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Segway e-scooters could work for your daily commute

Save big on running costs compared to an ICE scooter

The E300SE and the E110L bring two flavors of electric coolness to your commute. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

Internal-combustion engine scooters are already hyper-efficient machines these days. The average, small-displacement Honda, Suzuki, or Yamaha can squeeze out every last horse while meeting emissions regulations and giving plenty of range for every liter of gas.

The way the market goes is that paying more over a basic model is really just to get a little more cubic centimeters, a sportier or retro look, tech features, and brand cachet.

So, where do e-scooters fit into this cutthroat market? E-scooters have been around for a while now, and while they free you from having to gas up at the pump, they have limited range due to the fact that the average battery doesn’t have nearly enough juice to match the range of a 4-5L fuel tank. But the benefits of an electric motor are nothing to sneeze at.

An e-scooter can save you a lot of money as a daily commuter. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

First, they’re zero-emission vehicles at the end-user level (of course, they still have a carbon footprint when they’re made, as do all other vehicles).

Second, their instant torque delivery is an eye-opener if you’re used to ‘winding up’ a CVT-equipped scooter to get going. Finally, they’re ultimately cheaper to run than even a super-economical scooter. I’ll get to that in a while.

Many of you may already be familiar with the Segway brand, which first made waves back in 2001 when its founder Dean Kamen unveiled the two-wheeled, self-balancing HT (human transporter).

Ninebot, a Beijing-based transportation robotics company, bought Segway in 2015 and proceeded to diversify the lineup to include e-scooters. Visit their website and they have more than a dozen electric kick scooters, e-mopeds, and even electric go-karts.

The 10,000W E300SE is the hot rod of the two.
While the 1,800W E110L is its more practical, sedate sibling. PHOTOS BY ANDY LEUTERIO

Segway is distributed in the Philippines by the Autohub Group, and their team was kind enough to send both the entry-level E110L and the more upscale E300SE.

Both scoots have clean, if rather generic, styling with aerodynamic leg shields, a wide floorboard, and LED lighting and instrumentation.

The E110L goes for a retro vibe with a tan saddle and grips, while the E300SE gets the all-black treatment with yellow coil springs at the rear for some attitude.

The E110L is ideal for regular commuters as its motor is rated at 1,800W, and the lithium battery is rated at 72V and 24Ah—good for 110km if ridden conservatively. The top speed is a modest 62km/h, but torque is substantial at 150Nm from the get-go. With front and rear discs and electric ABS (dubbed ‘EABS’), it’s a cut above non-ABS scooters while still being reasonably priced at P125,000.

Both models use a lot of plastic, but fit-and-finish is quite good and nothing squeaks or rattles. This is the E110L. PHOTOS BY ANDY LEUTERIO

The E300SE, on the other hand, is a veritable speed demon. Its electric motor is rated at 10,000W (13.4hp), with maximum torque of 200Nm. By comparison, the popular Yamaha NMax makes 15hp, but torque is 13.9Nm.

From a dead stop, the E300SE will leave many gas-powered scooters in its wake while they’re still building up the revs. Segway says that it accelerates from zero to 100km/h in under eight seconds, and while I didn’t get to test this for myself, I’m inclined to believe it.

From 20km/h in Mode 3 (the highest power setting), pinning the ‘throttle’ and hanging on for dear life got me to 80km/h in around three seconds.

Only the top speed of 106km/h will keep this Segway from beating on every other scooter in the neighborhood, but for everyday traffic-light hole shots and squirting past to overtake, it’s addictive.

Try an E300SE and every other scooter will just feel sluggish. I miss it already.

The grab handle is essential if your pillion rider doesn't want to fall off when you're at full throttle on the E300SE. PHOTOS BY ANDY LEUTERIO

Except it costs P275,000, which puts it out of reach of many riders in the P100,000-P200,000 range, but that’s exactly what the E110L is for.

When I asked the Segway team as to who buys something like an E300SE, they replied that big-bike riders do. It makes sense because if you’ve gotten used to the ‘right now’ performance of a big bike, you’ll want a commuter that can replicate that responsiveness on a smaller scale.

Other details about these Segways put it a cut above lower-priced brands. Apart from the necessary use of oodles of plastic everywhere, both bikes have suspension and brakes that are up to the task of controlling all this wattage.

The E300SE gives you the option to connect a third battery in the underseat compartment. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

They use OEM telescopic forks and coil springs, but they’re stiff and provide a stable ride—not bouncing all over the road. The brakes also feel strong and linear, and even squeezing the levers hard didn’t make them dive and lose control.

Power delivery is also very well-sorted out. Even in the most aggressive Mode 3, the power comes on linearly and not jerky like an on/off switch.

Many e-bikes and e-scooters feel cheap and crude when you get down to the nitty gritty and start riding them hard. These don’t.

The removable lithium battery weighs around 13kg, so don't forget to exercise with kettlebells. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

While the E110L feels tepid compared to the E300SE, it does provide a relaxing experience in keeping with the commuter mission. The seat height of 770mm makes it ideal for smaller riders, and the handlebar height is roughly waist-level so it doesn’t feel like you’re sinking into the bike. Ground clearance of 130mm, however, will cause it to scrape against some steeper speed bumps, but the underside is metal so you needn’t worry about damaging the battery.

The E110L will only cost you around P8,000 per year if you ride 10,000km. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

The E300SE may be nearly three times the cost of the E110L, but it’s packed with smart features. Aside from the punchy motor, it has a dual-battery system, packing two 74V, 27Ah lithium batteries.

These are IPX7 water-resistant, which should ease concerns about wading through occasional floods (just don’t turn it into a submarine), and there’s a provision for an optional third battery in the underseat compartment to extend your range.

It also has several riding modes, including an Assist mode to let you push the bike in a crowded space without fear of losing control; a Coast mode for added brake regeneration; an Eco mode; and (my favorite) Sport mode.

It also has built-in traction control so you don’t inadvertently wheelie at full whack. It even has a Reverse!

The phone app connects to the e-scoot via Bluetooth and GPS for various functions, including locking/unlocking and locating the bike. SCREENSHOT FROM SEGWAY

Finally, a phone app serves multiple functions, including tracking your vehicle usage, locking/unlocking the bike, and sending out an automatic SOS in the event of an accident.

The seat height is slightly higher at 780mm, but it feels natural and ergonomic once you’re seated, and getting the scoot to turn on a dime, sprint, and brake hard is very easy.

The claimed range in full Eco mode is 130km, but if you were at full power the whole time and spanking other scooters at every stoplight, the realistic range would be around 60-70km before you need to start thinking about where to recharge.

The E300SE comes with a fast 1,008W charger that needs only 5.5 hours to fully charge the battery, while the E110L 250W charger needs eight to nine hours. You can also opt to purchase the fast charger for your E110L.

The stealth black belies the eye-popping acceleration of this e-scooter.
Plasticky like every other scooter, but the secret lies beneath.
Thick, stepped saddle is essential to controlling the E300SE. PHOTOS BY ANDY LEUTERIO

Going by Segway’s math, an E110L will cost less than half what it takes to operate the average, 125cc scooter. If the latter gets a (very optimistic) 65km/L, and the E110L does 40km/kW, that comes out to P12/kW or P0.3 per km/L, while the gas scooter will cost P1 per km/L at P65/L. If you ride 10,000km a year, the Segway will cost only P3,000 to run annually, while the gas scooter will cost P10,000.

And since an e-scooter doesn’t need a spark plug or oil filter, maintenance will also be cheaper: P5,000 per year for tires, brake pads, and diagnostics. By comparison, the gasoline scooter will cost an estimated P9,000 per year for oil changes, oil filters, spark plugs, tires, and brake pads.

The E300SE, when compared against a 150cc scooter, costs slightly more to run than the E110L, but still comes out cheaper against an ICE scooter.

Long distance may not be realistic, but cost-effective and day-to-day commutes make the E300SE and the E110L viable. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

Of course, a gasoline scooter can go much farther on a single tank of fuel than an e-scooter can on a single battery charge. And while you could theoretically go touring on an e-scooter, that involves meticulously planning out your charging stops and setting aside several hours to charge, whereas a simple gas-up takes no more than 10 minutes.

And yes, the battery will eventually need to be replaced. With an estimated cost of P45,000 but with a life expectancy of five years and 2,000 to 3,000 cycles, it’s highly likely you’ll tire of the bike and sell it in a few years before the battery dies.

Or maybe not, and P45,000 is a reasonable sum if you want to keep it going for another five years. This goes for two batteries if we’re talking about the E300SE.

But for serious, high-mileage commuting—where the total distance traveled every day is well within the capacity of the battery—these Segways make sense. The E110L is a great option for riders who just want to get to work and get back home with as little fuss as possible, on a scooter that’s well sorted out and doesn’t feel cheap.

The E300SE, on the other hand, is for guys and girls who like the adrenaline rush of instant acceleration, and are prepared to pay the premium for the privilege.

Andy Leuterio

Andy is both an avid cyclist and a car enthusiast who has finally made the shift to motorcycles. You've probably seen him on his bicycle or motorbike overtaking your crawling car. He is our motorcycle editor and the author of the ‘Quickshift’ column.