It’s a colossus of steel, an extraordinary beast of a thing, perhaps beamed in from another dimension. It’s called ‘Prometheus’ (a Greek Titan God of fire, so let’s hope the battery heat-sink is working effectively on this one), and it’s a very impressive e-scooter, pulled up outside our shop as part of a Tiki Tour of places of interest (to scooterers) on the North Shore. It seems capable of ridiculous pace, and looks fast just standing still. And it’s not alone.
Demand for powerful scooters reached an all-time high this summer, when at my count, almost every twin-motor sports scooter in the country had sold out. Inokim OXO? Kaabo Mantis? T10 Dual? Dualtron Eagle? Nope, nope, nope, nope. All sold out. Want a Wolf Warrior 11? Good luck. Join the queue. How many people want a 2400W off-road suitable scooter? Evidently quite a few!
I take it as a sign of a rapidly-maturing market. What was a ‘Really, who needs that?’ product a year or two ago is now a ‘My mate has one and I want one of those too’ product. Who are the buyers? Demographically, it is likely to be a professional fella somewhere between 30 and 50. He is likely a city commuter, he has long since tired of the car grind, and he wants to save time and have fun doing it. The growth in size and performance of e-scooters has now created a category where even someone who might have shied away from the concept as being a bit of an overgrown kids toy until recently, can now access something with genuine range, impressive braking, real-world suspension and yes, eye-watering performance.
It raises usage questions too which need addressing. The Accessible Streets consultation of early 2020 seems to be on the covid back-burner as more pertinent issues are addressed by council, but some of the suggestions around riding areas and speed limitations it raised now come to increased relevancy. This author is among many voices calling for compulsory helmets and clear guidelines around where and how fast you can ride, and how best to separate other users from the quicker among the e-scooter and e-bike fraternities. Simply put I’d like to see some speed limits, not power-limits, in place, to create a clear framework in which our fledgling new transport movement can grow safely.
Sports scooters are of course not the only scooters doing the rounds. The compact-sport category offers many fine rides available around and under the $2000 mark, and brings the benefits of lighter weight along with lighter price. Buyers will be unisex, but this is the domain of the majority of our female customers, less swayed by power and performance, and keener on safety and reliability, as well as the ability to heave it into the car or onto a bus if need be. It’s a strong category with an increasing density of offerings, and also looks set to be a cornerstone of e-scooter market development in 2021.
As always the selection advice is to consult your dealer, test ride where you can, and choose carefully from a quality brand with good local dealer support. All scooters are fun, but the right one will change your life for the better!