The ZEV5000, an electric scooter from Z Electric Vehicles in Westover W. V. (www.zelectricvehicle.com), uses a lead-based battery to give it a top speed of 62 mph, and rang of 50 miles on open roads and a 25-mile range in heavy city traffic. Compared to bikes powered by lithium batteries , the ZEV5000 gets 40% more range and almost a 20% higher top speed.
The lead battery is nothing like a car battery. It is a lead-caustic battery rather than lead-acid, with a sodium silicate liquid serving as the electrolyte. This eliminates sulphating on the lead plates, a major factor in limiting the charging and life of lead-acid batteries. The new battery also recharges quicker and can survive at least 1,500 charging/recharging cycles. Development efforts let ZEV increase the capacity (rated in kwh) of their new battery by 11.2% over the last year. This means the current battery can be the same size and capacity as a lithium-ion cell.
The scooter’s 40 A-hr 72-V battery with a capacity of 3.36 kwh costs about $600, compared to $1,750 for an equivalent lithium battery. Another advantage of the battery is that is recyclable and fits into the current programs to recycle lead batteries.
The ZEV5000, which costs about $4550, uses a DC permanent magnet hub motor mounted on the rear wheel. A motor controller gives the scooter a three-speed transmission.