To take a small car would not only require a tow bar to be fitted, but would also require a small trailer, as using A-frames has been up for review by the all powerful EU recently, and they have already, or are soon to be banned from use to tow cars behind motorhomes, or any vehicle for that matter due to the issues surrounding the provision of braking. A trailer would also bring with it further driving restrictions. Read more on the subject here: Towing with your motorhome.
I then looked at motor scooters to take with us within the large "garage" at the rear of our Rapido 963f A Class motorhome. This also revealed other considerations, which I have discussed in previous posts, not only in size and weight restrictions, but also in use of the main vehicle itself. My choice was narrowed down to buying a Pulse Scout 49 - a small 49 cc 4-stroke petrol moped of Chinese manufacture, which measured up both in physical size and weight, or the newly launched Yamaha EC-03 electric scooter, (September 2012 in the UK). Both have their pros and cons, but I have now made my decision.
The Pulse has no range restrictions, and, at a push, could carry both of us to wherever we wanted to travel. It's price is also very competitive, at £899 OTR new, but is of Chinese manufacture, which could bring with it some dubious build quality issues, no matter how many improvements have been made in recent years. There was one in the showroom we visited today, and after taking all things into consideration, including it's true measurements, of size and weight, we discounted it as just too bulky to be easily manageable in and out of the motorhome locker apart from everything else.
This is the UK Pulse Motorcycles website: http://www.pulsemoto.co.uk/BT49QT-9.php
The Yamaha on the other hand is this company's first entry into the world of commercially viable electric scooters. The technology, as far as I can see, hasn't yet reached the required level. To be of real use they first have to be capable of a consistent speed of 30 mph with a range of say 100 miles. Although the little EC-03 has a claimed range of up to 20 miles, that obviously depends on what power setting is used, the terrain, ambient temperature, and weight of the rider. According to initial reviews a more realistic range is between 12-15 miles with a 15 stone rider as opposed to the 9 stone "test dummy", and that itself is dependent on using the lower power setting with its top speed of only 20 mph. It's UK launch "list price" was also high at £2599, although the company have recently been offering an £800 cash back scheme, which possibly indicates slow sales.
Having said that, we intend it to only replace a pedal bike, its build quality, being from Yamaha is first class, and the one I have bought is a "demo" from 2013, with only 20 miles on the clock, at a very much reduced £1200 price tag, which I managed to reduce by a further £100. Its physical size and weight is also much less than the Pulse at only 56 kg, although I do have a suspicion that they were glad to see it go! I am happy enough to give it a try having assessed how we want to use it. As with all electric vehicles that are presently available, if you have measured their limitations against intended use, then hopefully there will be no disappointments.
This is a launch review for the Yamaha EC-03: 2012 Yamaha EC-03 Review. and for those who want a more technical overview, here is the Yamaha pre-launch press release: Yamaha EC-03 launch press release.
Time will tell whether I made the right decision or not, and I will of course post my findings here.
Both these bikes are classed as mopeds in the UK, and as such bring with them complicated driving license restrictions. However, if you hold a full car driver's license, and passed your driving test before 1st February 2001, you can drive a moped without L plates or having taken Compulsory Basic Training, (CBT), although I would always recommend at least doing that for safety reasons.
All you need to know about UK motorcycle driving licenses can be found here: Riding a motorcycle or moped in the UK.
I have held a full motorcycle license and have consistently owned motorcycles from being sixteen until January 2013 when I gave up my 2008 Suzuki 1200 cc to my son, my previous bike to that being a Yamaha R1. This will be a totally different experience!