In the last three years, NIU has produced and sold over 500,00 electric scooters that have driven over 1 billion kilometers. Earlier this year, NIU’s unveiled a new line of electric scooters specifically designed for the European market.
Now the company is expanding sales around the world, taking reservations for pre-orders with a $118 (€100) deposit.
NIU brings its electric scooters to the world
NIU’s scooters have been highly regarded in Europe and Asia. Founded in 2015, the company has long been considered the “Apple of scooters” in China due to the scooters’ sleek and high tech designs.
Now NIU has set its sights globally, hoping to capitalize on the growing electric scooter trend around the world.
According to the company:
“Since our launch, NIU has gone from an idea to the #1 Smart Electric Scooter brand in the world. From Shanghai to Paris to Santiago, you can see NIU scooters zipping around globally across cities.”
The company is now offering an approximately 10% discount on the scooters pre-ordered this month. Deliveries are expected to be completed by this January.
There are three models of scooters available in the pre-order program: The M+, NGT, and N Pro.
NIU M+ electric scooter
The NIU M+ is the more entry-level scooter among the three offerings due to its electronically limited top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph).
However, it still packs some impressive specs. The internal battery, built from Panasonic battery cells, is 48 V and 42 Ah for a total capacity of 2 kWh. That’s enough for 100 km (62 mi) of range. When you’re ready to recharge, the battery is removable and can be fast charged in just 3.5 hours. The battery is a bit hefty, at 11 kg (24 lbs), but it’s certainly easier to carry the battery up to your apartment for charging than the entire scooter.
The NIU M+ features a 1.2 kW rear hub motor made by Bosch. Brakes are accomplished through both regenerative braking and disc brakes with an anti-lock braking feature.
The retail price of the NIU M+ will be €2,599, but it is available for €2,299 ($2,633) via the pre-order program. As most countries involved in the pre-order are located in Europe, that price includes the EU’s 19% Value Added Tax. The ultimate retail price in non-EU countries, including the US, could be lower once the scooter becomes available for sale locally.
NIU NGT and NGT Pro electric scooter
For those looking for more speed and power, the NIU NGT is for you. The NGT reaches a top speed of 70 km/h (44 mph).
Those higher speeds are reachable due to a combination of a higher voltage battery and more powerful Bosch motor.
The NIU NGT features two battery packs also made with Panasonic cells. The 14 kg (31 lb) batteries are each 60 V and 35 Ah (2.1 kWh). That results in a total capacity of 4.2 kWh, which is relatively high for electric scooters.
Range for the NGT is 100 km (62 mi) with both battery packs or 50 km (31 mi) with a single battery.
The rear hub motor is a 3 kW Bosch motor, which also features regenerative braking to compliment the NGT’s disc brake controlled braking system (CBS). CBS is a safety feature that links the front and rear brakes. It can prevent over-braking on either wheel, helping to safely distribute braking force at higher speeds.
The price of the NIU NGT after the pre-order period will be €4,499, but the scooter will be available for €3,999 ($4,578) via the pre-order program. This price may also be lower in non-EU countries, as it currently includes the 19% VAT.
In addition to the NGT, NIU is also offering the NGT Pro. The two scooters are identical, except that the NGT Pro is electronically limited to 45 km/h (28 mph), which makes it legal for use without a motorcycle license in many countries. That would put the NGT Pro in the same legal category as the NIU M+.
Additional technology in NIU electric scooters
NIU’s electric scooters include a number of high-tech features.
Over-the-air updates can be pushed to the scooters, keeping it constantly updated with the latest firmware.
The scooters include an on-board computer that constantly beams its internal data to the cloud. Riders can monitor vehicle diagnostics, GPS and theft alerts remotely from their smartphone. The smartphone app also tracks ride history and shows weather, maps, battery status and other useful data.
NIU electric scooter pre-order process
NIU is currently accepting $118 (€100) deposits towards a purchase of one of their three new scooters. After the pre-order period ends in two weeks, customers can reserve their model and paint color online, somewhat similar to the Tesla online ordering process.
In January, the scooters will be available for pickup at local dealerships in 27 countries. Customers will then pay the difference at pickup, taking advantage of the discounted price awarded to pre-order holders.
In addition, NIU is sweetening the pot by including €300 worth of free accessories for the first 3,000 pre-order holders. The accessories include a helmet case stand, back rest, scooter cover, winter leg cover, smartphone holder and 3 years of free data telemetry.
According to NIU, the following countries are eligible to take part in the pre-order:
In Europe: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal.
In Asia/Oceana: Israel (NGT only), Malaysia (M+ only), South Korea, New Zealand
In the Americas: Chile, Mexico (NUUV), USA (pending)
The new NIU scooter line is really quite impressive. While attending the Paris Motor Show last week, I was fortunate to see the scooters shown off at the Expo. While that was fun, it was even neater to see many current NIU scooters already scooting around Paris streets with early customers.
The company has also been expanding their global presence, including recently filing for a $150M IPO on the NYSE.
A store search on their site shows that they have their largest presence in Europe, where electric scooters are already quite popular.
In my opinion, this pre-order campaign with such a low deposit is likely a way for the company to drum up exposure for the new scooters rather than a way to actually raise funds. By offering a discount of around 10% on the scooters, they are hoping to sway over potential riders who may still be sitting on the fence in regards to switching to an electric scooter.
One thing to keep in mind is that the pre-order deposit is submitted via Indiegogo, which is a crowdfunding platform. Technically you are not buying the scooter, but simply receiving assurance from NIU that a scooter will be waiting for you in January with a discounted price and a $118 (€100) credit.
We always caution consumers to diligently consider the risks of crowdfunding campaigns. I believe in this case though, NIU is likely a safe bet due to their consistently positive track record over the past 3 years. Plus, they aren’t raising significant funds to produce the scooters. Rather, they are taking small deposits towards pre-sales of scooters.
NIU’s goal of delivering scooters in just three months is perhaps ambitious. But based on their production capacity and extensive dealer network, I think it is possible in Europe.
In the US though, I’d be surprised to see delivery that quickly. The company is still working out their plans for US deliveries. I tried to get more details from Timothy Howard, NIU’s International Senior Brand Communications Executive, but he was admirably tight-lipped due to the company’s pending IPO:
“I am not able to comment about our market strategy and future distributions in the USA. As you are aware, we have filed a registration statement on Form F-1 with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission. Due to regulations in place, we’re unable to comment further on our US expectations.”
So, my guess is your future NIU scooter will be in the US fairly soon, but maybe not January-soon. As for the rest of the world where NIU has already established operations, you all should get your toys before us here in the US. Like usual.