Crazy Scooter Scheming – Tao Tao Roman Chinese Scooter

I have a dream. That dream is to purchase a 1960-1973 Volkswagen Beetle and convert it into an electric vehicle to drive around town and back and forth to work. My dilemma is that I don’t have the cash to purchase everything I need without selling the vehicle I drive to work right now (a 2002 Ford Taurus.)

So, I went and had an idea

My new job is about 6 blocks from my house. There are several steep hills involved (Birmingham Alabama is like that) and I will occasionally need to go further than that. So, a bike is not going to work for me. Instead, I decided to buy a gas scooter.

Using the scooter for daily trips to work will allow me to sell the car and drastically reduce my fuel costs and insurance. That money will go into my ‘Beetle Fund’ to save up for the electric conversion kit and the car itself. For those wondering – yes, my wife approves of this scheme/plan.

After looking for available used scooters and search out options, I decided to get a relatively cheap 150cc Chinese made scooter from a company called Tao Tao. I settled on the Tao Tao Roman because it has a cool retro Vespa look to it. The one I ordered is orange and white…

…I read plenty of horror stories about cheap Chinese scooters and plenty of stories from people who loved theirs. From what I can gather, if you are mechanically inclined and don’t mind doing a little work getting the scooter prepped, they tend to work fairly well. As a person who is buying the scooter as a stepping stone toward making a DIY electric VW Bug, I think I am a good candidate for ownership.

A secondary consideration in the decision matrix is that I can walk from my house to my job. So, if the scooter breaks down on the way to work, I can just walk it the rest of the way without too much trouble. I’ll be a little late, but I will get there.

Also, I don’t need this thing to run forever. It only has to last long enough for me to save up for the car, then it becomes a toy. I’m thinking of swapping an electric motor into it at some point – just for fun!

In preparation for the arrival of my new scooter, I have been researching the post delivery preparations needed to get the scooter running. I am also following the recommended component upgrades that seasoned Tao Tao scooter owners recommend to replace cheap parts that often fail. I’ll be posting more updates and a few videos once I get the scooter and begin prepping it for use.

While I was writing this post, the freight company called to schedule a deliver time. My scooter arrives Monday! Now I know what I’ll be doing over Labor Day weekend!

Andrew Seltz

Andrew was born in Michigan, raised there and in Tennessee, and has since lived outside Orlando, in Chicago, New York City, and now Birmingham, Alabama. He produces videos and websites for a living and is married to a beautiful, generous, loving woman who also happens to be a talented actress and writer - www.ellenseltz.com. They have two daughters.

2 thoughts on “Crazy Scooter Scheming – Tao Tao Roman Chinese Scooter

  • July 12, 2015 at 4:05 am
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    Why the VW Bug platform for your EV? I would think there are better and even cheaper/better platforms to build you EV on.

    Of course, I am not planning on attempting what you say you are, so please give more details about your plan. Just curious and still waiting to hear about your problems obtaining a tag for your TaoTao.

  • July 29, 2015 at 10:09 pm
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    I like old bugs and they are dead simple to work on. From my initial research it seems that you can bolt a motor straight onto the existing transmission and get acceptable performance with minimal complexity. The goal is a car for short hops that is also a fun ongoing project. So, the bug is an appealing option.

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