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New range of electric two-wheelers goes on sale in SA as EVs become 'highly attractive'

The CPX Pro

The CUx

The F01

The TC Max

The TC Wanderer

21st November 2023

By: Irma Venter

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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It is not only the electric car that is challenging the status quo of the global automotive industry, but also the electric motorbike.

VMoto Soco South Africa (VSSA) is a new company that aims to bring the VMoto Soco range to the local market.

VSSA brand manager Tim Eccles tells Engineering News Online that the company is a new division of the FI Group. 

“The FI Group is a collection of companies that span a few sectors, each with a significant importing aspect — mostly from China, but also from the UK. 

“While not automotive-specific, the FI Group’s businesses require large warehousing facilities, strong logistical expertise, and a varied staff, many of whom are engineering and technical-minded.

“We also have a deep interest in all things automotive, and we tend towards the leading edge of innovation,” notes Eccles. “And the speed of progress in electric vehicles (EVs) has really piqued our interest.”

He explains that VMoto Soco is a joint venture (JV) between Australian-owned VMoto and Chinese EV manufacturer, Super Soco. 

The companies in 2020 formalised their JV, “leveraging their strategic partnership to innovate, manufacture and distribute electric motorcycles and scooters globally”.

Eccles notes that the South African market is becoming increasingly flooded with EV brands, many of them startups. 

“We wanted to ensure that the brand we chose had longevity and scalability. It needed to be globally established, tried-and-tested, and with a strong view to the future. 

“VMoto Soco fits the bill – they are a European top-seller. They also have a versatile range, with the promise of staying at the forefront of this rapidly developing industry. They’re also beautifully designed and the build quality is excellent.”

Eccles says the VMoto Soco range starts with the small, entry-level e-scooter, the CUx, priced at R53 100, including VAT.

“The TC Wanderer (single battery option) is our most affordable e-motorbike, currently available at a launch price of R77 850. The dual battery option is R103 950.”

“The CUx is perfect for short commutes, as a student’s first wheels, or a holiday house run-around. At the opposite end is our CPX Pro scooter, which offers supreme urban performance for more demanding riders,” says Eccles.

“Our two motorcycles — the TC Max and TC Wanderer — differ slightly too, with the TC Max offering higher power and top speed, but the TC Wanderer offering greater range. It really depends on what the rider needs.”

As recharge costs are somewhere between R6 and R15, depending on the model, there are long-term savings to go electric, says Eccles.

“Also, service costs are minimal and removable batteries means charging convenience, while it also adds a layer of security.

“But, while economy does enter into the equation, we are positioned more as a premium offering, where riders can experience performance, reliability and cutting-edge innovation,” notes Eccles.

Each bike is sold with its own fast charger. 

It takes roughly 3.5 hours to charge a single battery.

All chargers fit standard South African plug sockets.

The range between models differs from 65 km to 110 km on a single charge.

“Our CPX Pro and TC Wanderer models have a dual-battery option, so they offer the highest range,” says Eccles.

“Real-world range depends on the demand placed on the battery from the rider. This includes average speed, rider weight, acceleration and climbing angle.”

“When it comes to adopting new technology, there is always inertia from the market in terms of both demand and supply,” adds Eccles.

Early adopters are often ready to leap, driven by the thrill of innovation, novelty and exclusivity. 

But, the wider audience often requires some barriers to fall away before they act.

Some of these include the lack of EV charging infrastructure; limited vehicle range; and the look of the vehicle or bike.

“We feel that both the technology and market have arrived at a point where these barriers have toppled sufficiently for EVs to be a highly attractive and effective choice of transport,” says Eccles.

“Of course, this is not true for everyone, but certainly for those looking to move away from fuel reliance, joining the inevitable transport revolution.”

The VMoto Soco range is on sale at three dealerships in Cape Town, one in Knysna, with a dealership set to open in Johannesburg. 

 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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