British import ends up in the market between e-bikes and motorcycles
Story of Steve Schäfer; Photos from the manufacturer
The British brand Zapp presented its first electrically powered two-wheeled city bike i300 on August 4th in Michigan. The stylish scooter is due to hit the market next year to fight in the market segment between e-bikes and Vespa clones on the one hand and traditional motorcycles on the other. The Thailand-built i300 is part of a global wave of transportation that is moving from fossil fuel to electrical energy.
Zapp’s press kit claims that its bikes compete in a $ 109 billion global market that is becoming electric much faster than the auto market. And given the COVID-19 concerns that are driving some commuters to avoid public transportation, private two-wheelers should see a boom in the next few years.
It has the look
The i300 definitely looks good and fun, with its load-bearing aerospace-grade alloy exoskeleton over a chrome-molybdenum steel tube that is reasonably similar to a lightning strike. Pretty alloy wheels add to the attractiveness. You can personalize your ride by choosing one of seven colors including Guards Red, Old English White, and Powder Blue. You also get three seating options and five wheel options / colors.
What could be even more attractive is the performance of the two-wheeler. Zapp claims the 20 horsepower (18 kilowatts / kW) engine drove the motorcycle from 0 to 31 mph in 2.35 seconds and from 0 to 43 in just over four seconds (these odd speeds translate to kilometers) Pulls. The top speed is stated to be 60 mph – plenty for city life considering these aren’t highway trips. As with battery-powered cars, a low center of gravity also makes for great handling.
Many electric bikes have built-in batteries, which means they need to be charged outside or in your garage. The i300 has two removable air-cooled 1.4 kilowatt-hour batteries that weigh about 12 pounds each. The batteries can be charged from 20 to 80 percent in less than an hour using standard 110-volt electricity.
Range and performance
Range is always a question with electric vehicles. The easily rechargeable packs and intended city driving shouldn’t mean range anxiety with the published range of around 60 miles in Eco mode. The eco mode limits the power to 4 kW; the power mode is 11kW and the ZAPP mode is 18kW. Plan for much less range with these higher settings, but a hefty two-mile drive at higher speeds isn’t a problem if you have time to top up your batteries on the other end.
The i300 stands five feet tall, stretches 6.4 feet long, and weighs 202 pounds. It is in the target area between light e-bikes and full-blown motorcycles.
The price for the Carbon Launch Edition is $ 8,995; the regular model costs $ 7,495. In a world of $ 25,000 entry-level cars, that’s not bad, and the i300 is a fair bit more than a $ 2,000 e-bike. California and other states have clean vehicle incentive and discount programs and a federal tax credit is available. Check online for options as these programs may not currently be funded.
Zapp starts in Paris and will be rolled out in other European cities in the fourth quarter of 2021. Asia and the US will see i300 in the first quarter of 2022 if Zapp’s plans work. Scooters are sold online and delivered directly to customers. Zapp is planning a fleet of service vehicles to take care of maintenance and problems. Of course, electric motors are much more reliable and maintenance-free than gasoline burners, so with a little luck you won’t need service for a while.
See Zapps website for more information and to join their mailing list.
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