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Old 08-14-2008, 05:50 PM
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Default First all-electric scooters charging Charlotte market

Amid a showroom of gas-powered racing bikes, four gleaming scooters rested incognito.

The rare animals, only four in the store, are powered completely by electricity and can be plugged in at home. The Vectrix, the only all-electric bike that's highway-legal, has entered the Charlotte scene and has been available in two area showrooms for only about two weeks.

It's the latest green offering from a quickly transforming vehicle marketplace, and a response to growing demand for high-mpg transportation that saves on gas and is easy on the environment.

Charge it for 2 1/2 hours, and it has a range of 35-55 miles with a top speed of 62 mph. In the Carolinas, the cost is less than a penny a mile, based on the average price of electricity. The shop sold its first one yesterday for $8,795.

Of course, you can't carry a family on it, and it won't hold mulitple bags of groceries. But it's perfect for the solitary commuter, said Mike Jeris, sales manager for Team Charlotte at 3004 Freedom Drive, one of two Charlotte-area shops that carries the bike. The other is Matthews Fun Machine at 11240 East Independence Blvd.

It looks like a Vespa-style scooter, but larger. It's twice as heavy as a traditional scooter because it has a large battery that runs along the bottom of the bike. That means it's not easily pushed around by passing trucks and other highway wind, Jeris said.

By Christopher D. Kirkpatrick
ckirkpatrick@charlotteobserver.com
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