Americans might have to Google the term P2W, but in the rest of the world, “powered-two-wheels” are a definite thing. In Bangkok, Thailand, there’s a $4 billion business delivering 1.5 million of these things each year. China moved 17.1 million in 2020, India: 14.8 million. The United States? Just 800,000. And the P2W market is electrifying quickly. China’s already at about 20 percent, and some 5 percent of the 1.5 million P2Ws sold in Europe in 2020 were e-bikes and scooters (and all these figures are for vehicles you sit on, no Lime or Bird stand-up scooters). A British company called Zapp is looking to grab a significant share of the global P2W market ($109 billion in 2020), which is growing as COVID concerns continue to depress public transportation ridership.
Step-Through Scooter and Green Construction
The Zapp i300 is a stylish step-through design, which makes it handier to climb on and off of than a step-over bike—especially in a dress or skirt. It features a load-bearing aluminum exoskeletal seat structure and body riding on a chromoly steel frame and no-oven no-autoclave composite bodywork that largely eliminates the use of plastic. Curb weight is stated at 200 pounds, and it’s rated to carry 350 pounds. A low parts count combined with low-energy manufacturing and high recyclability allow the i300 to deliver on the company’s commitment to Gen-2 full-cycle sustainability.
The i300’s electric motor produces a very scooterlike 20 hp. However, it generates higher torque across more of the rev range than do many of the high-strung combustion engines in superbikes. Torque peaks at 63 lb-ft in the i300, which does indeed top that of at least three current superbikes we spot-checked for comparison: the Honda CBR 650F (90 hp and 45 lb-ft), the Kawasaki Ninja 650 (67 hp and 47 lb-ft), and the Triumph Daytona 765 Moto2 (128 hp and 59 lb-ft). But those 20 horses are only available in Zapp mode. The motor’s default power peak is 10 ponies, which certainly won’t deliver superbike acceleration. Top speed is governed at 60 mph.
Drive Everywhere, Charge Anywhere
A big selling feature of the i300 for urban dwellers is its battery setup, which mounts two 13-pound batteries the size and shape of a laptop computer within the floor. This makes it easy to simply bring the scooter’s 2.8-kWh worth of batteries into the home or office to recharge. Topping up a fully empty battery reportedly takes just under two hours, using conventional household 110- or 220-volt electricity, and charging from 20 to 80 percent takes less than an hour.
Zapp claims that the i300 can deliver 26 miles per kWh of energy coming from the batteries—a sum it says exceeds the best efficiency of any four-wheeled EV by a factor of five. Total claimed range is 37 miles, which Zapp reckons exceeds most urban commutes (or at least most one-way commutes).
Production in Thailand keeps the price of this Scooter down, with the entry-level Zapp i300 set to start at $7,495. A fancier Carbon Launch Edition is due to run $8,995. Both prices are before any applicable electric vehicle tax incentives, which Zapp says could trim $3,000 from those sums in some states and municipalities.
When Can I Buy a Zapp i300?
If you live in Paris, expect the first retail store to open soon, with most of Europe getting the i300 in the fourth quarter of 2021. Customers in the U.S. and Asia will have to wait until the first quarter of 2022. Zapp expects to market the i300 primarily online, with delivery via “drop-ship direct to customer.” Many markets will employ “Zapper” vans to make such deliveries, as well as to provide maintenance and repair service support.
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