Aug 4, 2021 - Economy

An e-scooter that drives like a motorcycle for city commuters

Image of a Zapp high-performance electric scooter

The sleek and simple Zapp i300 is designed for urban commuters. Photo: Zapp

A new high-performance electric scooter is being billed as the transportation solution for urban residents who want an EV but don't have dedicated parking and can't exactly hang a charging cable out their apartment window.

What's happening: The $7,495 Zapp i300 is positioned as a daily commuter vehicle for urban dwellers — offering the convenience of a scooter and the performance of a motorcycle. Debuting this month in Paris, it's headed to Asia and the United States next year.

The big picture: Powered, road-legal scooters are popular in many parts of the world, and the $109 billion global scooter market is transitioning to electric power at a faster rate than cars.

  • “Europeans and Asians continue to embrace this mode of personal urban mobility, and are adopting electric versions quickly. We hope savvy urban Americans will do so soon” said Swin Chatsuwan, founder and CEO of the British company.

Details: The simple but sleek i300 is fully recyclable, incorporating an original alloy exoskeleton and proprietary composite body, rather than plastic components.

  • The lightweight architecture — just 200 pounds — means it is easy to maneuver and goes 0 to 30 mph in just 2.3 seconds. For safety, the top speed is capped at 60 mph, and it comes with anti-lock brakes for quick stopping.

The battery may be the most novel feature: The i300 is equipped with two 1.4-kilowatt-hour, independent, portable battery packs, housed under the rider's feet, which provide improved stability.

  • The battery packs weigh 12 pounds each and are about the size of a laptop, and can be removed nightly for recharging in an ordinary domestic 110/240 volt outlet. Charging to 80% takes less than an hour.
  • With both batteries on board, the scooter's range is 40 miles, but it can also operate on just one battery. That allows owners to leave one battery charging at home or in the office. Extra batteries are also available as accessories to swap out for longer trips.

What to watch: Zapp has not yet decided which city to begin deployment in the U.S., says company adviser Tony Posawatz, who led development of GM's plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt and currently serves on the board of electric luxury car maker Lucid Motors.

  • Riders might require a motorcycle license to operate the i300 in the U.S., he says.
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