Smart e-scooter not quite ready for prime time

Electric e-scooter

Electric e-scooter – image courtesy of allaboutbikes.com

Back in 2010 at the Paris Motor Show, German automaker Smart showed off a new concept for an all electric scooter.  This new scooter uses a 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack to power a 4-kW electric motor.  According to Smart, this scooter cranks out a whopping 5.4-horsepower.  That’s the same as a typical lawnmower but without the optional mulching feature.

I’m all for improving the environment and would really like to use less gas but when a scooter tops out at about the same speed as a person on a bicycle (28 mph), what’s the point?  Sure it can go up to 60 miles on a charge but then I have to wait 3-5 hours for it to charge again.

Now just because I can run faster than this scooter doesn’t mean it’s all bad.  The scooter has a steel and aluminum frame and boasts an airbag, ABS, and Blind Spot Assist.  Sweet!  It also has a place to plug in your iPhone/iPod and has an app that turns your phone into a speedometer, range indicator, charge-point finder and navigation system.

So, what does something this futuristic cost?  A cool $5,000.  Ouch.  That’s a little too steep for my taste.  I’ll stick to my gas powered option so I can ride faster than the local joggers.  I think it will be hard for companies to compete when they are pricing their products so high.  Many people who ride scooters do so for the cost savings.  How many years would you need to own this before it begins to show any real savings?

If you’re more into the “green” aspects of a scooter like this then it may be something to consider.  Even so, it seems like a little too much green for my taste.  It won’t be available in the US until 2014 so hopefully the price will come down a little when it does arrive.  Perhaps even a more powerful model may be coming too.

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