Z Electric Vehicle (ZEV) has begun deliveries on its new ZEV5000 – a high performance electric motor scooter for the commuter rider designed around significant advances in NON exotic, lead based battery.
The launch of the 5000 LA might seem a bit in conflict with the ZEV image of high performance. ZEV is mostly known for its high tech, 100 mile (160 km) range / 75 – 80 mph (120 – 130 km/h) speed lithium battery powered bikes.
The vast majority of the public needs a vehicle to commute to work less than 20 miles. The achieved goal of the new 5000 LA for ZEV engineers was to keep the speed up to over 62 mph (100 km/h) while exceeding that general public need with a range of 50 miles (80 km) in open roads, and 25 miles (40 km) in heavy traffic while reducing the weight of the vehicle and its cost. With the world economy not exactly booming, the intent was to try to create the maximum value product for the market and to drive down the sale price.
The ZEV5000 uses a 72 volt nominal (84 volt peak) system with a capacity of 3.36 kWh. The cost of this is $600 compared to $1750 for a ZEV equivalent lithium system (or $5000 in some brands of electric bike). The BMS system for the lithium battery is also not needed for the lead battery and assembly times fall with the easier installation further reducing costs. As these cost savings are always multiplied by dealer margins, the savings are significant when not one bit of performance is lost. The $600 cost of a full battery pack is also a factor when the time comes for a customer to eventually replace their battery.
The primary market target was the 4000 watt lithium motor scooters on the market around the world. ZEV wanted more range, more speed, and a lower price compared to the competition. This design effort was made to dovetail with an entire model line chassis redesign to create a modular chassis system where all of the variants used simple bolt on battery boxes to adjust for capacity and power. This chassis system change in term was done to eliminate multiple certification efforts such that only one test of the heaviest and fastest variant could be tested by the country government testing body, and the lighter/slower variants would fall under the first bike test results.
This again cut vehicle costs so that the new bike could be offered at the same $4,545 MSRP USD price as its three year old predecessor.
At 40 Ah/battery, the new lead batteries are the equal Ah to the competitions lithium battery but at a heavier weight. The decision was made to just use more lead battery than the count of lithium battery that the competitors used for their lithium bikes. The results using the new high capacity lead battery was a 3.36 kWh capacity bike vs the competitions lithium 2.4 kWh. The extra battery raised the ZEV speed15% over its lithium competitor with a 37% range advantage, and only a 31 lb weight disadvantage, while enabling lowering of the price under all similar performance comparisons. By lowering the battery box slightly, the balance of the lead battery bike was made to equal the lighter lithium bike.
The lead battery offers extreme recycle ability for the greenest options. Lead batteries are constantly recycled and the new battery can go right into existing recycle programs. Lead battery systems also seem to have appeal to riders/owners who maintain their own bikes. Without the BMS system of a lithium bike, the lead battery bike is a quick and easy change out when the time comes for even a novice mechanic.
The new 5000 model shares the newest and latest ZEV hub motor design with other vehicles in the company line up. With the ability to take continuous power to 8,000 watts and launch power to 16,000 watts, the motor contributes heavily toward the range and efficiency of the new 5000 as does the 3 speed “electronic transmission” controller used by ZEV.[source: Z Electric Vehicle]