Bikes > Alternative

The Hatasu Kumi is not the commuter ride I hoped for

How far can you go with an electric scooter that costs P18,990?

The Kumi is the most affordable model of Hatasu Philippines. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

What if for P18,990, you could own a piece of motorized transport? That is what Hatasu promises with the Kumi.

You can store items in the front basket. PHOTOS BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

The Hatasu Kumi is equipped with a 350W motor and a set of lead-acid batteries with a total capacity of 20Ah at 48V.

The top speed is claimed to be capable of going up to 25km/h with a maximum range of up to 50km. That doesn’t sound bad if you just need something for short trips around the city.

However, there’s more (or rather a lot less) than meets the eye. Given the Kumi’s price, it’s no Sundiro Honda. And that’s fine as long as it gets the job done. But is it actually capable?

Hatasu didn't bother to put side mirrors on the test unit. PHOTOS BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

On the handlebars are a twist throttle and a pair of brake levers, along with buttons for the signal light and the horn on the left side. Although there is a digital display, it doesn’t show any particularly useful information. It doesn’t tell your speed, and the battery-life indicator fluctuates significantly once the motor gets running.

The Kumi struggled with the hilly terrain of Kapitolyo. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

Believe me, I was looking forward to scooting around Metro Manila with the compact Kumi. However, I realized it wasn’t exactly viable the moment I encountered some elevation gain. The acceleration noticeably weakened.

And at steep slopes, I’d have to dismount and walk with it while using the throttle to push the e-bike up. When the battery was drained enough, the acceleration went down to a crawl on flatsslow enough that you’d wish you were pedaling a bicycle instead.

The back seat is useless as the Kumi already struggles with a single rider. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT
The kickstand makes resting the e-scooter convenient. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT
The headlight can swivel with the handlebars. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT
The turn signals are barely noticeable. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

The cable-actuated drum brakes are fine considering the Kumi’s speed (or lack of it). And the ride quality is pretty much what you’d expect from a scooter with a pair of 14-inch-by-2.5-inch wheels. It isn’t bone-shattering thanks to the suspension, but you aren’t riding on clouds either. However, you’ll have to be careful when going over steeper humps due to the low ground clearance.

Hatasu says the charging time can take as long as eight hours. PHOTOS BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

Overall, the Kumi wasn’t able to meet my needs. If I can’t even ride it around my neighborhood, how can I bring it outside for longer commutes?

Power isn’t everything, but I sure wish there was enough for crossing intersections or overtaking stationary vehicles.

As much as I wanted the e-scooter to be an affordable yet capable commuter ride, this was unable to overcome the literal hurdles in my backyard.

The author rode the Kumi to buy potato chips from the sari-sari store. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

At its price point, the Hatasu Kumi is cheaper than any of the pedal-assist bicycles I’ve tried. And the only thing that could come close is an entry-level electric kick scooter (EKS).

If you live on flat terrain and need an affordable ride for short trips where power, speed, and acceleration are of no importance, perhaps this e-scooter could be of use to you.

Leandro Mangubat

Leandro is our staff writer. Although having a background in mechanical engineering, he enjoys photography and writing more.