Electric Oxygen

After a year of research and hunting, I’ve finally embraced the urban geek stereotype and ordered a moped.

I wanted one because I was jealous of my neighbor when I saw him ride his classic Vespa to the office on hot days. It’s not worth driving to avoid a half mile of walking in the heat, but it’s also no fun to need a change of clothes from spending 10 minutes outside.

I considered a Segway, but I’d have to get one for Kristan, too. And a scooter for two is just more romantic.

Yet those 50cc scooters can be noisy, dirty, and require a notoriously high level of maintenance. So I thought the solution would be an electric version. Besides greater reliability, it’d be clean and quiet enough for me to pull directly into the office.

It turns out that there are quite a few models of all-electric scooter out there. But most are just versions of cheap Chinese gas-powered imports. Or they’re ugly and unproven. And all are from unproven companies, an observation confirmed when one of the leading ones just went poof and left distributors and customers unsupported.

The most promising product out there was (naturally) from an Italian company named Oxygen. Their Lepton scooter got rave reviews but their US sales network was a failure and after making a few thousand the company modified it for commercial markets where they can make more money but it’s less attractive for me. They’re awfully expensive compared to gas scooters and I just couldn’t talk myself into spending that much sight unseen.

Vespa announced hybrids that would be a decent compromise for me and look great, but there’s no timetable for public sale in Italy, much less the US.

Oxygen Lepton

So, what did I do? Decided to wait until spring. Then a fellow St. Louisian with an interest in EVs sent me an email letting me know about a recovered discussion forum. So I visited to see if there’d been any news, and found a fellow asking if an Oxygen Lepton he’d seen on eBay was a good buy. A few had responded, naturally encouraging him to buy. So I took advantage of my fat intertubes and sniped it.

I posted this in February 2007 during week 1718.

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