Design for the Environment/Scooter Transportation Alternatives

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This page is part of the Design for the Environment course

The Vespa LX150.

Scooters offer a unique advantage over the more common modes of transportation since they significantly reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions while making transportation economically efficient. The following report will analyze three types of scooters which will be utilized for daily transportation for potential customers living in the downtown Toronto area. The Vespa LX150, a gas combustion engine scooter, is chosen as the baseline, while the Vectrix VX-1 and the Aprilia "Atlantic" Zero Emission prototype represent the electric motor scooter and hydrogen fuel-cell scooter, respectively. Comparisons of each scooter type are made in terms of their functional, environmental, and economical perspectives to provide a milage of 80,000km over a 10-year lifetime.

Project Information[edit | edit source]

Section 101: Group A16

Student Role Wikipedia ID
Scott Suntaek Jeong Team Leader Scott.Jeong
Ujay Kim Baseline: Vespa LX150 Ujay.Kim
Alex Ho Alternative 1: Vectrix VX-1 Alexl.Ho
Salil Shah Alternative 2: Aprilia Atlantic Zero Emissions Salil.Shah

Scooter Types[edit | edit source]

Baseline: Vespa LX150[edit | edit source]

The Vespa LX150 has been selected as the baseline of this analysis. With a maximum speed of 95 km/h, the main source of energy found in the Vespa LX150 is supplied by its single cylinder (150cc), 4 stroke catalytic LEADER engine [1]. The Vespa LX150 can travel 260km with a full fuel tank [1]. It also utilizes a load bearing steel chassis. The maintenance of this scooter is similar to an automobile, therefore resources for the gas powered scooter are easily accessible.

Alternative 1: Vectrix VX-1[edit | edit source]

The Vectrix VX-1.

The Vectrix VX-1 follows the same function as the Vespa LX150, with approximately the same maximum speed of 100km/h [2]. However, it consists of an Aluminum frame that utilizes a rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery that powers a Brushless DC (BLDC) Electric Motor. It is Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) that does not consume any gasoline and does not output any emissions. Nevertheless, the batteries of the Vectric VX-1 would need to be charged through electrical means. It requires 3.5 hours for a full charge and has a range of 56-89 km per charge. The expected life of the battery is 80000km [2].

Alternative 2: Aprilia "Atlantic" Zero Emissions[edit | edit source]

Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel-Cell.

There is no mass-produced hydrogen fuel-cell scooter currently available to since the hydrogen infrastructure is inadequate for mass production. Hence, the discussion on hydrogen fuel-cell scooters will be relegated to a prototype with appropriate assumptions. The Aprilia "Atlantic" Zero Emission is a prototype two-seater scooter intended for transportation around the Downtown Toronto. It achieves speeds of 85 km/h with the help of a 6kW, 8 horsepower Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel-Cell (PEMFC). It has a riding range of 140km. [3]

Highlights and Recommendation[edit | edit source]

Each scooter type is given a score from one to five (five being the best) in terms of their functional, environmental and economical perspectives. The weight of Importance has been assigned to each sub-category such that the critical factors get compensated in the functional and economical analyses.

Relative Rankings for Scooters

Functional Assessment[edit | edit source]

The Functional Assessment consists of key objectives to consider when purchasing a scooter. The Vespa LX150 dominated the functional category, with a score of 82. Since the two alternatives are relatively new, their full tank driving ranges were far below to the Vespa’s 260km range per tank. Vectrix VX-1 could runs on average 72km per charge, while the Aprilia Atlantic prototype runs approximately 140km per tank. Since there are only two hydrogen re-fuelling stations in the Toronto area, the Aprilia Atlantic Zero Emission Scooter was significantly penalized in this category.

Environmental Assessment[edit | edit source]

The Environmental Assessment is the focus of this analysis. These scores were directly taken from theStreamlined Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA). Although both alternatives have significantly reduced emission levels during the Operational Use stage, their disadvantages are in the Pre-Manufacturing and Manufacturing stages. The alternatives require extraction of rare metals and advacnced technologies that pose environmental impacts. The Delivery stage for all scooters is roughly the same, since all scooters follow the same delivery procedures and all originate from Europe.

In addition to the SLCA, an Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA) was conducted as custom product for each scooter. These assessments are based on the US Department of Commerce 1997 Industry Benchmark Model. It was used to examine the potential environmental impacts in Conventional Air Pollutants, Greenhouse Gases, Energy Use and Toxic Releases with respect to the Pre-manufacturing and Manufacturing stages. The results concluded that the Vectrix VX-1 is the most polluting scooter. However, the results may be subjective since the assessments are based on the price of each scooter (which varies significantly) and key assumptions made in scaling may have been a factor.

Economical Assessment[edit | edit source]

Complete Cost Analyses were done for each scooter that considered Capital Costs, Operation Costs and Disposal Benefits. Vectrix VX-1 is proven to be the most economical option due to its remarkable reduction in operational costs, the average rate of electricity for household consuming up to 1000kWh is 5.6cents/kWh for 3.7kWh NiMH battery compared to the 95.1cents. However, if the initial Capital Cost was a priority to the client, the Vespa LX150 is more attractive. The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the Vespa is $5699.00CDN compared to the Vectrix’s MSRP of $11,990 US ($15,200.32CDN) .The disposal benefits were also taken into consideration disposal benefits. It assumed that the benefits would be higher towards the Vectrix VX-1 due to the recycling incentive programs for NiMH batteries.

Final Recommendation[edit | edit source]

After conducting the functional, environmental, and economical assessments, the Vespa LX150 was chosen as the most suitable scooter for the client with 163 points. Despite producing higher levels of emissions during its operational stage, its functional score credits itself for being the most useful type. The Vectrix VX-1, which came in second with 161 point, lack functionality but was strong in the environmental and economical assessments. The least favorable option is the Aprilia Atlantic Zero Emission Scooter. The scooter significantly lacks in functionality, with mediocre scores in the Environmental and Economical Assessments. Considering a difference of only two points between the Vespa LX150 and the Vectrix VX-1, the subjective scores in the SLCA and the weights of Importance could have resulted in a different outcome. The following list is the possible scenarios that could have affected the decision making process:

1. Maximum driving range of full tank is improved

2. Due to the presence of competitors, the purchasing prices have decreased

3. A client grants more values on the disposal benefits

Unfortunately, the Aprilia Atlantic Zero Emission is not considered due to the lack of re-fueling stations.

Details about the Streamlined Life Cycle Analysis (SLCA)[edit | edit source]

SLCA Chart of Each Life Cycle Stage

Vespa LX150[edit | edit source]

The strongest section for the Gas Powered Scooter is the End of Life. Upon disposal, Dave Graf of New Life Cycle & Salvage stated that many companies are willing to purchase scooters for their parts and any scrap metal. All damaged parts are utilized by recycling companies and undergo smelting and refining processes [4]. The weakest score comes from the Pre-Manufacturing stage. Particulate matter is emitted during the refining of raw materials. Its emissions are primarily caused by fugitive sources, handling, transportation, storage, and from gases caused by smelting and sintering operations. Waste water is produced in numerous stages of refining such as leaching, purification, cooling, and surface runoff [4]. These processes are implemented due to the composition of the scooter, which is assumed to be similar to an automobile [5].

Vectrix VX-1[edit | edit source]

The strongest life stage of the Vectrix VX-1 is in the Operational Use. The Zero Emission Vehicle does not produce any pollutants and does not consume any materials during operation. It should not be overlooked that it still requires electrical energy, and as result, may indirectly create emission via coal or natural gas burning power. Although the Pre-Manufacturing stage for material extraction is proven weak, the majority of the materials used in the Vectrix can be obtained by recycling streams. The Vectrix VX-1 is comprised of several materials such as Aluminum (for the frame) and Copper wire (for the electric motor). Aluminum recycling requires 88% less energy and produces 90% less CO2 emissions than primary aluminum production [6] and Copper wire windings from electric motors can be reused with minor cleaning. [7]. The NiMH batteries used in this scooter are also recyclable. However, it requires six to ten times more energy to reclaim metal through battery recycling than by any other means due to the thermal heat processes required [8].

Aprilia "Atlantic" Zero Emissions[edit | edit source]

The Operational Use is the strongest life stage of the Atlantic because the only outputs during its operation are water-vapor and heat[9]. However, the Pre-Manufacturing stage is very energy-intensive since the Atlantic PEMFC is composed of a diverse set of materials. Similar to the Vectriz, the chassis is made of recycled Aluminum which requires less energy [10]. Perhaps the biggest qualm in the Pre-Manufacturing stage is that the electrodes of the PEMFC require Platinum catalyst, which is a precious metal.

Details about the Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Analysis (EIOLCA)[edit | edit source]

Conventional Air Pollutants.
Greenhouse Gases.
Energy Use.
Toxic Releases.

Vespa LX150[edit | edit source]

For Conventional Air Pollutants, the Gas Powered scooter contributes to the emissions of Particulate Matter and Carbon Monoxide. The Iron & Steel Mills sector is responsible for nearly 29% of the total CO emissions and is largely responsible for the releases of particulate matter. It is known that Smelting, sintering, coking and refining will result in significant releases of CO, SO2 and NOx [11]. For Greenhouse Gases, Power Generation and Iron & Steel Mills are the largest contributors. Steel manufacturing facilities are highly energy intensive and will result in emissions of CO2. This is caused by the combustion of coal for heat, and electrical energy [11]. In Energy Use, it is found that Iron Ore Mining is responsible for nearly 28% of the total energy required followed by Power Generation and Iron & Steel Mills. Multiple processes in mining such as transport, extraction, grinding, drilling, and ventilation require a large amount of energy [4]. In regards to Toxic Releases, Iron and Steel Mills contribute the most. In Iron & Steel Mills, there is a large amount of solid waste in the form of waste water, sludge and particulate matter[4].

Vectrix VX-1[edit | edit source]

Carbon Monoxide was the leading Conventional Air Pollutant with 168mt. The Primary Aluminum Production Sector contributes the most to CO emissions making up for 64.5mt. This is most likely due to the methods used in Aluminum production (i.e. Hall-Herault process where aluminum oxide is reduced to aluminum metal) that generate CO emissions [12]. CO2 emissions were leading Greenhouse Gas category by making up for 17300MTCO2E of the 21500MTCO2E of Global Warming Potential produced. The contributing sector in the CO2 emissions was from Power Generation and Supply, most likely due to Coal Burning power. The total energy used in the production of the Vectrix VX-1 is 267TJ. However, the majority of the energy used is in Natural Gas with 140TGJ. The Alumina Refining sector consisted of 62.7TJ of the Natural Gas. Alumina Refining and Primary Aluminum Production contribute 1940kg and 1640kg, respectively, to Total Air releases (i.e. emissions from smelting and refining processes). The Copper, nickel and lead, zinc mining sector and the Gold, Silver and other metal ore mining sector contributes significant land releases with 339000kg and 82800kg, respectively.

Aprilia "Atlantic" Zero Emissions[edit | edit source]

The major Conventional Air Pollutant emitted is Carbon Monoxide (CO). In all, the total amount of CO released during these stages was 94.1 mt. The Iron and Steel Mills sector contributed the most to these emissions. As mentioned before, Iron & Steel Mills are major sources of CO [11]. The main Greenhouse Gas released during the initial stages of the Atlantic is CO2. This can be attributed mainly to the Power Generation & Supply and Alumina Refining industries which account for 28% and 23% of those emissions, respectively. The main energy sources used are Natural Gas, Coal and Distillate. It is seen that Alumina Refining and Power Generation & Supply are the most energy intensive sectors. Apart from being essential in Alumina Refining, Natural gas is used in steam reformation for the production of hydrogen hence it is extensively used [13] [9]. Some of the significant contributors to Toxic Releases were Copper mining, Other Metal Ore Mining and Alumina Refining sectors. These sectors made up for the bulk of the Total Releases with Copper mining accounting for 72% and Other Metal Ore Mining, 19% of those releases. This was expected since copper and platinum are used extensively in motors and fuel cells, respectively.

Details about the Cost Analysis[edit | edit source]

Costs of Each Scooter Type for 10 Years.

Vespa LX150[edit | edit source]

Costs of the Vespa LX150.

The Initial Capital Costs includes the MSRP of the scooter along with Freight Delivery Charges, Predelivery and Inspection, Administration Fees, and GST/PST. Direct Operational costs include gasoline consumption, routine maintenance, and insurance premiums. For gasoline consumption, it was assumed that the price of gas was frozen at 95.1 cents/L, as determined by the average gas prices over the year 2008 [14]. This price was then implemented over the five-year-lifetime of the scooter, with the fuel efficiency of 30.823 km/L [1]. Routine maintenance costs were determined by Michael Stevulak of Scooter Underground, and Insurance costs were given as a monthly premium by Sarah Brunning of State Farm Insurance. It should be noted that these yearly costs have been increased with an annual inflation rate of 2.19% [15]. Indirect costs were determined by Commute Solutions [16], and include costs such as: Waste Disposal Damage, Air Pollution Damage, External Resource Consumption Costs, Road Noise, Water Pollution and Congestion Costs [17]. Disposal benefits were determined by Dave Graf of New Life Cycle & Salvage Ltd., who stated that numerous facilities are offering $100.00 CDN for used scooters. It should also be noted, for the sake of the comparison, the cost for the Vespa LX150 was doubled to coincide with the 10 year lifetime of the Vectrix VX-1 and the Atlantic, since the average lifetime for the Vespa is only 5 years.

Vectrix VX-1[edit | edit source]

Costs of the Vectrix VX-1.

The Initial Capital Costs includes the MSRP of the Vectrix VX-1 along with other charges found in the Vespa. However, there is an exception of a "Green" Incentive Rebate offered by Vectrix. The Direct Operational Cost is calculated using the average rate of 5.6cents/kWh. According to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) [18], this rate is for all households consuming up to 1000kWh. Since the average mileage per year is about 8000km/year and the Vectrix utilizes a 3.7kWh capacity battery that travels an average of 72km per charge, the total electricity cost for travel was $23.03 per year. The Disposal Benefits also include the incentive for recycling NiMH batteries relative to the battery capacity. Since the electric scooter produces very low noise levels [2], the only indirect cost from Commute Solutions that applies to the Vectrix VX-1 is the External Resource Consumption.

Aprilia "Atlantic" Zero Emissions[edit | edit source]

Costs of the Aprilia "Atlantic" Zero Emissions-1.

The “MSRP” for this protoype was found by comparing the cost of the Honda Civic to the Honda FCX Clarity and then scaling it to the price of the Vespa LX150. The remaining capital costs, insurance costs, and disposal benefits were assumed to be the same as the Vespa. Operating costs in this analysis include the cost of hydrogen and insurance. The Hydrogen cost was found by taking into account the cost of hydrogen fuel in California, a fuel economy scaling factor, and the projected distance travelled for its lifetime [19][20]. The fuel economy scaling factor was found by comparing the fuel economy between the Civic & FCX Clarity and the Vespa. The only indirect costs that apply to the Atlantic were Waste Disposal (WD) and External Resource Consumption (ERC) Costs.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 “Vespa Scooters – Vespa LX150,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: March 15, 2009]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Vectrix Corp., “2009 VX-1”, 2009. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: March 15, 2009]
  3. “Aprilia Atlantic Zero Emission Fuel Cell,” April 23, 2004. [Online]. Available: Accessed: [March 2, 2009].
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 “Environmental, Health and Safety guidelines for Base Metal Smelting and Refining,” [Online] April 30, 2007, Available:$FILE/Final+-+Smelting+and+Refining.pdf [Accessed: March 16, 2009]
  5. “Composition of a Automobile (U.S.),” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: March 17, 2009]
  6. M. E. Schlesinger, Aluminum Recycling. New York, NY: CRC Press, 2006.
  7. L. Rifkind, “Pays to Recycle”, August 17. 2007. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: March 10, 2009]
  8. I. Buchmann, “Recycling your Battery”, April 2001. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: March 13, 2009]
  9. 9.0 9.1 C.-S. Spiegel, Designing & Building Fuel Cells. New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2007, pp. 123-135
  10. F. Stodolsky, A. Vyas, R. Cuenca, and L. Gaines, “Life-Cycle Energy Savings Potential from Aluminum-Intensive Vehicles,” October 16-19, 1995. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: March 17, 2009].
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 “Environmental, Health and Safety guidelines for Mining”, [Online] April 30, 2007, Available:$FILE/Final+-+Mining.pdf [Accessed: March 16, 2009]
  12. Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, “Aluminum Smelting and Refining”. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: March 6, 2009]
  13. Environmental Review and Management Programme, “Existing WagerupRefinery,” May, 2005. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: March 22, 2009]
  14. “Historical Price Charts – Toronto Gas Prices,” [Online] 2009, Available: [Accessed: March 15, 2009]
  15. “Inflation Calculator – Other – Rates and Statistics – Bank of Canada,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: March 19, 2009]
  16. “The True Cost of Driving,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: March 18, 2009]
  17. “Vespa Scooters – Why, where and how,” [Online]. Available:// [Accessed: March 20, 2009]
  18. Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator, “Your Electricity Price Options” 2009. [Online] Available: [Accessed: March 16 2009]
  19. Honda Canada, “Civic Sedan,” Honda.2009. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: March 17, 2009].
  20. S. Abuelsamid, “First Drive: 2009 FCX Clarity on the road,” November 18, 2007. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: March 17, 2009].