Monthly archives: August 2020


Guest post – Vectrix Motorbike like Space Station – needed swap of NiMh batteries for Li-ion (Part 2)

By John Doyle with Eamon Stack and Barry McMahon – August 8th, 2020

I’m John Doyle. The beginning of my Vectrix story goes like this:
I returned to motorcycling in April 2010 (after a 30 year hiatus) when I saw an Irish Times article on a new motor scooter, the Vectrix VX-1. I went on to purchase the ex-demo bike I had used for my demo ride.

After 3.5 years of ownership, the battery temperature sensor circuit failed having been exposed to water after driving through a flooded road. In turn, this prevented the NiMh battery pack from charging and it died. This resulted in a temporary halt to my EV dream.

John discusses Vectrix upgrade with Kevin McDonald

Early in 2014, I noticed a Vectrix parked on Amiens Street, Dublin. Intrigued, as these bikes are a rarity, I waited to meet the owner who turned out to be Eamon Stack. After a chat we exchanged contact details. It was the beginning of an enduring friendship and meeting of minds in the world of electric motorcycles and cars. It was also the start of putting my Vectrix back on the road. In March 2014, with Eamon’s help, we sourced 40ah CALB LiFeP04 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) cells from Anne Klopenberg in The Netherlands (New Electric) and a BMS kit from Matt Casey in Perth, Australia. (Ireland, The Netherlands, Australia, Poland – the EV community is global). We put my Vectrix back on the road with I creased range.

Eamon and myself are now part of a Vectrix community of 5 EV owners with Vectrix bikes we have successfully converted from NIMH to LiFeP04 and now to Leaf cells.

The Vectrix VX-1 was designed around the millennium and launched in 2006. It is a maxi- scooter similar to the Honda Silverwing or Yamaha XMax and many similar bikes very commonly used by European commuters. The Vectrix, unlike many Asian small electric scooters, was a high-spec bike using quality bike parts like Brammo brakes, alloy frame by Lockheed martin aerospace and Italian forks. Its brushless motor gave 24 BHP of torque (equivalent to 350cc ICE bike) and its regen braking, by reversing the throttle, was revolutionary. Even Eddie Jordan had a Vectrix!

John removes modules from Leaf battery pack

The Achilles heel of the bike was the battery pack – it was designed too early for the Lithium battery revolution and relied on a battery chemistry that was great for Duracell bunnies but inadequate for Vectrix’ big motor. After a rumoured $100m investment, Vectrix went bankrupt, twice and there inventory was purchased by Vectrixparts.com in Poland set up by some emplyees from the original manufacturing plant.

While our early Vectrix conversions were a success, the real breakthrough for Vectrix enthusiasts came when a Nissan Leaf was kindly totalled by its owner. Eighteen modules of a Leaf pack, entirely by coincidence, fit snuggly into the Vectrix battery case and have the right total voltage for the motor. Our latest project has been delivered by Barry McMahon using cells from the battery pack of a Gen2 40kwh Leaf. The BMS for the Leaf modules is designed by Vectrixparts in Poland and the result is a bike with I creased power and range of 160km. This is ​60% better than the original design. Barry and Eamon now drive these beefed-up maxi scooters. Our friend Sean O’Callaghan is currently rebuilding a bike for his friend and plans to put Eamon’s old bike back on the road later in the year.

Our EV community has learned the skills to upgrade the battery of any EV. The two challenges for reliable upgrade: to source affordable Lithium cells and for someone in our worldwide EV community to develop a upgrade kit. As Sean, Eamon and Barry have Gen 1 Leaf EVs, they are keen to upgrade their Leafs. Please read our other article on “Leaf – how to quadruple your range”.

Vectrix with Leaf modules and BMS

Keeping EVs on the road, for as long as possible, is an important aspect to living a more sustainable lifestyle. EVs can outlast ICE vehicles threefold. While the early vehicles suffered from underdeveloped or short-range battery packs, this need not be a fait-accompli with no or excessively expensive options. It is important that the EV community demonstrate the reality that we can upgrade older EV to give them a fully and happy long life.

As we are all also EV car drivers, we share the delights of the EV community with the increased range of new and used EV cars for the public. However, we note that unlike the automaker sector, the motorbike sector has been very slow to design EVs. The only maxi-scooter alternative to the Vectrix is the BMW C-Evolution (BMW’s only e-bike to date). In the mainstream motorbike market, Harley-Davidson have the Livewire and Zero, the Tesla of motorbikes, have a good range of powerful bikes at different levels. Our concerns is that the price premium of EV motorbikes is 50% over their ICE equivalents and there is no Government grant to soften the financial hit.

Four upgraded Vectrix maxi-scooters with Kevin

We invite anyone interested to campaign for the introduction of a €3k EV grant for motorcycles, equivalent to the grant available in UK and most EU countries.


New on the market – Peugeot e-2008

By Guillaume Séguin – 7th August 2020

After the e-208 (and the 3008 PHEV as well as the 508 PHEV), Peugeot keeps developing its plug-in range this year with the much anticipated e-2008.

Just like for the e-208, the e-2008 is a derivative from the ICE version, with the same 136hp motor, 50kWh battery, and a logically slightly lower WLTP range (310km vs 345km) as its smaller sister. And exactly like the e-208 it has only a very few aesthetic changes, such as the body colored grill and the dichroic badging. It goes from 0 to 100kph in just 8.1 seconds, and can charge on DC at speeds of up to 100kW, but just 7kW on AC (11kW tri-phase is a €390 option).

e-2008 GT Line

The great thing about the e-2008, is that it is (again, just like the e-208) not just an expensive trim, limiting is popularity, but a range of 4 versions : 4 trims, just like the ICE version, from the frugal Active to the sporty GT.

The e-2008 Active offers already a great basic kit, with climate control, alloy wheels called “Elborn” (yes that’s the name of a Seat EV – still better than Mini SE’s “Corona” wheels), leather steering wheel, LED headlights, 4 USB sockets, rear parking sensor with 180° Camera (that’s front and back), 7 inch central screen with Android Auto and Apple Carplay.

e-2008 Active

The Allure adds larger 17 inch wheels, the fancy 3D i-Cockpit, rear privacy windows, front parking sensors and other features. The GT Line has a larger 10′ infotainment system with navigation, black roof, more powerful LED headlights with the claws design, a frameless electrochrome rear view mirror and the GT adds handsfree access, Adaptive cruise control with lane assist, 18 inch wheels, smartphone induction charging and Alcantara seating.

GT Line and GT version have the claws signature

If the range is not best in class, the price is very reasonable for a family SUV. At € 38,135 in its top trim, it is still cheaper than the Kia e-Niro (€39,495) and the Active version is just €2,000 more expensive than the base Leaf (SV 40kWh) which has a similar kit but a bit less range, and slower charging capabilities. Find out more about the e-2008 on www.peugeot.ie


Peugeot e-2008 Active – €31,845
Peugeot e-2008 Allure – €33,785
Peugeot e-2008 GT Line – €36,315
Peugeot e-2008 GT – €38,135

Prices include the battery, VRT relief, SEAI grant and exclude metallic paint and delivery charges


Irish PHEV Sales – July 2020

By Guillaume Séguin – August 5th, 2020

This is a record-breaking month for new PHEV sales in Ireland, with 751 new registrations recorded, and 3.5% market share, almost as many as BEV sales.

Peugeot 508

This month, 30 different PHEVs were registered, a record number. But on that, there were no less than 6 new PHEVs entering the market ! 37 BMW X1, 15 Audi Q5, 8 Peugeot 508, 3 Audi A6, 2 Ford Transit Passenger and 1 VW Passat CC.

Audi A6


The leader this month is the Ford Kuga PHEV helped by a price very similar to the diesel version and many other PHEVs are very competitive in regards to their diesel equivalent, helping further sales to buyers who did not necessarily thought about getting a car with a plug !

Ford Transit Custom

Used imports are also growing rapidly with 384 units registered (+110%). The Mitsubishi Outlander is back in the lead.


Irish BEV Sales – July 2020

By Guillaume Séguin – August 4th, 2020

With a new semester, and new registration period (202) come surprises in EV Sales. The BEV market is now up 5% to 771 registrations in July in a market down 14%, which means once again, a growing market share of 3.53% (up from 2.97% in July 2019) for 100% Electric cars.

Surprisingly, the Renault Zoé is at the top of the charts in Ireland in July with 112 sales, bringing the small French car up to the 6th position so far this year. The Kia E-Niro is also doing pretty well with 109 units up 114% over last year. The Leaf comes 3rd and cements its year-to-date lead over the Kona down 57% this month.

Renault Zoé, on top in July

Down in the charts, we can note no less than 14 Porsche Taycan registered. Could the German saloon beat the Tesla Model S in 2020 ?

Finally, once again we have a brand new arrival this month : The Peugeot e-2008 family SUV, with its 50kWh battery pack, giving a good alternative to the Kia e-Niro or Nissan Leaf.

Peugeot e-2008

Used Imports are also finally into the greenzone, with sales up 16%, Year-to-date tally is at -40%.


9 reasons that have stopped electric cars from dominating the car market! Until now!

By Peter Bracken – 3rd August 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has made electric cars “more inevitable,” said Volkswagen Group of America senior VP of strategy Reinhard Fischer in an inhouse interview.

“The dramatic decrease in exhaust emissions during the early days of the pandemic, when most countries enforced strict stay-at-home orders, also showed the potential environmental benefit of electric cars. Municipalities will want to “hold on” to that cleaner air by enacting stricter emissions rules, Fischer said.”

There is a change coming so why has mass adoption of EV’s not happened yet?

So here are 9 reasons why EVs are not currently dominating the market:

1.Cost Myth: Even though from a total cost of ownership basis, EVs are cheaper than equivalent petrol/diesel cars, and significantly cheaper in a lot of cases, the sticker price is still a barrier for most people. EVs have the potential to be much cheaper to manufacture once the price of batteries comes down, and this has been happening very steadily. That’s why in about 3 years’ time we will see the crossover point where capable EVs are cheaper (unsubsidized) than fossil fuel vehicles, and EVs will start to dominate the market.

The €26,990 Renault Zoé, currently the most affordable EV in Ireland

2. Related to cost is the fact that up until now, only the mid- to high-end range of vehicles was served by EVs. SUV’s are in fashion globally right now and only now are Electric SUV’s being sold. The Hyundai Kona and the Kia E-Niro have been here a little while and are now joined by SUVs such as the Nissan Airya, Tesla S, Polestar 2 etc. This is a game charger in EV adaption.

Over 1000 Hyundai Kona Electric were sold in Ireland in 2019

3. The old guard do not want to make Electric Cars. Only for Tesla there would be no Electric Cars being made by the legacy automakers (the big guys, the household names!). Resistance on the part of legacy automakers: Legacy automakers have 100 years of expertise in internal combustion engines under their belt. They do not want to throw that all out in favour of a new technology they know a lot less about. They also have the problem of EVs eating into their entire product range. Tesla is forcing their hand here, but if they had their way, they would slow down EV manufacture indefinitely.

4. Car dealerships: not all, but many auto dealers are reluctant to sell EVs. For one thing, it will greatly reduce their service department revenue because EVs need almost no maintenance and are very reliable. But EVs are also harder for them to sell and they don’t understand them well. So, if you want to screw a car salesperson you know what to do!

5. Perceived lack of capability: lots of people are stuck in the petrol station paradigm and believe they need a vehicle with a range the same as their petrol/diesel car, even though they only need to fill up the fossil fuel car every week or two. They also believe they need to be able to recharge it in 5 minutes, even though EVs can be charged overnight, at work, or while at the supermarket. Where do you charge your mobile phone? When do you charge your mobile phone? Answer are the same for an EV!

6. Perceived lack of infrastructure: again, people believe they need to see giant charging stations everywhere before an EV would be practical for them. The fact is people already have all the infrastructure they need right at home, and that there actually are plenty of public charging stations around, they just don’t look like petrol stations. You really only see EV Charging stations when you’re driving an EV, when you drive an EV you see them everywhere!

When not charging at home/work, public networks offer 1000+ stations nationwide

7. The vast majority of people over-estimate how much driving they actually do. Very few people drive more than 400km (250 miles approx.) in one go on a regular basis and even if they do, safety advice from road safety authorities would suggest they should take a break every 2 hours or so. Perfect time to charge the car and recharge themselves (anyone for a coffee!). The car doesn’t have to be fully charged every time.

Any long range EV such as the 64kWh Kia e-Soul can bring you coast to coast in one charge

8. Vested interest in fossil fuels is significant. The oil industry is most certainly waging a disinformation campaign, not just against EVs themselves, the batteries being bad for the environment myth, but they are even behind the climate science denial movement. I would not say this interference is stopping EV adoption, but it certainly is slowing it down. Que the deniers!

9. Like any new technology, it will take time for EVs to ramp up in acceptance. Cars in particular will take even longer, because they are typically kept for over a long time. But EVs have experienced significant growth since 2011 and are nearing a steep point in the adoption curve. In 3 years, we will see quite significant numbers of EVs being sold, and in 6 years it will most probably be the majority. EV’s are already the majority of cars sold in Norway. So globally, we are not far away!

Fortunately, as more people’s friends, family, co-workers and neighbours drive EV’s, the true story is being told and the positive word of mouth surrounding EV’s is growing. The fact is everyone who drives an EV loves them and would never go back to a petrol/diesel car. EV’s are just better cars!

With the increased up take of electric commercial vehicles such as vans, buses, etc people are driving EV’s at work, experiencing the benefits first-hand and sharing these benefits with colleagues and in many cases converting their personal transport to EV.

That, combined with rapidly falling cost, increasing range, and expanded vehicle segments being covered will cause the adoption curve of EV to grow significantly in the next few years.