Yamaha offers cleaner, quieter electric alternative to 50-cc scooters
Electric scooters offer an economical, eco-friendly way for city folk to zip through the streets without having to pump away at ebike pedals, and Yamaha has just launched its first "50-cc equivalent" model for the European market – the 2022 Neo's, complete with annoying apostrophe.
The new Neo's is essentially an all-electric equivalent of the kind of 50-cc scooters that Yamaha has been producing since the 1990s, such as the BW, Aerox and the Neo's model itself. The company also has form in the electric scoot space, displaying its first model at the 1991 Tokyo Motor Show and releasing a number of electric models in Asian countries in the years since.
The Yamaha Neo's 2022 edition is its first 50-cc equivalent model to launch in the European market and is billed as an affordable zero-emissions ride, though no pricing has been revealed at this point.
It features a second generation Integrated Power Unit with a newly-developed 2.3-kW direct-drive air-cooled rear hub motor that's reported to make for a smooth and quiet ride – the company's own tests data has recorded the Neo's at some 55 dB from seven meters (23 ft) away, while the combustion engine equivalent measured some 72 dB.
There are no gears or clutch to be concerned with, riders can reportedly look forward to "plenty of torque at all throttle openings for instant performance." Two drive modes are available – a standard level delivers 2.06 kW at 40 km/h (25 mph), while an eco flavor limits power to 1.58 kW and lowers the top speed to 35 km/h (22 mph) to eke a little more ride time out of the battery.
The in-house 50.4-V/19.2-Ah Li-ion battery pack is located below the seat, and can be removed for charging indoors. It's reckoned to offer a per-charge range of around 37 km (23 miles) – or up to 38.5 km (24 miles) in eco mode based on Yamaha's in-house testing – which isn't huge but should be enough for quick trips through city streets on the way to work or for groceries.
Onboard control systems will automatically reduce power when the battery is low – with a playful turtle icon lighting up on the dash – but if an optional second battery has been connected up, then that same system will auto switch to extend the range up to 68 km (42 miles).
We're not really sure that this is a particularly good idea for riders in heavy city traffic, but the Neo's features a comms unit that can pair with a smartphone running a companion app and notify the rider when calls or messages are received, displaying alerts on the LCD instrument panel.
More usefully perhaps, users can access ride info such as battery status, route tracking and a parking locator via the app, and riding experiences can be shared with other users, journey information exported and tips on new places to visit can be sourced from other community members.
The Neo's wears a stripped back, clean aesthetic common to its predecessors, but with some new bodywork tweaks that give it a character of its own.
It comes in either black or white, with eye-catching aqua-colored accenting on the battery cover that the company says is destined to become a Yamaha electric vehicle signature. Rubber scuff protectors help shield the bodywork from any minor bumps encountered during the daily commutes.
A variety of rider heights and physiques are accommodated by a 795-mm (31.2-in) seat height and large foot space, and that seat can be popped open to store a helmet or shopping. The 13-inch, 10-spoke front wheel is wrapped in a 110/70 low-resistance tire, while the rear cast rim that's bolted to the direct-drive motor and supported by a single-sided swing arm has a chunkier 130/70 tire. And the e-scoot rocks LED "twin-eye" headlights surrounded by rings of white.
The Neo's 2.5-kW AM license class electric scooter will go on sale in Europe from May, pricing has yet to be announced.
Product page: 2022 Neo's