Saturday 10 December 2016

A skoot around town

It might look like an eccentric throwback to childhood, but this electric scooter packs a punch

Terence Cosgrave

Published 12/07/2015 | 02:30

Terence Cosgrave on his E-Skoot electric scooter
Terence Cosgrave on his E-Skoot electric scooter

It's literally a "no sweat" commute, feels a bit like skiing and could revolutionise urban travel in Ireland - if you don't mind reverting to childhood pastimes and looking slightly eccentric.

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The E-Skoot, a battery-powered scooter can reach a speed of 25km per hour on its own power and has a range of 35km. It also recharges fully in two hours by plugging it into an ordinary house socket.

Is it a bicycle for the purposes of the new €40 fines to be applied to cyclists breaking the rules of the road?

Well, that's hard to say as legislation is struggling to keep up with new forms of transport coming on the market.

It's not categorised as a 'self-propelled vehicle' as you must use your leg to push start it, but then it's also not in the bicycle category either.

And if the plans of the National Transport Authority to pedestrianise Dublin city centre go ahead, it could become a viable mode of transport in Dublin and other urban areas.

I tried it last week on a Dublin suburban run of six kilometres between Cabinteely and Dalkey. Despite numerous hills along the way, I completed the journey in just under 16 minutes, or at an average speed of 22.5km per hour.

That's about the same speed reached on a steady spin by those weekend warriors in on carbon road bikes.

It was also a bit of craic and brought me back to my school days and I soon got used to startled stares from other road users.

It can travel as slow as walking pace in congested areas with decent stability, and then can pick up speed quickly when congestion clears.

Though the top of the range model costs €1,100, including taxes, it is incredibly cheap to run. The Irish stockists reckon that the battery can be kept charged for €1 per year. The retail price is about the same as a decent quality road bike.

The Irish company behind the E-Skoot believes it will make life easier for commuters as the device folds up and is light enough to be carried on buses and trams.

"The problem for many commuters is that public transport in Ireland is limited," says Joe Meaney, of E-Skoot.

"When they get off their bus or tram at either end, they may still have quite a way to go. We're hoping the scooter will allow people to save time and money by being able to cut down their commute times."

It has an advantage over cycling in that very little effort is required to travel. Nor is any special clothing necessary, bar a recommended helmet.

You just step on and press the 'go' button and your speed is regulated by the pressure applied. It has a headlight which comes on automatically in the dark.

Most importantly, it has enough power to travel up a 25pc incline, which is more than enough to travel on most roads within urban areas.

It's the most fun I've had in city traffic in years. More details at www.e-skoot.com

Terence Cosgrave blogs about the E-Skoot at www.liversalts.com

Sunday Independent

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