Motorcycles

Affordable, high-power Zapp electric city scooter makes Goodwood debut

Affordable, high-power Zapp electric city scooter makes Goodwood debut
The Zapp i300: a quick electric scooter focused on affordable commuting fun
The Zapp i300: a quick electric scooter focused on affordable commuting fun
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The Zapp i300: a quick electric scooter focused on affordable commuting fun
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The Zapp i300: a quick electric scooter focused on affordable commuting fun
Yes, it has colors
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Yes, it has colors
Bold rear wheel styling sets the bike off nicely
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Bold rear wheel styling sets the bike off nicely
Color dash and switchable regenerative braking
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Color dash and switchable regenerative braking
Huge rear belt sprocket multiplies torque for quick acceleration
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Huge rear belt sprocket multiplies torque for quick acceleration
Twin battery packs each weigh 6 kg, and can easily be removed for indoor charging
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Twin battery packs each weigh 6 kg, and can easily be removed for indoor charging
Exposed rear wheel might send a fair spray up your back in the wet
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Exposed rear wheel might send a fair spray up your back in the wet
Underfloor battery and low motor help the handling – not sure why you'd pop the seat up though, if you want to store more than a credit card
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Underfloor battery and low motor help the handling – not sure why you'd pop the seat up though, if you want to store more than a credit card
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Motorcycle-adjacent levels of performance and handling in a step-through electric scooter designed to put some fun back into your commute – that's the promise from UK startup Zapp and its high-powered i300, which is set to go up the hill at Goodwood.

Price vs range vs performance: that's the constant compromise in play with today's electric motorcycles, and the reason why so many of the ones that look so appealing carry ridiculous family-car-level price tags. Realistically, though, not even the most touring-focused electrics are really able to promise the kind of high-speed range most bikers are looking for in a Sunday fun machine. The best application for electric motorcycles as it stands today remains city commuting, which they can handle with aplomb and with next to zero fuel cost.

Zapp has focused the i300 squarely on getting you around town with zero emissions, adequate range, acceleration levels that'll give you a giggle instead of a yawn, and some proper handling. A power commuter, if you will. And on paper, it looks very well specified to do what it says on the tin.

Underfloor battery and low motor help the handling – not sure why you'd pop the seat up though, if you want to store more than a credit card
Underfloor battery and low motor help the handling – not sure why you'd pop the seat up though, if you want to store more than a credit card

Weighing just 110 kg (242.5 lb) with its two removable 720-Wh lithium-ion battery packs in, the i300 runs a belt-drive electric motor capable of a sustained 7.2 kW (9.6 hp) and a peak of 14 kW (20 hp). OK, that doesn't sound like a ton, but it's a high-torque motor capable of 85 Nm (63 lb-ft) at the crank, resulting at a highly amusing 587 Nm (433 lb-ft) of torque at the rear wheel. In performance terms, that'll get you to 30 mph (48 km/h) in 2.2 seconds, or up to the scoot's limited 60-mph (97-km/h) top speed in 4.8 seconds. A handful of throttle will get you well out in front of most traffic at the stop-light drags.

Handling credentials start with the bike's light weight, and continue with upside-down forks, a preload and rebound-adjustable rear shock, dual-channel ABS braking and the fact that the motor and battery packs are kept low and central for a very agile weight distribution.

Range? Well, with a total of just 1.44 kWh of battery storage, it ain't a lot. You can get somewhere around 37 miles (60 km) out of this thing if you whack it in Eco mode and ride it like a no-fun machine. So you'd need to pull the batteries out and give them a charge in the office to handle the average commute in the USA (39 miles/63 km), but it'll easily handle the average UK commuter's daily travel (17.2 miles/28 km). And it won't take long to charge – going from 20 to 80 percent in 30 minutes on an average wall plug, according to Zapp.

Color dash and switchable regenerative braking
Color dash and switchable regenerative braking

With its back wheel dangling in clear air under a very thin back seat, practicality does seem to be a bit of an afterthought here. You can fill that space with modular storage options, but the i300 certainly fares poorly against most scoots, which can carry a decent haul of groceries under the seat. Not to mention, that back wheel looks like it could flick a solid trail of water and mud up your back on a rainy day – although surely that'll be addressed by the time it starts to ship.

It's still unclear exactly when that will be. Zapp announced its solar-powered factory in Thailand was open back at the end of 2019, but then of course the world turned upside down with COVID. Its latest press release states Zapp will "soon" be announcing some events where buyers can have a look, and the odd test ride, in London, New York, Paris, Milan, Seoul and Bangkok. The website also states that bikes ordered now will take 12-16 weeks to deliver. That's all we know.

But with prices starting at UK£5,750 (~US$7,000) – and there are several more expensive options – it could well be popular. It's not an ultra-cheap bike like the remarkable Ola S1, but it'll zip around a little quicker, even if it runs out of juice quicker too. It should definitely be able to handle the driveway at Goodwood. And it's sure nice to look at.

Source: Zapp

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1 comment
1 comment
eirobotix
Someone has done the performance calcs wrong on this one...

14kW peak output motor is not going to get a combined bike & rider mass of say 185kg (110kg bike + 75kg rider) to 60mph in <5secs. That's nearly an average acceleration of 0.5g which is performance bike territory.

In the real world you'll need about double the motor output to achieve these perfromance claims all things being equal.