Mobility has been compromised by COVID-19. In car-centric countries like the Philippines, the unreliability of public transport systems has basically paralyzed the economy. Knowing that the country can’t stay on lockdown forever, business gradually reopened despite the clear lack of alternative means of getting around. This has spawned the demand for bicycles and e-scooters so that people can simply get moving.
This gave birth to Drift Motor. Founded by speed junkie GM Bugayong last year, the company has a catalog of e-bikes and pedal-assisted bicycles (such as its best-selling Raptor fat bike) addressing the growing need for personal mobility devices. The brand recently launched a new product, and we had the honor of being the very first to try it out. We’re referring to the YPro electric scooter.
I instantly fell in love with the YPro’s looks. Unlike most of its rivals in the market, the YPro is both sporty and stylish. It uses a combination of simple shapes, basic lines, and rounded corners. The LED rectangular headlamps are flanked by “parenthesis” DRLs. The blacked-out instrument cluster looks good sitting in the middle of the naked handlebars. The chrome-plated side-mirror covers give a tasteful contrast to the black-and-red color scheme. The sides have a mix of curves and angles, making the bike look sharp even when viewed from afar. While the 10-inch wheels look too small, they are the perfect size for this compact electric two-wheeler. The rear end has a huge multi-element taillamp assembly that also houses LED turn signals.
The YPro’s size got me a bit worried, though, as I thought that it would be too tiny for me. I tip the scales at over 90kg, so I initially looked awkward sitting on it. However, the saddle is very comfortable. And while the riding position is a little weird, I got used to it after a few minutes. My concerns eventually proved to be just all in my mind.
Bugayong kept reminding me to go easy and have a good feel for it first. To be honest, I was baffled and wondered what was so special about it. I had ridden several electric scooters before, and the power that those things put out wasn’t something I couldn’t handle. He then mentioned the 2kW brushless DC motor that the YPro had. When converted to horsepower, it is just a measly 3hp.
But as soon as I twisted the accelerator, I was blown away. I never expected the amount of instantaneous torque that this power unit had. The YPro weighs only 68kg, so the power-to-weight ratio is excellent. It has three ride settings, and the lowest one limits the maximum speed to an already brisk 40km/h.
I wondered if I could keep up with faster vehicles on the busy highway I was about to take. But after I turned the ride setting up to the second and third levels, my fears started to fade away. The motor kept pushing, and the YPro topped out at 69km/h rather quickly. Climbing up bridges and shallow gradients was a piece of cake. Fellow riders stared in disbelief as I matched their pace. Right then and there, I realized Drift Motor’s claims weren’t fake.
If that adventure-filled ride home proved anything, it’s that the YPro is a very capable electric scooter. My route was a bit longer than what I normally took, but the 50-55km range of the 20Ah battery was more than enough for it. I was thankfully able to get home before the skies opened up.
The YPro made my neighborhood’s small streets its playground. The 27L underseat compartment had enough room for most of the items I bring along when riding. It has an IP65 waterproof rating, so it can be used even when raining. The headlamps illuminate the road quite well. And anyone will be familiar with the switchgear layout in no time.
Some things could be better, however. Braking power was just okay and could use a little more bite. Given the long six- to 10-hour charging time, the YPro would benefit from swappable batteries so you could extend its range with minimal downtime. Also, the information on the instrument cluster is barely readable under the midday sun. Finally, as good as the YPro is, the steep P75,000 price tag might scare potential buyers away.
But for what it is and what it can do, this is a small price to pay. The YPro is a mind-blowing revelation that can serve a niche market. Drift Motor’s latest product is a genesis of better things to come for electric two-wheelers.