The new Carrera impel is-2 isn’t the cheapest e-scooter out there but it offers a lot of value and a big battery
- Strong frame
- Big battery
- Dual cable-operated disc brakes
We’ve already reviewed the first version of this e-scooter, the Carrera impel is-1 and liked it enough to give it a four-star Recommended rating. The recently launched Carrera impel is-2 has several worthwhile upgrades, but with so many other new models hitting the market just recently is it still worth buying over the competition?
Carrera impel is-2 review: What do you get for the money?
The impel is-2 retains the chunky looks of the is-1 and that means it’s one of the best-made e-scooters out there. It has a solid metal deck with a rubberised, grippy platform, and a large, solid-looking frame member connects it to a chunky hinge and stem.
There are several upgraded features for the is-2, perhaps most notably a bigger battery, which increases in capacity from 280Wh to 460Wh – that’s pretty big for an e-scooter. The battery sits underneath the deck and is enclosed in a tough metal casing, which looks like it offers good protection. It will need to, as the bigger battery sits a bit lower and will be more prone to scrapes and knocks on kerb drop-offs and the like.
Of course, the welcome upside of the bigger battery is more range: specifically, the impel is-2 adds four extra miles, taking the maximum range from 18 to 22 miles. There are also larger wheels, increasing in size from 8.5 inches to ten inches. Also added is a cruise control feature, and the rider weight rating has risen from 100kg to 120kg.
Other welcome features carried over from the is-1 include a rear 350W-rated motor, front and rear cable-operated disc brakes, IPX5 water-resistance (which means it’s rated to resist streams of low-pressure water), an electronic alarm and cable lock, and a multifunctional LED display.
The bigger wheels and larger capacity battery mean a slightly bigger folded package (48 x 115 x 51cm) and a significantly heavier one, with weight increasing from an already comparatively weighty 17kg to 19.6kg on my scales.
I was particularly impressed with the quick, easy and secure folding. The front hinge has a kind of double securing mechanism that’s hard to describe but means the base of the stem locks very solidly when the hinge is closed. The top of the handlebar post also “clips” onto the rear mudguard securely, unlike a lot of other designs, which are prone to coming unfastened if knocked. Because of the design that simply can’t happen here.
Carrera impel is-2 review: How does it ride?
The deck on the impel is-2 is fine for most sizes of rider and the surface is plenty grippy. It’s not as big as some, though, so it might not be as well suited to bigger riders as rivals such as the Indi IX-2.
The layout of the handlebar controls is just like on the Carrera impel is-1: the throttle is next to the right grip, with power level, on-off and security unlock buttons on the left side. A small LED display in the middle of the handlebars shows your speed, assistance level, battery status and miles travelled.
There are four speed levels, although I tended to keep it in the top and fastest one, which gets you up to about 16mph on a slight downhill. Power is smooth and easy to apply and it gave reasonable hill-climbing performance up my standard steep hill test, the motor dropping to about 7mph at full throttle in top power mode (for reference, I weigh about 70kg). You need to be going a couple of mph for the throttle to kick in. I’m not a fan of this kind of feature, and there’s no way to disable it, but I can see why it’s there as a safety feature.
A new feature on the impel is-2 is cruise control; holding the throttle down for six seconds will activate it and that means you don’t have to keep your thumb pressed down on long, flat sections. Maybe I’m a control freak but I like full control of the acceleration at all times, so again, it was a pity there was no apparent way to disable this feature.
I found the dual cable-operated discs brakes pretty effective (some much cheaper scooters have only a single brake, which itself can be slow and worryingly unpowerful). They can also be adjusted to back them off if you feel they’re a bit too aggressive or to tighten them up if you feel they’re unresponsive. The online manual for the impel is-2 gives useful, detailed instructions on how to do this by moving the brake pads nearer or further away from the discs.
The 10in tyres roll nicely on- and off-road and helped even out ruts and tree roots. A nice bonus is a layer of anti-puncture material under the rubber. I’d like to see more airless tyres on e-scooters given the difficulties punctures can involve but anti-puncture lining on pneumatics like those featured on the impel is-2 is the next best thing.
I managed 13 miles of range on my mixed surface, hilly test course using level 4 power at all times. However, using lower-power modes on less hilly terrain I can see riders of a similar weight to me (70kg) easily achieving 25 miles or more from a single charge.
Front and rear LED lights are very effective, providing plenty of illumination on unlit paths and the rear light being highly visible.
Carrera impel is-2 review: Should you buy one?
As noted already, the Carerra impel is-2 is similar in many respects to the Carrera impel is-1 and currently retails at £549, £150 more than the impel is-1’s £399.
Smaller riders who aren’t going any further than 15-20 miles on a charge may well be happy with the lighter impel is-1. However, if you want more range and the ability to handle slightly rougher surfaces offered by the bigger battery capacity and larger wheels of the impel is-2 then it’s an equally solid buy. Bigger, heavier riders in particular might be tempted by it. The high construction standards of both machines mean you should get an e-scooter with lasting quality that will stand up to a good amount of daily use.
In terms of direct competitors the model to beat still remains the Pure Air, as it has similar solid construction and a powerful motor like the impel is-2 but is currently retailing at £399. But with its dual braking system and larger battery, the impel is-2 is certainly worth considering.
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E-scooter use in the UK
Despite the fact that they’re now a common sight in UK cities, you should be aware that private electric scooters are currently classified as “personal light electric vehicles” in the UK, which means that you’re only legally allowed to use them on private land with the landowner’s permission. If you’re caught riding one on roads or pavements, you could be fined and receive six points on your driving licence. This situation may be about to change, however, with the UK government setting out plans to expand the legal use of e-scooters in the Queen’s Speech on 10 May 2022. The only way you can currently ride an e-scooter legally in the UK is to rent one via one of the legal pilot schemes operating in some cities.