Dispatches from OpenWorld: The Vectrix Scooter, in Living Color

This is the third post in TreeHugger's coverage of Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. Click here for the other entries, and stay tuned for more!

TreeHugger has had its eye on the Vectrix 100% electric scooter for a long time, since we first spied it back in 2005 all the way until we had proof that it really existed, and really worked, too. So, while seeing one here at OpenWorld might not be a big shock to the regular TreeHugger reader, it's still important: to see an innovative product come to market from start to finish; to see that green tech can be sexy and cool; to see a quick glimpse at the future of urban transportation technology and know that it's just the tip of the iceberg.

For anyone uninitiated, here are the vital details: 100% electric -- that means all battery power, all the time -- with Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries that gets you up to 68 miles per charge and tops out at 62 miles per hour. It accelerates 0 - 50 in 6.8 seconds, and when the battery pack is spent, recharges on a standard 110V plug in about 2 hours. And, now that it's really here, we can verify that it does really work.

Of course, actual numbers and tech stats will vary with each user, how its driven, where it's driven, etc., but the simple fact that it exists and is now for sale in California is enough for most folks here. Its design is no accident: it's meant to look like a true crotch rocket, and perform similarly to one, too, and most people are surprised to learn what it'll do on fossil-fuel-free electric power. We overheard several people react with surprise, saying things like "Wow, 62 miles per hour, huh?" and "2 hours? It recharges that fast?" (To be clear, the Vectrix website says 2 hours will get you an 80% charge.)

Green tech definitely has the power to impress, especially with something as "normal" -- as in, stuff we use every day -- as a commuter bike. It's not built to be a road trip machine, for sure, but looks pretty tough to beat for the normal commuter who wants to put a little pep in their step on the way to work, or around town. And, as we mentioned, perhaps the biggest story here is that they simply exist, and anyone here in California (as well as a few other states), TreeHugger or not, can go out and buy one today. It's also worth nothing that if you've got the need for speed and a motorcycle license, you can strap on and take the future for a test drive; hit up your local dealership for details. ::Vectrix and ::OpenWorld

Tags: Electronics | San Francisco | Technology


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