Lean, green and serene: Electric scooters are quietly taking off


Electric scooters have zero local emissions and are far quieter than their petrol-engined counterparts. — dpa

It's never been easier to get around on two wheels and a battery, whether it’s a bike, a motorcycle or a motor scooter.

The popularity of electric scooters has silently skyrocketed in many countries like no other form of transport over the past four or five years, thanks in part to their motors – almost silent compared to the deafening howls of their petrol counterparts.

“This is not least due to the fact that these electric motor scooters, most of which come from China, are getting cheaper and cheaper, as the technology is much simpler compared to a conventional one, ” says Constantin Hack, a tech expert at Auto Club Europa (ACE).

For Michael Lenzen, of Germany’s Federal Motorcyclists’ Association, these scooters are a viable alternative to a car or public transport.

He explains that such scooters are divided into different categories based on how fast they go and the corresponding licence they require; in general, the slower the scooter, the less specialised the licence.

Factors that determine what kind of electric motor scooter you should buy are, first and foremost, its range and load capacity.

“The range is determined by the size and capacity of the battery; for scooters that go up to 45km/h, this is usually between 40km and 80km, which should be enough to go to work and get back in most cases, ” according to Lenzen.

On load capacity, he advises anyone who wants to take a passenger along to not only look at the space available, but to keep an eye on how much the scooter can carry; this is usually less than it would be for a traditional scooter because of the weight of the battery.

Andre Lang also advises potential buyers to pick a model with a removable battery. “With a permanently installed battery, you are severely limited in terms of charging options if you don’t have one in the garage, at home or at work, ” says the safety expert from the Institute for Two-Wheeler Safety (ifz) in Germany.

A so-called plug-and-play battery also offers the possibility of extending the range by putting a second battery in the battery compartment or in the helmet compartment, according to Lenzen. – dpa

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