Zapp i300 Is Proof the Electric Scooter Market Is Heating Up
The convergence of electric bicycles and electric motorbikes keeps getting blurrier and more interesting. You can rent a lot of both in major urban centers around the nation, and that’s probably got you curious about ownership. On the e-bike front, it’s been a lot easier than the e-moped realm, but that’s changing with U.K.’s Zapp Electric Vehicles landing on our shores by the end of 2023; the company just went public on NASDAQ.
Even if you don’t care to own shares in the company, you should care the brand's making bikes in Thailand—one of the largest markets for micromobility—and not China, with all of its trade war implications and challenges.
You should also note this isn’t your Italian grandmother’s Vespa: Zapp is already selling scooters in the U.K. with serious performance, like a top speed of 60mph and 0 to 60mph in 4.8 seconds. Here are five other reasons you might want one.
Zapp i300 Specs at a Glance
More Convenient Recharge
Zapp’s play is it understands these are solutions for urban travel, so its i300 has dual removable batteries, each about the size of a laptop but twice as thick. The snafu with other e-scooters is they don’t have easily extracted batteries—and good luck finding a curbside plug in most urban zones. This way you can pop out the batteries and bring them into a coffee shop or your apartment. The i300 recharges from 10 to 80 percent in about 40 minutes on Zapp’s fast charger, or 80 minutes on a standard wall plug.
Reasonable Commuter Range
According to Zapp, you’ll get about 37 miles per charge in eco mode. That’s not amazing, but then again, most American city dwellers don’t have anything close to a 37-mile round-trip to and from work, and more flexible working environments have also changed how frequently we have to work in an office. The average American commute is exactly 37 miles, per a 2021 study by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. But if you live in Seattle, Minneapolis, Nashville, D.C., or any of the nation’s top 40 cities, it’s likely your roundtrip is 25 miles—or way less.
A Performance Chassis
Zapp’s using a lightweight alloy body that’s more rigid than any legacy gas-motor moped. It’s paired to an inverted fork with four inches of travel, as well as a preload- and rebound-adjustable rear suspension. The bike also gets serious braking capability, with anti-locking, cross-drilled front discs, and four-piston calipers. Low-profile, 14-inch rubber ensures better grip and handling. All this sounds more like sport bike territory, rather than an eco scooter, which is very much Zapp’s angle, since it sees room to make the category sexier. And with a pretty low, 264-pound weight with batteries included, we expect Zapp i300 to feel like a performance tool that’s a blast for getting around town.
No Clutch—No Motor Noise
A lot of would-be two-wheeled moto users are intimidated by having to learn to use a clutch; especially if you grew up only driving an automatic car, the transition can feel daunting. The Zapp is an automatic, and uses a very quiet belt drive, so it’s both quieter than a conventional motor scooter and easier to learn to ride. In the U.S. you’d still need to get a motorcycle license, FYI.
A Sane Price
Right now the cheapest version of Zapp i300 is Ocean, made with recycled ocean plastics. It costs £5,750 in the U.K. Presuming similar pricing when the i300 goes on sale in the U.S. later this year, that’s $7,138. That’s more expensive than a bunch of full-fledged commuter motorcycles, but also considerably cheaper than a Zero or Livewire. It’s even more affordable than a lot of electric bicycles, which is why we see the convergence of electric mo-peds and electric bikes so ripe for yet more innovation, since cars are only getting more expensive, and two wheelers are inherently more fun, easier, and cheaper to park if you don’t have a driveway. Moreover, EV maintenance costs are zilch.
[From ~$7,138; zappev.com]