Siliconrepublic.com takes a look at the e-Skoot, an electric scooter commuter that aims to fill your daily commute with something a bit more fun.
I’ve reviewed a number of electric vehicles (EVs) at this stage with Siliconrepublic.com, but the e-Skoot was clearly going to be a different kettle of fish altogether.
While I had experienced what driving in the elements would be like with the Renault Twizy, zipping around on an electric scooter was an altogether different experience.
Having only recently begun selling in Ireland, the e-Skoot is exactly like the scooters that many kids and adults will be familiar with, the only difference being that it zips along cycle paths like nobody’s business.
When speaking with e-Skoot’s Joe Meaney and Kevin Moore, they explained that the e-Skoot is geared towards bridging the gap in commuting from, say, your home to the distant bus stop and then on to the office again once you’ve gotten off the bus.
So after having it for a few days, what exactly does it bring to the table?
Design — unassuming in a good way
As I’ve already touched on, the e-Skoot isn’t too dissimilar to the traditional push scooter except for the fact it’s got a powerful battery underneath your feet.
This, I felt, was a nice touch, given that if I hadn’t have known what it was beforehand I would have presumed it was just a push scooter designed for adults.
The unassuming nature of it is arguably its best quality as, unlike a Segway, you don’t stand out as anything but an everyday commuter getting from A to B, rather than someone who wants to be seen.
Given that it’s intended to be taken out on the commute it only takes about a minute to disassemble and, once you get to the office, it could probably fit under most office desks and be left to charge while you work.
The model I had to test, the URBN 2.2 (there is also a 2.1), has additional medical-grade silicon handles that add a bit of comfort on the longer trips.
Controls — idiot-proof
Without exaggerating, driving the e-Skoot is idiot-proof.
Once you’ve turned it on from the base console at the top of the handles, all you have to do is give yourself a little push with your foot.
Then it’s just a case of controlling your acceleration and deceleration with the two thumb sticks on each handle.
An additional foot brake is at the rear of the e-Skoot, which is intended to be used when you need to stop suddenly, but for the majority of use you would use its magnetic brake on the front wheel.
The base console shows all of the stats like your speed, distance travelled and estimated range, shown by the battery indicator on the left-hand side.
There is also the option to turn on a forward-facing light for nighttime scooting and a pretty loud horn to tell confused cyclists you’re about to overtake them.
Driving — hills not a problem
I’m not going to lie, every time I got it on a long, straight cycle path and brought it up to its max speed of 25km/h, I had a big grin on my face.
Getting a feel for how much pressure you need to apply to the thumb controls comes pretty quickly after one or two goes, and once you realise you might need to give a bit of distance when braking, it’s easy to ride.
I know it’s technically designed to traverse a city environment, but driving it leisurely in quiet areas is where it really shines.
While it struggles over cobble stones and particularly pothole-strewn roads, there’s no issue on clear, tarmacked cycle paths and roads.
I would also be inclined to describe it as nippy in the sense that it is very manoeuvrable at slow speeds navigating through bollards and the like and doesn’t really feel cumbersome.
I was very impressed with the URBN 2.2’s ability to handle reasonably-sloped hills where I managed speeds of nearly 20km/h.
This ability to climb varies across the different e-Skoots, however, with the standard 2.0 model likely to go a bit slower than what I achieved.
Power — charge of the skoot brigade
This variation in power is down to the three different models — the 2.0, 2.1 and 2.2 — having different-sized batteries.
While they can all achieve the same top speed of 25km/h, their range and charging time is different.
So, for example, the 2.2 can go as far as 38km on a single charge, while the 2.0 has a range of 25km.
Charging time is also longer for the basic model, taking between three and 3.5 hours, compared with the 2.2’s maximum two hours.
Now, according to e-Skoot, the amount of charging the e-Skoot takes amounts to €1 per year in energy costs, which would be very impressive as far as running costs go.
And just like EVs, the e-Skoot comes with regenerative breaking so flying down those hills (safely, of course) will pump power back into its batteries that it lost climbing those hills.
I really enjoyed my time with the e-Skoot, taking it out on drives as well as giving it the commuting experience.
Aside from thinking it might be slightly heavy when trying to take it on the bus, its ability to zip around with little effort was pretty flawless.
Of course, it’s not an all-terrain vehicle that can handle deep puddles or long grass, so there are some limitations.
With prices starting at just under €900, it’s certainly up there in what would be defined as an investment purchase, but speaking to Joe and Kevin at e-Skoot they’ve informed me there’s a payment plan system that’s coming in for Christmas that should limit any single-splurge purchase.
Definitely worth a consideration for two-step commuters or those looking to zip around their neighbourhood for short trips.
All photos by Connor McKenna