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Electric scooter to charge into U.S.

The all-electric Maxi-Scooter can go from 0 to 50 mph in 6.8 seconds and can be recharged in 2.5 hours from a standard outlet. Photos: All-electric scooter

AUSTIN, Texas--You've heard a lot about electric sports cars. Now a new generation of electric scooters is coming to town.

The Maxi-Scooter from Vectrix, an all-electric scooter that can go from 0 to 50 miles per hour in 6.8 seconds, will soon be available in the U.S., Jeff Morrill, director of marketing for the Americas for the company, said at the Clean Energy Venture Summit taking place here this week.

Like electric car companies such as Tesla Motors, Vectrix is attempting to show that electric vehicles are a practical option for getting around town and that they can compete on many fronts with traditional gas burners. The $11,000 scooter, which runs on nickel metal hydride batteries, can hit 62 miles per hour, go from 0 to 30 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds, and can be recharged in 2.5 hours from a standard outlet. (Eighty percent of the battery can be recharged in two hours.)

It will go about 68 miles at 25 mph before needing a recharge, Morrill said. And, like other scooters and motorcycles, you can store helmets and other items in an empty space below the seat. The bike is powered by a hub motor on the rear wheel.

"We want to be the first zero-emission, high-performance, street-legal consumer electric vehicle," Morrill said.

Besides the electric engine and Vectrix-designed battery, the Vectrix is made from components familiar to the scooter world. The tires come from Pirelli, while other components come from Sachs.

Vectrix started selling the Maxi in Italy last November and two weeks ago in London. Right now, the company is seeking U.S. retailers and distributors.

In a test ride in the parking lot, it was pretty clear the Maxi had some pep. We got it up close to 30 miles per hour before we had to slow down to avoid hitting a speed bump.

Like other electric vehicles, it makes a lot less noise than its gas-burning counterparts. In fact, it makes no noise at all. The word "Go" is displayed on the speedometer so that you know the engine is on, Morrill said.