Electric scooters boasting respectable commuting performance have been popular in the East for years. Well, now that the Wispa 3 000 has hit our shores, green-thinking South Africans fed up paying through their teeth for fossil fuels and vehicle maintenance costs can start lowering their carbon footprints too.
I stumbled upon the Wispa 3 000 (not to be confused with that much respected, established brand we all know so well) completely by accident. The other day, while taking a break from my desk and soaking up some sunshine outside the PM office I noticed a parked scooter that, although looking pretty conventional, somehow didn’t seem quite right, so I ambled over to take a better look.
On closer inspection I noticed no exhaust, a hub motor on the rear wheel and a battery icon with a few LEDs on its dashboard instead of a fuel gauge – so I hung around for its rider to return. Turns out it was being tested by a relative of Stuart Elliot from Melex Electrovehicles. Although the company has been supplying electric vehicles for various applications for a while now, this scooter is their first foray into the eco-commuting market.
Grant Healy, Elliot’s colleague and the man responsible for the company’s eco-commuting division has been commuting to work daily on his Wispa for the past year (watch the video to catch him in action as he hits the road) and has experienced no problems to date. Say’ Healy “Considering that the main components consist of a 3 000 W brushless DC hub motor, controller and battery pack, there’s really not much that can go wrong.”
In fact, the only items that require any servicing at all are the tyres and the two hydraulic disc brakes. Presently, a deep-cycle lead acid battery pack is used (Healy reckons it should last for three years) with a recharge time of between six to eight hours – giving the scooter a top speed of 70 km/h and a range of up to 60 km on a charge. A lithium-ion battery pack with a much longer life expectancy and significantly reduced recharge times is expected to arrive next month. This new battery pack will also increase the scooter’s range to about 100 km per charge as well as up its top speed to about 80 km/h.
Fully road legal and SABS approved, the Wispa 3 000 has been registered as an L3 “motorbike”, so you’ll be able to secure finance for it. The version with lead acid batteries costs R16 500, and the Lithium ion variant costs R25 000. Contact Melex Electrovehicles on 0861 113 968.
Watch the video to catch Grant Healy in action as he hits the road… |click here|