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Emicro One scooter review - one day all scooters will be built like this

Seth Barton
8 Mar 2016
eMicro One scooter
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
750
inc VAT

A sublime electric scooter but the Emicro One is very expensive and legally ambiguous

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Specifications

Motor: 500W, Battery capacity: 82Wh, Range: 10-15km, Charging time: 1 hour, Weight: 7.5kg, Dimensions: 780x490x250 (folded)

Venture near any primary school at turning-out time and you’ll see hordes of kids riding a variety of tiny scooters, with the vast majority of them being made by Micro from Switzerland. The dominant scooter brand has long made grown-up-sized models as well, which let you speed through town without having to take to the road on a bike. It’s a huge deal then, when Micro decides the time is right to release it first electric scooter, the Emicro One.

The Emicro One is an utterly different beast to most electric scooters, and a world away from the recent fuss and hoo-hah over so-called hoverboards. While most such devices are very ‘look at me’, the Emicro looks practically identical to similar models in Micro’s standard range.

The only visual giveaway, except for the altered logo and badging, are four battery indicator LEDs on the deck (that’s the bit you stand on). It looks like a normal scooter and more importantly it rides like a normal scooter, too. If you can scoot, then you can ride the Emicro, though it takes a while to get used to the subtle differences.

eMicro One scooter

Smooth ride

There’s no throttle, lever or buttons, as the electric motor, which is housed in the oversized rear wheel, provides a boost of power whenever you kick. This ‘assisted scooting’ helps you zip up to top speed in no time, and then you can keep it there with just the occasional light push, or by simply shifting your bodyweight forward in a kind of rocking motion. It can hit 25kmh (over 15mph), which feels very fast on two little wheels. The scooter knows if you’re going uphill, too, and adjusts the power output accordingly to compensate.

It’s an incredible feeling, and the power flows naturally as you push, allowing you to simply coast along at speeds that previously would have left you a desperate kicking mess. It put a huge grin on my face and I couldn’t wait to get back on it and head home after work. There are three modes, so you can get used to it before unleashing its full power (mode-power-top speed):

Eco mode - 250 Watt - 15 km/h

Standard mode - 250 Watt - 25 km/h

Sport mode - 500 Watt - 25 km/h

If you want to come to a stop you simply brake by pressing down on the pedal at the rear, as usual. As you brake, the motor switches off and transfers any remaining momentum back into the battery via a regenerative braking system. That’s in addition to the friction effect of the brake when fully applied, meaning the scooter comes to a stop rather quickly.

eMicro One scooter rear wheel

If you’re used to riding a scooter then you’ll need to use the brake more often than usual. I usually hop off the scooter to stop at low speeds, but if the motor is assisting you at the time, this can result in an unexpected rearing-up wheelie as you take your weight off the deck. You get used to it pretty quickly, though.

Unlike some of the latest models, there’s no suspension here. The new dual-material wheels do help make for a smoother-than-normal ride. However, the higher average speed means that rougher surfaces (such as the roads and pavements of Soho) are more uncomfortable than usual, with lots of vibration coming up through the handlebars. On the plus side, you can power through those lumps and bumps now, rather than being slowed to a crawl.

eMicro One scooter front wheel

Grey area

After the kerfuffle around hoverboards, the legality of any electric-powered vehicle is under scrutiny. The Emicro One might look like an ordinary scooter, but it does give out a high-pitch whine when it's in action that will leave others in no doubt that it’s a little different. At present, though, the rarity of such devices and its slender appearance with no apparent controls should mean you’ll 'scoot' under the radar, so to speak.

Legally speaking, you’re not allowed to ride it on the pavement with the electrical assist engaged. For regular scooting, you can triple-tap the brake pedal to deactivate the motor and scoot as normal, but that’s not really what you spent £750 on a scooter for. Having said that, the legal status of riding even a regular micro scooter (skateboard or child’s bike) on the pavement is a grey area, so you’re not exactly on your own here. While you might get away with riding it on pavements, riding it on the road is definitely forbidden.

Of course, if you happen to have a huge private campus with miles of smooth pavement you’re in luck, and I imagine tech millionaires and rich college students have their pre-orders in already.

eMicro One scooter and katharine

Battery life

The battery pack is packed away below the deck. It charges in an hour using the supplied charger, which looks similar to the one you’d get with most laptops and isn’t a hassle to carry around if need be. The range of the scooter is hard to judge, as it depends on how fast you’re going, the surfaces, hills and even temperature (batteries don’t work well in cold weather). That said, you should get around 10-15km out of a full charge.

The battery is good for around 1,000 cycles before it will start to fade in terms of performance and capacity. Micro recommend that you have the scooter serviced every couple of years, and I’m just checking how much that will cost. The battery has a one-year warranty (or 1,000 cycles) and the rest of the scooter has a two-year warranty.

eMicro One scooter battery indicators

Like other Micro scooters, the Emicro folds up, so it’s easy to store and easy to carry on public transport. At 7.5kg, it’s around 2kg heavier than typical scooters its size, although it’s impressive given all the extra kit that’s been packed in. I found it OK to carry for short distances, but others on the team balked at the extra weight. If you spend more time carrying your scooter than riding it, then you’ve been warned.

eMicro One scooter carried

Conclusion

So it’s expensive, a bit on the heavy side and legally dubious for day-to-day use, but this is easily the most refined electric scooter yet and a real joy to ride. Other examples are weighty and ugly-looking at best, but then the Emicro costs many times more than any of them.

If you’re looking for a stylish and low-key electric scooter, this is your only real option. There’s nothing like its power-assist system on the market (or, if there is, then please get in touch and I’ll be happy to try it out). So if you’re looking for an incredibly cool commuting tool, maybe as an alternative to say a Brompton, this might just be it. The Emicro One is the future of scooters, and once the price drops a little I’ll be buying one.

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