Equipped with two big solar panels, this self-sufficient e-scooter is one of the more unusual exhibits we’ve seen at IFA 2023
E-scooters are becoming an increasingly common sight on the roads and cycle paths of the UK’s big cities these days and there’s a very good reason for that. They’re a fast, quiet and – most importantly – environmentally friendly way to get from A to B.
With energy prices being so high right now, however, they’re no longer as cheap to run as they once were. Enter the German-made Fine Home Solar E-Scooter – a mad-looking machine festooned with solar panels that aims to be the ultimate in sustainable travel.
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Solar E-Scooter: Key specifications
- 350W motor
- 20km/h maximum speed
- 468Wh battery
- 35km range
- 2x integrated solar panels
- 7-14hr charging time
- 10in wheels
- Dual front disc brakes
- IPX4 water resistance
Solar E-Scooter: Design, features and first impressions
It’s certainly an unusual-looking thing. Where most e-scooters are slim and skinny, this scooter is unashamedly brutish in design. It has super-chunky tubing all around, thick, sturdy mudguards and hugely wide tyres to keep the thing planted on the road.
It’s also very wide but that’s to accommodate two whacking great solar panels: one mounted on the front of the scooter, and one that doubles up as the main deck. Park it outside in full sun and it’ll charge itself without you having to plug it into the mains at all. The caveat is that it takes between seven and 14 hours to fully charge its 468Wh lithium-ion battery.
Naturally, though, it will top itself up while you’re riding around on it outdoors and the manufacturer has such confidence in its charging abilities that it’s making a mains charging point an optional extra.
Aside from its outlandish appearance, the Fine Home Solar E-Scooter appears to have a pretty solid specification. It comes in five different colours – orange, pink, green, black, red and blue – with or without a seat and with or without an integrated rear luggage rack.
All models come with integrated front and rear LED lights and mudguards. The motor is a hub unit mounted in the rear wheel, which is rated at 350W, and this is good for speeds up to 20km/h and gradients up to 18%. “Typical range” is quoted at 35km and there are beefy-looking dual disc brakes at the front and a drum brake at rear for stopping the thing. Impressively, it’s built well enough to accommodate riders up to 150kg in weight.
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Those brakes will definitely come in handy, too, because this thing is a beast, weighing in at around 40kg – that’s heavier than most e-bikes, let alone e-scooters. The other problem with it is that it’s bulky. It doesn’t fold up, so you need not only to have somewhere secure outside to keep it during the day so it can charge but you’d also need to have plenty of space inside to keep it locked away.
I love the idea of an e-scooter that can be completely charged by the sun but, to be brutally honest, the Fine Home Solar is not a particularly practical proposition, especially not for the sun-shy United Kingdom. Still, it’s great to see something that’s a little different in the e-scooter space and not just another Xiaomi clone.