Even though Europe is ripe with scooters zipping around its streets, the variety and options for all-electric scooters don’t come close to matching those of gas scooters.
That may not be the case for long though, as an increasing number of electric scooter options are becoming available every month. Yesterday, the Chinese company Niu unveiled their two latest electric scooters that have been developed specifically for the European market. Niu is aggressively targeting Europe with its new electric scooters, focusing on young, stylish consumers that are likely to make up a large portion of the growing electric scooter market.
The two new electric scooters were unveiled in style at the Louvre Museum in Paris, where the company pitched the scooters to hundreds of journalists in the audience.
The Niu M+ scooter is the entry model based on the existing Niu M-series line of scooters, but upgraded to accommodate two riders. The M+ comes with a removable Li-ion battery pack built with Panasonic 18650 cells and which can be charged in 3.5 hours.
Niu claims that a full battery charge should last for 130 km (81 mi) and comes with a 3 year warranty. The slick-looking battery comes in a rigid case with folding carry handle, making it easy to remove to charge indoors, like many other electric scooters. Niu estimates the battery to last for 5 years of use based on its cycle life rating.
The Niu M+ comes in two varieties, Sport and Pro. The M+ Sport’s battery is 1.5 kWh, while the M+ Pro’s battery is 2 kWh.
Under the hood, so to speak, the Niu M+ includes a vector FOC controller and a Bosch motor rated for 800 W in the M+ Sport and 1.2 kW in the M+ Pro. The M+ scooters destined for European markets are outfitted with the German-made Bosch motor, while domestic scooters for the Chinese market will reportedly have Chinese motors.
Niu hasn’t yet revealed the top speed of the M+, but the M series scooter that it is based on has a top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph), which usually allows it to legally fit into the looser legislated class of sub-50 cc scooters.
Niu is also touting their short stopping distances with dual-wheel hydraulic brakes and rear wheel regenerative braking, citing a wet and dry stopping distance of 1.8 m and 1.4 m, respectively.
A smart app accompanies the scooter, which allows the rider to check a series of diagnostics. According to the company:
The Cloud ECU’s powerful data capabilities let you check 17 different vehicle statistics such as location, riding history, vehicle status, and power statistics in real-time on the mobile app. You also get access to vehicle diagnostics, anti-theft alerts, and after-sales service.
The app also works with the scooter’s built-in GPS to track down the scooter if it is ever stolen.
The Niu M+ is priced at €2,299 ($2,700) in Europe.
For those seeking more power, the Niu N-GT scooter might be right for you. The N-GT has a similar form factor to the M+, but upgrades a number of features.
Most notably, the N-GT has an upgraded 3 kW Bosch motor, which allows the scooter to reach a higher top speed of 70 km/h (43.5 mph) and climb a grade of 28%, making this scooter’s performance more akin to a 125 cc gas scooter.
The N-GT has a maximum range of 170 km (106 mi), and uses two separate battery packs, with one located under the seat and the other located under the rider’s feet. Just like the M+, the N-GT’s battery packs come with a 3 year warranty and are rated for 5 years of service based on their cycle life.
The N-GT also comes with the same cloud-based app, but includes an increased number of sensors spread throughout the scooter.
The extra speed, range and features increase the price of the N-GT to €4,499 ($5,300) in Europe and position it squarely in the higher-end scooter class.
Sales of the M+ and the N-GT scooters are expected to begin in 2019.
Having more options for electric scooters is a good thing for consumers, and Niu is certainly helping to crowd the European market.
The demand is definitely there for these kinds of scooters. Electric motorcycle registrations in Europe have apparently doubled this year, and electric scooter registrations are up 50%. People are obviously moving towards electric two-wheelers.
Niu’s two scooters seem nicely positioned to take advantage of the increased demand. The M+ is fairly inexpensive (by European electric scooter standards) and would be a great scooter for riding within a city. The N-GT will serve the needs of most people who want to commute between cities, but the price is starting to get a bit costly at over $5,300 – likely to approach the price of the new electric Vespa when it is released.
Of course, you have to remember who Niu is targeting with these scooters: young, fashion-forward scooter buyers. To this new wave of electric scooters buyers, the price could very well be worth it for a sleek and fresh looking ride.
What do you think of the Niu scooters? Will they work for Europe? Let us know in the comments below.