British Import Lands To Go After Market Between E-Bikes & Motocycles
Story by Steve Schaefer; photos from the manufacturer
British brand Zapp unveiled its first powered two-wheeled i300 city bike in Michigan on August 4. The stylish scooter is set to arrive next year to do battle in the market segment between e-bikes and Vespa clones on one side and traditional motorcycles on the other. Built in Thailand, the i300 is part of a worldwide wave of transportation options that are moving from fossil-fuel power to electric.
Zapp’s press packet claims its bikes are competing in a $109 billion worldwide market, which is going electric much faster than the auto market. And with COVID-19 concerns driving some commuters to avoid public transit, personal two-wheelers should experience a boom in the next few years.
It’s Got the Looks
The i300 certainly looks handsome and fun, with its aerospace grade alloy load-bearing exoskeleton over chrome-moly steel tube appropriately resembling a bolt of lightning. Handsome alloy wheels add to the appeal. You can personalize your ride by choosing one of seven colors, including Guards Red, Old English White and Powder Blue. You get three seat choices and five wheel options/colors as well.
What might be even more attractive is the two-wheeler’s performance. Zapp claims that the 20-horsepower (18 kilowatt/kW) motor pulls the bike from 0-31 mph in a brisk 2.35 seconds, and from 0-43 in just over four seconds (those odd speeds are translated from kilometers). Top speed is rated at 60 miles per hour—plenty for urban living, considering these are not freeway legal rides. As with battery-powered cars, a low center of gravity delivers great handling, too.
Many electric bikes have built-in batteries, which means you need to charge outside or in your garage. The i300 has two removable 1.4 kilowatt-hour air-cooled battery packs, each weighing about 12 pounds. The packs can charge from 20 to 80 percent on household 110-volt current in under an hour.
Range and Power
Range is always a question with electric vehicles. The easy-charge packs and intended urban riding should mean no range anxiety from the published range of about 37 miles in Eco mode. Eco mode caps power at 4kW; the Power mode is 11kW and the ZAPP mode is 18kW. Plan for a lot less range using those higher settings, but a vigorous two-mile ride at higher speeds will be no problem if you have time at the other end to top off your battery packs.
The i300 stands just under four feet tall, stretches 6.4 feet long and weighs 202 pounds. That puts it neatly in its target zone between lightweight e-bikes and full-blown motorcycles.
Pricing for the Carbon Launch Edition is $8,995; the regular model comes in at $7,495. In a world of $25,000 entry-level cars that’s not bad, and the i300 offers a good bit more than a $2,000 e-bike. California and other states have clean vehicle incentive and rebate programs, and a federal tax credit has been available. Check for options online, as these programs may not currently be funded.
Zapp is launching in Paris, then rolling out to other European cities in Q4 of 2021. Asia and the US will see i300’s in Q1 of 2022 if Zapp’s plans pan out. Scooters are sold online and delivered directly to customers. Zapp is planning a fleet of service vans to take care of maintenance and problems. Of course, electric motors are much more reliable and maintenance free than petrol burners, so with luck, you may not need service for a while.
See Zapp’s website for more information and to get on their mailing list.
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The post Micromobility: Zapp Scooters Bring Style, Range and Fun to Urban Riding first appeared on Clean Fleet Report.
Source: Clean Fleet Report