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About The Southwest Portland Post. (Portland, Oregon) 2007-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 1, 2008)
The Southwest Portland Post • 11
(Continued from Page 10)
pooped (or sweaty) to pop.
Now a number of battery-powered
two-wheelers are coming on the market
that won’t get you your exercise but will
get you from point A to B and back with
minimal environmental impact.
Consumers can start greening up
their commutes on such vehicles for
as little as $1,500 plus about 25 cents a
day in electricity costs—not bad at all
when you consider that a new car costs
thousands of dollars more up front and
chugs mass quantities off expensive and
Many of us conjuring up images of
electric bikes and scooters may envi-
sion the fi nicky mopeds of the 70s and
80s, but today’s offerings are much
improved and quite diverse.
Those who want to go fast but stay
green should check out some of the
electric scooters made by Miami-based
EVTAMERICA. Each of the company’s
three models tops out at a maximum
speed of 45 miles per hour—respectable
even on the highway. “People want to
go at least 40 mph,” says the company’s
co-owner, Fernando Pruna. “Everything
built before could only do 25 or 30.”
Meanwhile, eGO of Somerville, Mas-
sachusetts makes electric bikes that
can speed along at 25 miles per hour
in “go fast” mode, but also have a “go
far” mode, which trades off speed for
distance (some 24 miles on a single
While eGO’s bikes may look diminu-
tive, they are known for their strength.
“Our bikes are powerful enough to tow
a car,” says Kevin Kazlauskas, the com-
pany’s operations manager. “These are
not toys, and customers aren’t treating
them like toys.”
Another option might be an electric
scooter made by Houston-based Ve-
loteq. These scooters only go 20 miles
per hour at top speed, but they can
cover up to 50 miles on a single charge,
which is more than enough distance to
get most commuters back and forth to
work, as long as they can avoid fast-
moving highways along the way.
A side benefi t of the speed limita-
tion on Veloteq’s vehicles is that they
are typically exempt from licensing,
registration and insurance regulations
in most jurisdictions—yet another way
to save money over those car drivers
still mired in their 20 th century car
Opting for one of these new scooters
or bikes over a car commute will take a
big bite out of your carbon footprint, but
the future promises even greener ver-
sions. The lead-acid batteries that most
models use today will soon be replaced
with greener and more effi cient variet-
ies, lithium ion and nickel zinc being
two of the more promising formats.
These new fangled batteries will
make the vehicles cost more, at least
initially, but they will also trim bike
weight signifi cantly and provide a lot
more distance per charge. And eGo
is working on a model with a small
solar array behind the seat to extend
the bike’s range once its electric charge
starts to run low.
Today's electric bikes and scooters are big improvements over the fi nicky mopeds of the
1970s and 80s. Consumers can start greening up their commutes on such vehicles for as
little as a $1,500 investment and about 25 cents a day in electricity costs. (Pictured: the
Veloteq Challenger RSV)
CONTACTS: EVTAMERICA, www.
cles.com; Veloteq, www.veloteq.com.
GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL
QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o
E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O.
Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit
it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/
thisweek/, or e-mail: earthtalk@emaga-
zine.com. Read past columns at: www.
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