The scooter market has been an interesting study over recent years. First we saw it skyrocket with reports of incredible year over year sales numbers. Then came the Great Recession and the numbers started to slide somewhat. Even what many consider a primary market for such vehicles, Europe’s scooter market witnessed a slight decline over the last decade or so. But, manufacturers know that they can continue to lure customers in with simple and reliable transportation which provides amazing fuel economy – penny-pinchers love the step-through concept too. Now Yamaha is introducing another level of efficiency to the powered two-wheeler market – the all-new, all-electric EC-03.
The 2011 EC-03 is designed for those who want to have a sweet inner city runabout with a zippy electric powerplant which also happens to be good to the environment. At only 123lbs (56Kg), it is nearly 30% lighter than a 50cc petrol-powered scooter, so it will be very maneuverable and easy to move around even when parked. The electric motor provides two selectable control modes, Standard and Power, which can be chosen at any point when needed. As is common on scooters, it’s all twist and go with a computer-controlled transmission. An advanced computing network – Yamaha Mutual Communication System (YMCS) - system keeps all on-board electronic system in contact with one another at all times. Adding to the functionality are many adjustable features including the seat height, seat-hip position, footrest and handlebars.
Yamaha’s own Yamaha Integrated Power Unit (YIPU) – placing the electric motor in the hub of the wheel - allowed engineers to keep the machine slim and trim. It also provides for incredibly quiet, clean and efficient transportation with performance enhanced as the drive unit is calibrated to provide maximum torque at low engine speeds. Pulling away from stoplights will impress those in four-wheeled cages and some motorcyclists as well.
Important concerns are, of course, range. Yamaha claims around 29 miles (46 Km) on a flat surface at around 19 mph (30 Km/h). Average distance in real-world conditions is somewhere near 19 miles (30 Km) in Standard mode and 12.5 miles (20 Km) in Power mode on a full charge. That’s not exactly a long distance, but it would be sufficient for most city dwellers. Remember, this is the first generation model and improvements in battery technology are moving radically forward nowadays.
Not to go without mention in this article is the style of the machine. The Yamaha designers did a good job putting a very European look to the EC-03; it appears modern and svelte. It’s a perfect mount for those obsessed with fashion, design, or just appreciative of quality work. Eco-conscious Mods everywhere will want one. The EC-03 does seem to have some room for more storage, but that would affect range. Perhaps Yamaha will offer a top-box or saddlebags as accessories? There is a hook under the front of the seat for holding things in place, but not much else.
This is yet another vehicle which is not yet scheduled to hit North American roads, but that may change at any point – after all, electric motorcycles and scooters have been relatively successful here since their introduction. At least we can contact the good people at Yamaha and ask them to send it this way!