Peugeot Returns to Electric Scooters

December 15, 2009
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Peugeot plans a return to the electric scooter market by 2011 with its E-Vivacity scooter. While green rides are all the rage the past few years, the latest planned foray into electric scooter production is actually the second for the French manufacturer, as it made the first mass-produced electric scoot with its very own Scoot’elec that launched way back in 1996.
2011 Peugeot E-Vivacity scooter
The Peugeot E-Vivacity electic scooter is slated for 2011 production.

As expected, the technology for an electric-based vehicle has improved over the past decade. Where Peugeot’s old design sourced nickel-cadmium batteries, the new E-Vivacity gets juice from lithium-ion cobalt units. Unlike some of the latest electric concepts, the motor is not mounted directly to the rear wheel hub. Instead the power is transmitted to the rear wheel via an enclosed belt drive. Like many electric designs, the E-Vivacity can recharge through regenerative braking. The new scooter also features a reverse mode at lower speeds.

The electric drive system promises power akin to a 50cc gas-powered scoot – with the three fellow Vivacity scooters in the current Peugeot lineup all 50cc ICE designs. Claimed range is between 80-100 km (50-60 miles), that’s more than double the 40 km limit (25 miles) on the original Scoot’elec, with a very modest 45 km/h top speed (28 mph).

Peugeot E-Vivacity scooter
The Peugeot E-Vivacity scooter uses a notched belt transmission
with the lithium-ion cobalt batteries poweing the motor.
Peugeot E-Vivacity scooter

The high-density batteries still allow for underseat storage, a full 35 liters of space. The battery pack stows under the storage space, just behind the rider’s feet. A standard European 230 V plug recharges the units via a four-hour cycle, the first two hours refilling 80% of the battery power while the final two hours work with the battery management system (BMS) to fine-tune the power levels in the system. The BMS control is promised to extend battery life and energy output, with the batteries expected to last at least 1000 complete charging cycles without ill effect.

The remainder of the E-Vivacity scooter looks quite conventional: Steel cradle frame, small fork and rear shock for suspension, dual disc (200mm front and 190mm rear) brakes and 12-inch wheels.

Clearly the low top speed makes Peugeot’s new ride a specialized urban commuter, but a very cheap one to operate. Peugeot claims energy costs for a traditional gas-powered scooter of four Euros per 100 km, with the E-Vivacity sucking up a piddly tenth of that amount. Considering the average annual mileage for a 50cc scooter is 4000 kms (2500 miles), again Peugeot claims here, the E-Vivacity would tally a miniscule 16 Euro “fuel” cost. Crossing the Atlantic that translates, give or take, to about $23 for a year. All without direct CO2 emissions.

No final price is mentioned in the press release from Peugeot, but the bane of electric models thus far hasn’t been operating costs, but the higher comparative costs up front. The French firm hints at one possible solution to this problem by leasing the E-Vivacity batteries with a monthly rental fee.

Peugeot E-Vivacity Scooter Specs

Peugeot Vivacity Scooter
Peugeot Vivacity scooters, transporting attractive Europeans for years now, now has an electric-powered kin.

Engine: Air-cooled, brushless synchronous electric motor with permanent magnets
Displacement: Equivalent 50cc
Batteries: Lithium-Ion Cobalt
Charging Time: Four hours
Max. power: 5.4 horsepower (claimed)
Clutch: Direct drive electric motor
Transmission: Notched belt
Top Speed: 45km/h (28 mph)
Frame: Steel double cradle
Front suspension: 32mm telescopic fork
Rear suspension: Adjustable single shock absorber
Front brake: 200mm disc
Rear brake: 190mm disc
Front/Rear Tires: 120/70 – 12
Seat height: 30.9 in
Dry weight: 254 lbs

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