In the world of personal electric vehicles, or PEVs, few things come close to the cute ETScoot in terms of looks and balance of features.
Every PEV is a bundle of compromises: On the one hand, there are power-assisted bicycles and electric kick scooters with comfortable seats, but which are way too bulky to lug aboard trains and buses.
On the other hand, there are the highly portable, electric kick scooters and unicycles that, while easy to lug about, are less stable and less comfortable to ride as they are operated by a standing rider.
The ETScoot is among the few PEVs with an easily foldable saddle, so the machine can be taken onto a train or bus. Think of it as a letter K that can be folded into an I.
That said, it weighs 30kg, so although it is light enough conceivably for you to drag up a flight of steps, the weight is significant enough that you are better off using the lift or wheelchair ramp.
The aluminium alloy frame feels well built, albeit chunky.
More importantly, the ETScoot has a head-turning "modern retro" design, as its distributors describe it. Its front fork, seat post and main frame with rear axle (which holds the batteries), fan out from a large, beefy hinge. A hinge allows these parts to be folded in, just like a folding pram.
So riders can push it about on its front wheel. The fold-up design also makes it easy to stow. A spring- loaded main stand folds over backwards to form footpegs when in riding mode.
It feels as if you are riding an automatic motorcycle. It has a grip throttle and brake levers on the handle bars that control the brakes on the front and rear wheels. Thanks to the seat, this is more controllable and far more comfortable than a standing kick scooter.
However, the footpegs are positioned just above the rear wheel, which forces the rider into a slightly awkward, half-squatting posture that is much less comfortable than riding a bicycle or kick scooter.
PRICE: From $2,288
MOTOR POWER: 350W
BATTERY TYPE: 48V lithium battery
MAXIMUM SPEED: 35kmh
MAXIMUM RANGE: 40km
BRAKING SYSTEM: Disc brake
WHEEL SIZE: 12 inches
MAXIMUM LOAD: 150kg
FEATURES 1 2 3 4 5
PERFORMANCE 1 2 3 4 5
DESIGN 1 2 3 4 5
BATTERY LIFE 1 2 3 4 5
VALUE FOR MONEY 1 2 3 4 5
OVERALL 1 2 3 4 5
The makers of the ETScoot claim it has a top speed of 35kmh and a 40km range, but in tests done with a rider who weighs 80kg, the maximum distance it went was 27km.
The top speed of 35kmh was consistent for the first 22km, but dropped to 32kmh for the last five. Do bear in mind that with all PEVs, speed and range will diminish as the batteries age.
That said, its tiny but fat wheels are equipped with ventilated disc brakes that give it considerable manoeuvrability and stopping power. One feels more in control and safer than on a standing kick scooter.
The ETScoot also comes with a gorgeous backlit digital speedometer with an odometer and trip meter. It also has a bright LED headlamp and tail light, which makes night riding safer.
One notable letdown is the horn, which sounds like an electronic beep. It is not only too soft, but likely to be interpreted as coming from a phone rather than a road vehicle.
PEVs need good support in terms of such parts as tyres and batteries, as these are unique to the brand.
So, good distributor support is essential. The ETScoot's distributor, Urbanrides Inc, runs a repair garage in MacPherson Road and also works closely with the China factory to support and develop the design of the ETScoot.
Overall, the ETScoot is a unique PEV that is ideal for commutes of less than 10km, or for use as a transit vehicle to the MRT station if you live or work more than a comfortable walking distance away from the nearest station.
- Verdict: Few foldable PEVs will provide as much comfort, and even fewer will look as good.