Right, I’ve found out a little bit more about the EBretta, the Electric powered Lambretta straight out of Ho Chi Minh City (See my previous post) . It is a fully operational prototype that has been developed and tested, so it IS real world, real technology, and it actually works. Even more exciting than that, a Mk 2 production version is currently under development.
The power is supplied by a brushless 13″ motor which generates 3kW. This will generate a torque of 180 Nm, which translates to a top speed of over 60 kmph (roughly 40 mph). While this might, at first seem less than impressive it would be fine for around town and commuting, with the engine having enough torque to accelerate uphill and carry a ‘larger person’ – I think I might qualify for that last category!
The Mk1 Version has a total of 16 , Lithium Iron Phosphate battery cells. Lithium Iron Phosphate battery cells are lighter and hold more charge than traditional lead acid or silicone batteries, and are safer than lithium ion batteries. The batteries are protected by a top of the range controller unit and a Battery Management System that monitors battery levels and prevents over charging. The charge time is approx. 3 hours, and the run time, which will vary due to driving conditions, “easily exceeds” 40 km.
The figures above are all for the Mk1 EBretta, and, as I said, there is a Mk2 under development. The technology is moving fast in the world of electric vehicles, and the Mk 2 will use tech that wasn’t even around 12 months ago, including Sevcon digital displays and battery management systems that are built in to the batteries rather than separate units. Smaller, higher performance battery units are in the pipeline, although at the moment the cost of these is prohibitive, as the technologies mature this should come down.
They’re even looking at adding accessories that will charge your laptop, tablet or phone as you drive. I wonder what’s next… an iPad integrated into your toolbox door?
So, what’s the verdict?
I think the guys at Saigon Scooter Centre have given us a glimpse of the future. I expect building a modern, electric engine into a classic scooter frame has presented them with more than few issues, but the finished result looks amazing. Performance wise, this is never going to be a machine for speed merchants, or one to take on a long distance rally… But that’s not what it’s been built for. For a daily commuter, or a round town runabout this would be ideal. And with most of the running problems of a ‘traditional’ Lambretta coming down to fuel or electrics, it takes one of those items out of the equation. And I’ve got this far without even mentioning the fuel saving benefits… imagine getting home from work and just plugging your Lambretta* in for three hours. Never buy another litre of petrol or 2stroke oil again!
Would I have one? Hell yeah. Although I would probably have to fit an MP3 player and speakers to blast out the traditional Lambretta exhaust note, and carry a small aerosol of “eau de 2stroke” to spray into the air occasionally. I’d love to know what YOU think though… let me know in the comments (I’m afraid you have to register for a Posterous account, but hey, that’s FREE, and they don’t bother you with loads of emails… and you might even want to start your own blog!)
Look out for reviews and reports in the scooter press soon. If you’ve got any questions let me know and I’ll try and find out, or you can contact the Siagon Scooter Centre directly.
They’re taking orders now!
*SSC is marketing the EBretta as a “Lambretta replica” no doubt so there are no licensing issues with the owners of the Lambretta trademark.