Whether it’s to make the daily commute feel a bit faster or to easily zip from home to beach on the weekends, an electric scooter is the kind of essential grab-and-go vehicle that makes personal transport more seamless. Given demand for e-scooters have skyrocketed in previous years, it’s a good idea to get across the best electric scooters for 2021 before you make the investment.
As popularity rises, more brands are getting involved in the electric scooter market, and they are starting to make more practical adult-sized scooters that can zip up to top speed of – no joke – 121km/h. Although from a regular city-purposed e-scooter you should expect around the 25-30k/h mark.
If you’re in the market for an electric scooter you’re going to want the best bang for your buck. Don’t jump at whatever springs up first though – there are a few things you need to consider before deciding on what electric scooter is best for you.
Important considerations when buying an electric scooter
There would be nothing worse than forking out almost a grand (and, for some, much more) on an electric scooter and then realising just how misaligned it is with your individual needs. You aren’t going to want to take a city-dwelling electric scooter outside the CBD, and you won’t need an aggressive rough-riding e-scooter for the daily commute. Consider your primary use, and then make your choice.
What’s your commute like?
This is an important question to ask yourself because it’ll help you decide if you need a quick hop-on-hop-off lightweight scooter, which sacrifices torque and max range for better portability and lighter materials. Or, if you need something a bit more muscular in build, often putting on the weight load but benefitting from a better range, faster speeds, bigger battery life, and a more powerful motor.
Do you really need the speed?
In Australia, electric scooters (or motorized scooters – whether they are single motor scooters or dual motor scooters) are often treated under different local laws when compared to other places like the US and Europe.
According to the electric scooter laws of Australia, you aren’t going to be exceeding 25km/h in most places. Although this goes by state. In NSW, for example, you aren’t allowed to ride an electric scooter on public roads or footpaths. To make sure you’re up to speed with the local laws – which are admittedly far behind many cities overseas where e-scooter sharing is common – head on over to EcoRides. That’s something to consider before you drop $5,000 on the fastest scooter; do you actually need it though? Safety is important in a vehicle that can easily leave you vulnerable, so you’re usually better off with one of the more reasonable speeds anyway, which is what most electric scooters aim for.
Keep the weight off
Be mindful of the fact that the biggest benefit of owning a scooter, for city workers anyway, is the convenience. You aren’t stressing over parking spots or churning cash on upkeep. In most cases, you are quite literally carrying your public transport with you and the lightweight materials most conducive to this function are aluminium and carbon fibre. Look for scooters that make generous use of these materials in the build, making it much easier to carry the scooter on and off public transport. On the other hand, plastic components are less reliable and won’t last very long. If portability is your concern, look for electric scooters that can fold up in a matter of seconds – you’ll appreciate it if you’re heading over longer distances and also carrying various other safety gear or protective gear that you’d need to consider.
Check the tires
Specs matter. That’s an obvious statement, of course, but you should definitely be paying attention to the wheels and suspension system in particular to give you a better idea of the riding experience. Electric scooters with wheels smaller than 8-inches in diameter are generally going to be terrible for long distances and varying terrain. You ideally want air-filled tires that are much smoother and can be repaired more easily.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a helmet to ride an electric scooter?
Yes. The Australian government has made it mandatory for anyone riding an electric scooter to wear a helmet. The same regulations apply to any other personal vehicle like non-electric scooters and skateboards.
What is the maximum speed for electric scooters in Australia?
It’s important to note that the laws governing electric scooters in Australia do vary across states. However, there are some general rules regarding the max speed which, as mentioned above, mean you are not to exceed 200W of power. In VIC, NT and WA, you’re allowed a max of 10km/h. In QLD and the ACT, you’re allowed up to 25km/h.
Although as an update to the article, the team at Zipidi have put together a post which details recent federal law amendments which would now define electric scooters as part of the brother PMD (personal mobility device) category. This means that you’ve got a uniform 25km/h speed limit, but no power restriction. This is important to note as more powerful electric scooters will be better for heavier riders, hills, and cargo.
How do I charge an electric scooter?
Thankfully, most newer models of electric scooters come in in-built batteries that you can plug directly into a power source. There are no other steps required. However, older models sometimes have removable batteries that you’d need to detach from the main body and then plug into a charging base that connects to a power outlet. It’s annoying, which is why buying a newer model is a much better choice.
Are electric scooters even legal in Australia?
In NSW, SA and most other states, scooters cannot be ridden in public, although they can be used on private property. This is because they are considered to be motor vehicles – another example of legislation failing to keep up with technology. This means that you are not allowed to ride an electronic scooter on public roads and footpaths like you would a bicycle. In QLD and ACT, however, public use is legal. The above speed limits are to be observed.
What is ‘max range’?
Simply put, max range is how much distance you can get on a single charge. Obviously the longer the better, because you don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere and have your trusty electric scooter run out on you. Keep in mind that you’ll probably forget to charge it up each night, so having a bigger range is always going to be preferable. You’d want one that’s got a max range of at least 30km if you’re using it every day. Only one of the scooters listed below falls short of that number, but it’s included mostly because of the superb portability and lightweight build.
The Best Electric Scooters To Buy In Australia For 2021
Many scooter riders consider the Apollo Ghost to be the single best of all the electric scooters Australia has access to. It’s often considered the best electric scooter because of the supreme sense of balance between price, performance, and design – it’s not too expensive, but you get far more than what you pay for, all in a package that looks like the real deal.
Compared to the equally valuable Apollo Explore, the Apollo Ghost is the Canadian company’s most affordable dual motor scooter. With a max speed of 60kph and an even more exciting range of 62km (the most generous at this price point that you’ll find in Australia), the Apollo Ghost is an absolute beast if you’re looking for power without the excess.
The scooter can climb inclines of up to 25 degrees and sports an adjustable dual spring suspension which helps to ride feel incredibly smooth and seamless. For that price, you also get a triple braking system, 3 different riding modes which are easy to switch between, and a reasonable battery life that can charge to full in just 6 hours.
Max range: 62km
Unagi The Model One
You’ve got two choices when going for Unagi’s The Model One electric scooter: either the E250, with a robust 250-watt motor driving the front real, or the E500 with two 250 watt motors – one on each wheel. Whichever you choose, it’s clear Unagi has put a lot of effort and ingenuity into their flagship model. The latter, clearly more powerful, is capable of 32nm torque and can easily hammer up hills with up to 15-degrees of incline. The custom-built motors help maintain a lightweight despite the hefty performance, aligning with Unagi’s admirable balance between comfort and power. Other notable elements include a magnesium alloy handlebar, a flush-mounted 47 lumen LED front light and a rear blinking red LED, and a traction-friendly deck crafted from a singular piece of machined aluminium and embeded with silicon.
Max range: 24km
Rion RE90 ‘Racing Edition’
Let’s start with what’s often described as “the Bugatti of electric scooters”. The Rion RE90 is rated for a top speed of 121km/h (you might want to read that again), as high-performance as they come while still maintaining a lightweight profile thanks to the smart use of carbon fibre and sub-aluminium for the build. Under the hood are a 96.6-volt lithium-ion and no less than 30, 21,700 high-capacity rate cells controlled by an in-board mini computer. By using PMT racing slicks for the tires, the RE90 is smoother on the road than many other e-scooters you’d find on the market, even for something as aggressive and intense as this.
Max range: 96km
Price: US$6,800, plus US$600 shipping (~$AU9,370)
Pure Air Pro Second Generation
Pure took their market-leading top-tier model and made it even better with the second generation Pure Air Pro, an exceptional choice for an e-scooter no matter what the context. It’s one of the few electric scooters you’ll find with sturdy water resistance, given it was built with the UK’s typical weather in mind. In terms of power, expect three settings able to be toggled from the multifunction display unit, all milking plenty of performance out of the 500W motor which features unique mapping offering better, tighter control. With a high carrying capacity of 120kg, it’s one of the best high-end commuter scooters you’ll find for both beginners and advanced riders.
Max range: 49km
Price: £599.00 (~AU$1,091)
Segway Ninebot KickScooter E45
Ninebot is one of the most reliable electric scooter brands available in Australia, so it’s not unusual to see their highly compact E45 KickScooter zipping around the city streets. The convenience is one of the key factors for this ride, which is touted as the brand’s highest selling electric scooter to date. The body folds easily to a height of 14-inches in just one button press, making all the power easy to carry around for office workers. It’s no chump on the speed either, with a perfectly serviceable top speed of 30km/h – not quite RE90 speed, but ideal for everyday use. There’s no wonder it’s the most popular electric scooter on Amazon.
Max range: 45km
Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2
The Chinese tech company isn’t just all about smartphones and laptops. Turns out they are quite nifty when it comes to producing adult-appropriate electric scooters that are amongst some of the most popular on the market. And that’s for good reason, with the Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2 being the top pick of the lot for its sturdy Aerospace-grade aluminium body, three-speed modes, and high safety lithium battery. The fifth-generation BMS smart battery management system helps keep the 600W motor running for a 45km max range. And when it’s not in use, it takes just 3 seconds to fold this bad boy up so you can easily lug this onto public transport.
Max range: 45km
The price of a Dualtron Thunder should tell you pretty much all you need to know about how highly regarded this particular electric scooter is amongst enthusiasts. At $5,499, it’s easily one of the priciest options out there, but gives you quite a lot in return, taking the highly acclaimed Dualtron Ultra and supersizing the specs. You’ve got a hefty top speed of 80km/h and three speed modes to tap into the 60x 35Ah battery. The premium build is defined by 11-inch tubeless road tires and 15-level adjustable suspension for superior flexibility… and safety; you’ve got hydraulic brakes and ABS here, so any reservations about that top speed should hopefully be quelled knowing that this brand has gone all out to ensure the highest levels of stability.
Max range: 90km
Kaabo Wolf Warrior 11 Plus
The Kaabo Wolf Warrior 11 Plus is one of the most premium models you can buy in the increasingly widening world of electric scooters. It’s not uncommon to see this this model rated as the best scooter in the world by consumers, built with absolute strength in mind with 11-inch off-road tyres and full hydraulic brakes. The 35Ah Samsung battery is bolstered by sustained output and a power efficiency so well-designed that you can milk a top range of 150km from this without having to charge it back up. Under that sleek build you’ve got dual 1200W motors outputting a total of 5400W of instantaneous power, tough enough to dominate hills up to a 45-degree gradient. It’s ideal for those who want to take their e-scooter outside of the city and truly test it out on varying terrain.
Max range: 150km
Bird One Electric Scooter
It might be thanks to some slick marketing, but Bird has emerged as one of the trendiest players when it comes to the market for the best electric scooters in 2021. If the name sounds familiar its because Bird, a California based company, is in the shared-scooter business in over 100 cities and has become one of the dominant players on the scene. A max range of 40km should keep city-dwellers more than satisfied, as will the very responsive brake system, custom-designed semi-solid tubeless wheels, and tough steel-reinforced aluminium lightweight frame. It’d be safe to expect a top speed of 29km/h from the Bird One’s 12.8Ah battery and 300W motor – which is a few cuts above what you could usually expect from an e-scooter intended for the urban environment.
Max range: 40km
E-TWOW GT 2020 Smart Edition
Ultraportable, intuitive, and super convenient, the E-TWOW GT 2020 Smart Edition is a no-brainer when looking for something incredibly lightweight (it’s 13kg) and super reliable. The 500W (peak 700W) engine is quite fast as well, with a top speed of around 40km/h and a dependable range of up to 50km. Although it’s the build that attracts most of the acclaim for this model, a bastion of utility and convenience with a very easy to use one-step folding mechanism thanks to seamless design.
Max range: 50km
Feeling more like a motorcycle? Make sure to check out this list for the 12 best motorcycle helmets in 2021.