Pros: See review
Cons: See review
As an early adopter of the Vectrix electric step-through motorcycle, here in Oakland, CA, I can report that this is a truly practical and surprisingly fun form of two-wheeled transport.
Since buying the Vectrix my car usage has dropped to about once a month. The bike really is that functional (storage galore, effortless parking) and dependable (a very stable ride in rain, hills, and on the highway for short distances). The Vectrix is billed as a "maxi-scooter" while I'd suggest its more of a "step-through motorcycle." It's got the general performance of a Suzuki Burgman 600 (except for range) and easily outpaces and outclasses small displacement scooters. I leave 250cc gas scooters in the dust every day (really).
The list below describes some of my central findings from six months riding a Vectrix as a real vehicle in the real world of Bay Area traffic.
> Bought the bike in August 2007. Have put in about 2800 miles so far with zero maintenance costs. Gas scooters are a constant maintenance drain in comparison.
> My electrical recharge cost over six months has been $35 instead of $500 comparable gas cost in my car. Yes, that's $35 vs $500. Electricity really is that much cheaper (and in California, cleaner).
> The integrated charging system is thoroughly dependable and relatively quick to charge. 2 hours in a standard 110V plug will get you an 80% charge. 3 hours will charge it completely. I carry around a heavy duty 15amp extension cord (fits in the front storage bin) making it easy to get opportunistic charges around the Bay Area.
> My distance per charge when driving at highway speeds (Oakland to SF and back) averages 30-32 miles. My distance per charge at slower local speeds, driving aggressively, is about 35 miles. My distance per charge at slower local speeds, driving for efficiency, is about 36-38 miles.
> Speed is the #1 factor that affects range. Greater than 50mph burns electrons much faster.
> Tire pressure is the #2 range factor. Make sure to keep them as tight as they're rated. If they're even a little soft your range will suffer markedly.
> Driving style is the #3 range factor, but it doesn't make that big a difference, surprisingly.
> Hills are the #4 range factor, but I've got to say that there is no hill anywhere in Oakland or SF that I haven't been able to accelerate up from a standstill. I'm talking crazy steep hills (>20%) on Lombard and in Tilden Park.
> I've received very prompt and efficient customer service from Vectrix corporate. They are clearly standing behind this innovative vehicle with regards to warranty and to providing feedback to customers.
> Yes, the cost of new technology is high (circa $11k). But CA is offering a $1500 cash rebate on the Vectrix and as of this writing more than a million of funding remains. Plus the savings from low electricity cost and low maintenance cost somewhat offsets the high initial price. Best of all, you can flip off the gas stations and their usurious $4 rates every time you whirr past. Ha Ha.
Finally, my girlfriend and various friends often ask for rides. This is unusual as I didn't get similar requests when riding gas bikes. The low noise and smooth handling of the Vectrix makes it pleasure to take on joy-rides, then you go home and recharge it for a cool 50 cents.