Slick electric cycle offers eco-friendly alternative

Amid the motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles that fill the showroom at Paulson’s Motorsports in Lacey, Wash., sits a sleek, blue two-wheeler in a class all its own.

It’s the world’s first highway-legal, all-electric, two-wheel vehicle engineered to provide an eco-friendly alternative for commuting and recreation.

Paulson’s is one of two dealerships in the state and 83 in the nation offering the all-electric two-wheeler built by Rhode Island-based Vectrix Corp. Store manager Chris Paulson explained why the Vectrix all-electric bike caught his attention.

“The fact it has zero emissions, gets 35 miles to 55 miles on a charge and costs about a penny per mile to operate was very intriguing to me,” Paulson said.

The two-wheeler is the size of a 400 cc motorcycle, weighing 515 pounds with a 60-inch wheelbase and 30-inch seat height for two.

The Vectrix tops out at 62 miles per hour and accelerates from a stop to 50 mph in just less than seven seconds.

“It’s a fantastic bike for someone with a 10- to 15-mile commute,” Paulson said.

The Vectrix isn’t cheap. The bike on Paulson’s showroom floor carries a price tag of $8,997. But buyers would be eligible for some federal tax credits and deductions designed to promote alternative transportation and clean-energy vehicles, Paulson said. Rebates for purchasing a Vectrix all-electric, two-wheeler could approach $2,000, Paulson said.

Paulson said he’s had several potential customers take the bike on test drives.

Vectrix, which formed in 1996, is betting that consumers are ready for new commuting alternatives, company chief executive officer Mike Boyle said in a press release announcing the dealership network created to sell the bikes.

This spring, the company will introduce two more all-electric, two-wheel vehicles that are either smaller or less powerful — and less expensive — than the original.

“The new bikes we’re adding will make 100 percent electric vehicles available to a broader consumer base,” Boyle said.

Paulson predicted all-electric vehicle sales will steadily increase through time as new technology adds to their power and average range on a single charge.

Increased demand also will drive prices down, he said.