Feature

Kick start an electric

eScooters

"Scooters reduce congestion and demand for parking spaces; their carbon footprint is low and they are cheap to buy and run," says David Purchase from the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce.

Credit: iStockphoto

Jayne-Ellen

For over two years, Jayne-Ellen has enjoyed riding an electric scooter around for work.

Credit: Adelaide City Council

Ben van der Wijngaart

Ben van der Wijngaart, Deputy Mayor of Kiama on his Vetrix electric scooter.

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Rider Profile: Jayne-Ellen Bridge

Jayne-Ellen has been working as a Parking Information Officer with the Adelaide City Council for three years. Two years ago, the council purchased two electric scooters, and Jayne was one of the first to hop-on and start riding at work.

How has riding an electric scooter made your job easier?
I prefer to ride the scooters than the petrol bikes. I find it a lot easier, it’s more comfortable and easier to manoeuvre.

Why is riding an electric scooter so good?
They’re very comfortable to ride, they’re quiet, they have a low hum, and they don’t emit any carbon. You only have to plug it into an electric socket at the end of the day.

How often do you recharge?
You can actually get a couple of days worth of riding before you really need to recharge. We get about 50 – 70 km to every charge, depending on the terrain.

Has anything ever happened where you thought “I wish this wasn’t electric”?
Never. I’ve not looked back since I hopped on it. It’s much easier to ride, softer on the hands, like the throttle and the brakes and everything. And it’s got more storage area than the panniers on a motorbike.

Rider profile: Ben van der Wijngaart

A few years ago, the Deputy Mayor of Kiama was inspired by visiting a city teeming with electric scooters and motorbikes when he attended the International Mayors Forum for Healthy Cities in Hang Zhou, China.

How long have you been riding your electric scooter?
About 18 months.

Why is riding an electric scooter so good?
It’s the buzz of getting around being green! I enjoy riding it around town because it’s quite obvious that it’s not petrol, and it makes people consider that there are good alternatives to fossil fuel transport.

How do you cope when it rains?
Like every other bike rider! You put on your wet weather gear. Of course, I’ll be a bit more cautious in the wet too.

What do you think is the most important thing someone should know before purchasing an electric scooter?
They need to know what they’re going to use it for. It’s no good for making a trip from Sydney to Kiama because it won’t make it. But for short trips around town, particularly in urban areas it’s ideal.

How much does it cost to run?
It works out roughly to about one or two cents a kilometre. I have solar panels on my house though, so I basically get my power for free.

G's buyer guide to electric scooters & motorcycles

NOPE 1500 L

NOPE 1500 L
Technically a moped, with a top speed of 50 km/h, you can jump on and start riding with your regular driver’s licence in SA, NT, Qld and WA (other states and territories require a motorbike licence). With a range of up to 50 km, it comes with a leather-trim seat, steering lock and ample storage space with an under-seat compartment and rear carrier. Recharge time is 6–8 hr and cost per full charge is 20-25 cents. Comes with one-year warranty. $2850 drive-away; www.nope.com.au

eRider Lightning Bolt 4000

eRider Lightning Bolt 4000
A lightweight scooter with a low centre of gravity and a top speed of 80 km/h. The lithium batteries should last between 5–8 years, and with proper care can be recharged 2,000 times. A single charge lasts up to 100 km in ‘city’ mode. The front brakes are ABS, back brakes are standard disc. Approved for learner riders, the 4000-watt rear hub motor has no chains or shafts for easy maintenance. Recharge time is 4 hr. Comes with one-year warranty on all parts and batteries. $4900; www.erider.com.au

eRider Lightning Bolt 5000

eRider Lightning bolt 5000
Still approved for learner riders, the 5000-watt rear hub motor means this scooter has a top speed of 95 km/h. Much the same as the 4000, the driving distance decreases to just 50 km on a single charge, but the battery will still last 5–8 years and can be charged up to 2,000 times. Recharge time is 4 hr. Comes with a one-year warranty on all parts. $5500; www.erider.com.au

ZERO S Street

ZERO S Street
If you’d rather the manoeuvrability of a motorbike over a scooter, this one’s for you. An aircraft-grade alloy frame creates a perfect power-to-weight ratio. Approved for learner riders, it has a top speed of 105 km/h and a range of 80 km. After five years you’ll need the first major service, but the 4000-watt batteries can be overhauled and updated with new technology, rather than discarded. It has a chain and sprocket like a normal motorbike that will need lubricating once a month. Recharge time is less than 4 hr. Comes with a two-year limited warranty. $12,995; www.zeromotorcycles.com.au

Still to come…

In two to three years we’ll see some stylish new e-scooters from BMW and Mercedes-Benz aimed at fun and sustainable transport.

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