home. Unfortunately, they were not expecting that, and as I arrived at 10 am it was not fully charged, showing only 4 out of 5 bars on the battery indicator. Not an issue though, as home was only 5 miles away - and it wasn't, I covered 11 miles in total enjoying the ride home the long way round, and the indicator still showed 1 bar at the end of it. So - that aspect appears to be acceptable, as my weight also equates to the little bike's maximum total weight capability. I am pleased with that, as it was one of my main concerns. Yamaha use a petite Japanese girl in all their promotional videos.
As can be seen from the images, the bike has a very small physical size, and at only 56 kg, is very easy to lift in and out of a vehicle, or boat for that matter.
It is also much slimmer than the average petrol driven 50 cc scooter, so takes up much less space in storage.
There is a bag hook provided in front of the saddle, but I already own a piece of soft Oxford Luggage that will fit very nicely between the footrests. Margaret has now had her very first ride on any motorised two wheeler. She is able to drive this on her car license without L plates or any further training (other than the personal CBT training that I gave her). This is subject to the date you passed your car driving test in the UK. Those who passed theirs post the relevant date, (1998 I think - check on the uk.gov website), do require CBT and also to display L plates, as their license only acts as a provisional for a moped.
This is the combined Yamaha drive unit and motor. The Sanyo 48V 15ah lithium-ion battery is stored vertically below the seat. It has a claimed 8 year or 9000 re-charge lifespan. Being lithium-ion, the battery can be charged before all capacity has been used up without any "memory" issues that may reduce its capacity. The bike is also fitted with a safety cut-off that won't allow complete discharge of the battery, which would terminally damage it. Careful planning is therefore required to reduce the possibility of having to push the bike home!
Under the saddle we have a helmet attachment cord for when you want to leave the bike and shop without it hindering you. This is also where the charging cable is stored, with a standard domestic earthed 3-pin plug fitted for the UK model. This makes it easy and convenient to charge at home or at work, but bars you from using the public charging posts that are currently appearing on car parks all over the country. For example, to sign up and use the Greater Manchester Electric Vehicle Charging Scheme, (TFGM - EV), the standard domestic plug would need to be replaced by a type 2 plug which is their standardised connector.
There are two accessories available to the UK buyer - a rear carrier rack and a front basket. Both are expensive at around £164 each - so I won't be buying. Although it has to be remembered that this is still a low production volume item, which affects the costs of everything associated with it, including its own price.
Below is the information centre. The "ignition switch" is just below on the vertical stem. The LCD display provides all the information that may be required - what power mode is selected, battery level, speed, odometer and trip meter and all other warning symbols that might arise. The bike also has audible warning beeps, including one that continues when the bike is stationary but in "RUN" mode. As the key is turned on the bike goes into stand-by mode, with just the battery indicator and the word "PUSH" flashing on the right. Any of the three buttons can be used to place the bike in the RUN mode. In standard power mode the bike carried me at around 18 - 20 mph on my ride today. When POWER mode is selected, for an extra boost on inclines or in traffic, using button 1, speed rises to a maximum of 28 mph, but with a reduced range if used permanently. Being an electric vehicle it also has a "punchy" launch from standstill, something that its petrol powered counterparts are severely lacking in, particularly the restricted 4-strokes.
The bike has the usual motorcycle key steering lock, but also has a clever "PIN number" facility which can be set by the user to provide an extra layer of security, in the same way as a mobile 'phone, although anyone with a van could have it away quicker than you could say "STOP THIEF"! The lights are in operation permanently, and I have now considered replacing the bulbs with LED's, something I thought Yamaha might have considered, although having researched them, the 35 watt H4 fitting halogen headlight doesn't appear to have an equivalent LED that has type approval for use on roads - yet. Once at home I placed the bike on charge at mid-day, and the charger automatically cut off, fully charged at 4.30 pm. 6-7 hours is claimed as the charge time from completely flat.
The EC-03 is classed as a 50 cc petrol moped in the UK, so has to be insured and a motorcycle helmet has to be worn. The vehicle excise duty is free, and from the 1st October 2014, as with all vehicles, a paper tax disc will no longer be required. It is also exempt-able from the London Congestion Charge. As I described in my previous posting, depending on your own driving license circumstances, it could be driven without L plates or CBT if you hold the relevant full car license.
All in all, so far so good, and I believe it will suit our purposes well. Below is a French video of the bike in use. I chose this one as it has the best sequences of the bike in use around town.