Vectrix motorbike is the first electric vehicle for Australian
This month we are very pleased to feature the story on the
Vectrix battery-powered motorbike. While most people will probably be surprised
at this turn of events, this is the first mass-produced electric ADR-compliant
vehicle to be sold in Australia. No doubt it will be the subject of considerable
debate about its merits. Does it is have enough power, range and so on?
Ultimately, these questions will be answered by its commercial
success or otherwise but we think it is a very good pointer to the technology
which will be featured in future electric cars. It also demonstrates that the
technology does not have to be really exotic. It uses NiMH batteries and its
motor control and battery-monitoring technology is nothing really special.
Similar technology has been available for at least 10 years.
Of course, we would have to admit that producing an electric
motorbike is a much easier challenge than producing an electric car. For
example, a motorbike does not need airconditioning or a host of other
power-eating devices such as power steering and braking. Nor does a motorbike
need to meet today’s stringent standards for crash safety. However, today’s
hybrid electric vehicles do meet all those requirements and it should not be an
insurmountable challenge for a pure electric vehicle to do the same.
Ultimately, it will be a compromise between overall vehicle
weight and overall range. The indications are that this compromise can be quite
satisfactory, if you consider the Tesla Roadster now being delivered to
customers in the USA. While this is an all-out performance vehicle, one can see
how its technology could be satisfactorily adapted to a more mundane vehicle
intended to carry four or more passengers and their luggage with reasonable
performance and range.
Enersonic Power Saver does not work
On a less positive note, we also have a debunking review of the
Enersonic Power Saver in this issue. We are really concerned that such products
continue to appear. They appeal to people’s concerns about climate change,
global warming and their wish to do something positive, however small it might
The big problem is that most people simply do not have any
concept of how electricity is generated and how various appliances actually work
and consume electric energy. If a few more people in the corridors of power, for
example, realised how little power is consumed by ordinary incandescent lamps in
the home relative to total electric power consumption, there would never have
been any move to ban them. Compact fluorescent lamps are more efficient but
their wholesale adoption will have very little effect on total power consumption
in most homes. Those householders who have had their incandescents changed to
CFLs should already be aware of this, since their energy bills will have hardly
changed, if at all.
And if people had this knowledge about electricity, the
ridiculous posturing about the recent Earth Hour would have had even less
significance – it was a meaningless gesture which fortunately was ignored by the
majority of people.