E-scooters have become a common sight on urban streets around Britain as people look for a low-cost way of commuting. Some e-scooters are legal and part of officially sanctioned rental trials in cities. Others are privately owned, and it is still against the law to ride these in public places.
Many owners use them on private land such as camp sites and race-track paddocks, while others run the risk of a fine by using them on roads.
But the government has said that making them legal to use on public roads is “a priority” for the next year, because there are “benefits of properly regulated, safety-tested e-scooters”.
As a result, we have focused this test on e-scooters that are likely to become road legal once the new laws are introduced, and have enough power to carry the average rider up an incline.
How we tested them
The new laws for private e-scooters are likely to reflect the current regulations on rental machines, which means they will need to be restricted to 15.5mph and have lighting fitted.
To test them, the e-scooters were fully charged and ridden over a test route on a private estate.
We used two riders, one weighing 80kg and the other 95kg, to check each unit’s performance. The circuit included a four-per-cent incline to see howwell the motors and brakes coped with slopes.
We assumed that owners may wish to carry the e-scooters and load them into a car boot, so extra points were given for machines that were light and easy to fold. We also considered weather resistance, in case riders use them in the rain.
We really liked the portability and performance of the E-twow, but the lack of water resistance means you’d be too worried about the weather forecast to use it regularly in the UK. While the techtron is great to ride, it’s cumbersome to lift into a car, which leaves the Indi EX-2 and Pure Air Pro fighting for top spot.
We are happy to recommend either and the Indi’s price is tempting, but the Pure’s longer range, more comfortable riding position and handy app give it a narrow win.
Pure Air Pro
Price: around £500
Claimed range: 31 miles
Scooter weight: 16.5kg
Rating: 5 stars
The Pure Air Pro might not look the most interesting scooter, but it’s been designed to work on UK roads and in our weather. That means it has larger wheels, stiff frame, decent waterproofing and enough range to get you to work and back.
It’s not the smallest or lightest, but it’s just about manageable to put into a car boot. As a result of that solid frame and the big wheels, the Pro feels stable and easy to ride, while a handy app provides useful information via Bluetooth. The 500W motor had just enough grunt to carry our heavier rider up the slopes on our test route.
Price: around £360
Claimed range: 18 miles
Scooter weight: 14.2kg
Rating: 4.5 stars
The Indi is the cheapest scooter in this test by some margin, and is great value. Like the Pure Air Pro LR (p62), the EX-2 features a wooden board, which gives it a skateboard-like appearance, but it’s noticeably smaller than the Pure models.
While this means it is easier to carry than some of the rivals here, it also makes it less comfortable to handle for taller riders on longer journeys. The motor has less power, too, but it didn’t struggle on our slope test. When it does run out of puff, the Indi features a handy Pedestrian Mode, which means it will ‘walk’ itself up hills.
techtron Ultra 5000
Price: around £600
Claimed range: 25 miles
Scooter weight: 22.3kg
Power: 500W (1,000W peak)
Rating: 4.5 stars
The techtron is substantial in size, with dual suspension, a hefty 500W motor and even off-road tyres. This means it can cope with grassy and gravel tracks. It rides well, too, with a stable feeling on all surfaces and plenty of power on the test slope.
The downside is that it’s bulky, making it heavy to lift and tricky to store. The range suffers too if you use all the performance on offer in ‘S’ mode. It doesn’t seem bad value, but a few components feel cheaply made.
We really liked riding the Ultra 5000, just not lifting techtron’s e-scooter back into a car boot at the end of the journey.
Pure Air Pro LR
Price: around £750
Claimed range: 37.2 miles
Scooter weight: 17.5kg
Power: 500W (700W peak)
Rating: 3.5 stars
The Long Range version of the Pure Air Pro has the same features as our winner, plus funkier looks, six more miles of claimed range and an extra 200W of peak power. But there is a price to pay for this: besides the extra £250 it costs, the LR also weighs another kilogram and is slightly wider.
We couldn’t find any evidence of the extra 200W claimed when riding the two scooters side by side, which means you’d really be paying the extra 50 per cent on the price of our winner for 20 per cent more range and a wooden deck. That means the LR version loses points in this test.
E-Twow GT Sport 2022
Price: around £700
Claimed range: 20 miles
Scooter weight: 13kg
Rating: 3.5 stars
We really like the E-Twow (pronounced e2), not least because its price has dropped by a massive £300 since we last tested it. The GT Sport is tiny compared with most of the other scooters in this test, especially when folded. This makes it by far the easiest to store and carry on a train or in your boot.
Once unfolded it packs a performance punch, even when carrying our heavier rider, although the E-Twow’s small wheels make it more fidgety to handle and tricky to ride on rougher surfaces. It could be a winner except for its lack of waterproofing; that’s a big compromise in rainy Britain.
Carrera impel is-2 2.0
Price: around £550
Claimed range: 37.2 miles
Scooter weight: 19.5kg
Rating: 3 stars
Halfords’ Carrera doesn’t seem to offer the value you might expect from a store’s own brand. Along with the Indi, it is the least powerful unit here, plus heavy and cumbersome to handle when folded.
On the plus side, the Carrera has the double-layer security of a PIN-operated electronic immobiliser and a built-in combination cable lock.
Despite the power deficit, the impel is-2 2.0 feels just as powerful as most of the e-scooters here, and is reassuring to ride, thanks to big wheels and front and rear disc brakes. It’s likeable, but not a winner.
Unagi E500 Dual Motor
Price: around £900
Claimed range: 15.6 miles
Scooter weight: 12kg
Power: 2 x 250W
Rating: 2.5 stars
The Unagi might look more like a toy than the other e-scooters here, but it is a serious machine, with some impressive tech to keep it small and light. The frame is made of aluminium and carbon fibre, and it has two 250W motors – one in each wheel – giving excellent traction and decent performance.
The weight, size and a neat folding mechanism mean the Unagi is easy to load into a car, and the E500 is beautifully made. But the small wheels and solid tyres make it tricky to handle and uncomfortable to ride on anything but the smoothest roads, and weatherproofing is limited.
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