Electric Motorsport Z6000 AKA Z6 Quality and Service Problems

I new that I was taking a risk purchasing my scooter from a small local business that was importing from overseas. Still I felt better about purchasing from a local business that was at least doing final assembly in the United States and I felt a good connection with the CEO, TK. The fact that I could drive the scooter home from the shop rather than having it shipped was a big plus as well.

Unfortunately, while the scooter in many ways has been great, in others it’s been a bit of a headache. The biggest problem I’m running into now is interrmittant making it hard to diagnose. Sometimes, without warning, the motor simply fails to respond and I find myself without any power at all. At a minimum this is frustrating and inconvenient, at worst its downright dangerous. Sometimes I’ve riding along at 40mph with traffic on all sides, rapidly slowing isn’t comforting.

I’ve already brought my scooter in and EMS failed to find the cause of the problem. The problem hadn’t recurred for a while until the cooler and wetter weather of autumn arrived and now it can happen several times in a short ride.

I’ve also had some headaches when trying to change the brake light and turn signals. The assembly for the turn signals is poorly and cheaply designed. Pushing a new light into the socket caused the socket to sink into the body of the scooter. Ultimately, I needed to carefully hold the socket in place with needle nosed pliers while gently placing the replacement bulb into it. This was tedious and more of an art than a science. Also, unlike most scooters sold in the United States, the turn signals are not mounted on a stalk making them more visible but are flush with the rear of the scooter. I’m not sure if this is really DOT compliant but it’s definitely not as safe or easy to service.

The range of my scooter has deteriorated over the 18 months or so that I’ve been riding it and I have been considering spending the big bucks to upgrade to lithium ion (LiPo) batteries. It’s hard however to commit more funds to this with such more reliability. I’ve written to Todd to try to address this issue and if the problems can be addressed will go forward with the upgrade.

I’ll keep you all posted!

Scooter Ready to Roll

I picked up my scooter a few days ago. Didn’t expect to miss it quite as much as I did. It’s all tuned up and fixed up. The fixing is in regard to cracking of the rack that I attached my big cargo case to. EMS was kind enough to find a way to attach it that would minimize the risk of the problem recurring. They also adjusted my chain, lubed it, and paintstakingly rebalanced my batteries. They also tuned the programming on my controller to make it accelerate more smoothly while extending the life and charge of my batteries. And, they tightened every connection and even adjusted my shocks.  The only charge was for the replacement rack part and that labor, the rest was covered under warranty.

It’s running well and I’m glad to have it back and am enjoying the smoother ride. Hopefully that’s the last real service for a while, at least until I upgrade to Li-Ion in a year or two!

Electric Motorsports Z6 (aka Z6000) Update

I’ve had my scooter for around half a year now and I figured it’s time to give an update. It’s been running well and has been a great way to get around. It’s costing me virtually nothing to run it and I find that I rarely use my car (something my wife is grateful for as now she gets to use it!) I have over 1,600 miles on the scooter with maintenance being limited to a bit of lubrication on the chain and a rare adjustment of the chain tension.

I finally brought it in for its 300 mile maintenance, just 1,300 miles overdue! The maintenance is rather straightforward just tightening up any loose nuts, bolts, and screws including the battery terminals. I was planning to pick it up today but the guys at EMS found that one battery was pretty far out of balance and they want to make sure they can balance them, or replace the one that is off, to avoid any performance or safety problems I might have on the road — very nice of them to be that thorough.

It’s funny, that now I dread having to use our far less convenient car in the meantime. I’ve been spoiled by the ease of getting around the area and of parking on my scooter. It makes a car seem clunky in comparison and having to buy gasoline seems so passe!

 

How I use my iPhone as a rock’n NAV system on my Native Scooter

Some have expressed interest in how i make these two marvels work well together; the iPhone and Native z6 Electric Scooter. The key for me is through of the use of a RAM mount system that securely mounts my iPhone to my scooter solidly. The iPhone simply clicks in and is held securely. The actual model I purchased is available at GPS City and looks like this:

http://www.gpscity.com/ram-mount-steel-u-bolt-motorcycle-mount-base-ram-b-231u.html

ram mount

My First Electric Vehicle an Electric Motorsport Native Z6

I’ve been thinking about purchasing a two-wheel electric vehicle for a couple of years. Now that I’ve gotten rid of our second car — and my wife generally gets use of our only car, the justification finally exists. Besides there is no greater way I can learn about the practicality of using a zero emission electric two wheeler day to day than by actually owning and using one. In my decision process I considered the Zapino which is sold by Zap Motors in Northern California but is actually just a private label of a scooter made by a large company in China and sold under many different brand names globally. Something about having something mass produced, not serviced locally and with a lot of known problems didn’t appeal to me. I also found it rather expensive for the fit, finish and performance. The fact that Zap hasn’t updated their website since their 2008 Zapino Demo model sale wasn’t confidence building either. Add to that fact that the only dealer local to me closed over a year ago sent me looking for something produced locally.  The current pricing of the Zapino is around $2600 so I wanted to find something cost competitive.

In doing some research on the popular VisforVoltage Forum I discovered that Electric MotorSport made some compelling scooters and was only a few miles from my home. EMS’ scooters are custom made in Thailand by Tiger Motors, who incidentally, makes frames for Kawasaki as well as their own branded motorcycles and scooters in Thailand. Final assembly in done in the United States and in addition to a reseller network, EMS provides service in their own shop in Oakland.

I was initially drawn to the Lithium Ion version of the Z6 which while very compelling, was beyond my budget at $3850. I also considered the Z1.5 which is more similar to the Zapino with it’s rear hub motor and underseat storage, but is a bit underpowered. That would have translated into long range, but a lot of trouble getting up the steep hills I often need to climb. Once I found out I could purchase a Z6 with lead acid batteries for a much more affordable price I set my eyes on it. I also saved a bit by buying a model they had on the “showroom” floor and ultimately purchased it for less than I could have found a Zapino.

The Z6 is a powerful machine compared to the Zapino. It’s sold as a 6000watt vehicle, but actually peaks at over 8,000watts. The eTek motor that it includes is the same as comes standard on the powerful GPRS motorcycle, though it is driven at a lower voltage. EMS configured the Z6 at 80% power, as 100% would result in the rider doing unintentional wheelies and is really more power than is safe in a vehicle of this kind. That said 80% of the max is still a lot of power. My Z6 tears up the steepest of hills without hesitation. It’s rated for up to 25 miles of range but that depends on how it is ridden. Upgrading to Lithium Ion in the future would effectively double the range. A tempting but expensive option.