What are the differences between the li-ion and lead acid battery versions of the scooters?
The li-ion version weighs 100 pounds less. This makes it quicker in hilly terrain. The li-ion battery also last longer during deep discharge conditions. The lead acid battery will last about 300 deep discharges, while the li-ion version will last 2000 deep discharges. .
The li-ion version does not have long term testing like the VRLA battery has. .
The li-ion battery will not degrade as fast when operated at higher temperatures. The max temperature when charging lead is 104, for li-ion it is 140.
For more generic battery information see:
What is required to register the scooter?
Laws vary by state. Typically you will need the manufacturer statement of origin (MS0) and bill of sale to be able to register.
If during registration you are asked how many cc's, indicate zero cc's. There is no engine with piston and no cubic centimeter displacement of the piston.
Alternatively cc's are used to indicate relative power of the scooter and you can make an approximation to the equivalent cc's . . If you are required to specify horsepower than horsepower = Watt * 0.00134 = 4.02 horsepower.
How long will the batteries last?
Both battery types, (li-ion and lead acid), will last significantly longer when they are not completely drained and recharged. Consult the battery specifications for more information.
The lead acid battery will last many more recharge cycles when only drained to 30% or less of capacity and not operated in high heat conditions. The battery must always be stored in a charged state. Leaving the battery in a discharged condition causes sulfation. .
The li-ion battery will tolerate more deep discharges than the lead-acid battery. The li-ion battery will last more than 2000 charge-discharge cycles when drained to 80% capacity. This is based on specification from the battery manufacturer. Unlike the lead-acid battery the li-ion battery does better in storage when stored at 50% charge. .
You will get the longest range on your scooter when new and as the batteries age, range will drop as well as top speed. .
As the batteries age, equalization may become an issue. You may need to take steps to insure the batteries are equalized. Consult batteryUniversity.com and vIsForVoltage.org for more information.
Is this vehicle safe?
There are no known safety issues, except what is obvious in driving a scooter versus a car. The vehicle is sold and used in various countries such as Australia. The li-ion version has undergone less testing. The li-ion version has a chemistry of LiFePO4, which is considered safer than the ones used in laptop batteries. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_iron_phosphate_battery for more information.
Maximum amperage while driving: The manufacturer is frequently tweaking the bike to improve performance and quality. What you get maybe different then what is written here. Current maximum amperage for VLRA is 80, for li-ion is 96.
Is a battery management system (BMS) required for li-ion?
The biggest issue with a string of batteries is equalization. When batteries in a string don't have the same characteristics problems occur such as cell reversal. This means the battery is working against the pack and can lead to failure of the entire pack.
A complete BMS has several advantages.
1) It charges each cell to its maximum potential .
2) It cuts off a cell during use if it drops below minimum voltage .
3) Informs the operator which battery(s) are dead or near death. .
Unfortunately current BMS solutions cost more than a li-ion battery pack. A less expensive solution is that you monitor the batteries occasionally yourself. A more sophisticated option is to purchase a battery monitoring system. . In summary: a BMS is very helpful but not an economical solution at this time. The solution proposed to pack equalization is self monitoring and operator replacement of faulty cells.
See "cell matching" at battery university for more information: http://www.batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-32.htm