Scooter has big power

All-elec­tric bike prom­ises to out ac­cel­er­ate any­thing in traf­fic up to 60 km/h

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - AL­WYN VILJOEN

UP north, past the Eu­ro­pean main­land, there is dreary is­land chilled by the north­ern sea where the petrol­heads make up for their lack of palm trees and sun­shine by churn­ing out an ex­traor­di­nary amount of very ex­cit­ing ve­hi­cles.

This is­land is not Malta, which gave us the Black Mamba, a 600kW elec­tric trike, but good old Eng­land, which gave us, well, ev­ery­thing else fast on wheels, in­clud­ing the en­gines that power Nascar rac­ers in the States.

One of those is­lan­ders, a banker who owns sev­eral su­per­bikes, has now come up with some­thing truly in­sane — a 587 Nm elec­tric scooter that zaps the 0-60 km run in un­der three sec­onds. Fit­tingly, it is called the Zapp i300.

To put this power in per­spec­tive, con­sider that South Africa’s strong­est bakkie, the Mercedes­Benz X-Class 350d, makes 550 Nm. The farm­ers’ favourite, Toy­ota’s Land Cruiser 4,0 V6, only makes 360 Nm.

Ergo, this is one hell of a strong scooter. “But”, says the crowd at the bar, “on bikes we don’t want New­tons, we want Watts, wot wot?”

They have a point when talk­ing of those fos­sil fuel en­gines that are cost­ing so much in petrol these days. For New­tons show the size of the engine’s mus­cles, while Watts in­di­cate the engine’s work rate — ba­si­cally, how fit those mus­cles are in or­der to move fast with­out tear­ing apart.

But when it comes to elec­tric mo­tors, which have fewer mov­ing parts than the waste­ful in­ter­nal com­bus­tion engine, that work rate can be low, as long as there is loads of torque to ac­cel­er­ate the Zapp’s ul­tra low-pro­file ni­tro­gen-filled rear tyre, fit­ted to a 14-inch al­loy wheel.

And 587 New­tons is more than enough to pro­pel the Zapp from 0-60 in 2,4 sec­onds. Sixty does not sound fast, un­til you do it in traf­fic. Es­pe­cially on tiny bike that weighs only 90 kg.

At its top speed of 90 km/h the Zapp has a range of 56 km, with a full charge tak­ing less than three hours.

Zapp said in a state­ment they aim “to lead the ur­ban trans­port rev­o­lu­tion”, and it starts with the bat­tery de­sign.

The Zapp i300 is pow­ered by a pair of cut­ting-edge, light­weight 48V high en­ergy den­sity lithium-ion bat­ter­ies and a main­te­nance-free air-cooled in­te­rior per­ma­nent mag­net elec­tric mo­tor. Un­like con­ven­tional AC in­duc­tion mo­tors cur­rently used in the ma­jor­ity of elec­tric scoot­ers, the Zapp i300’s Bri­tish-made, in­te­rior mag­net mo­tor does not have ro­tor wind­ings. In­stead, it uses mag­nets lo­cated in­side the ro­tor to turn it at the same speed as the mag­netic field.

Each bat­tery is re­mov­able for easy recharg­ing, is about the size of a lap­top and weighs less than 5kg. The bat­ter­ies can be plugged it into any house­hold socket to recharge.

The Zapp also boasts re­gen­er­a­tive brak­ing to recharges the bat­tery on the go. Us­ing the re­gen­er­a­tive brak­ing sys­tem as the pri­mary means to slow down in heavy traf­fic not only in­creases the longevity of the scooter’s brakes, but also re­duces an­other pol­lu­tion ele­ment — par­tic­u­lates in the air.

The elec­tric mo­tor is built into the struc­ture of the bike, do­ing away with the body shell un­der the seat. In­stead — and form­ing part of the dis­tinc­tive ‘Z’-shaped curve — the un­der-seat area is hol­low, both to save weight and present a strik­ing pro­file.

To stop, the Zapp uses cross­drilled vented full-float­ing discs with a four-pis­ton cal­liper and ABS.

Pro­gres­sive-rate gas-filled up­side-down front forks with a rear coilover pushrod and mono rear swing arm sus­pen­sion, all in­spired by su­per­bikes, en­sure grip and an en­gag­ing ride.

That bike-lov­ing banker and Zapp boss, Swin Chat­suwan, said: “With its rev­o­lu­tion­ary de­sign, thrilling per­for­mance, and clean power source, we be­lieve the i300 is the ur­ban mo­bil­ity so­lu­tion peo­ple have been look­ing for.”

In the UK, the Zapp i300 can be pre-or­dered di­rect from the Zapp web­site with a £500 de­posit. The first 1 000 pre-or­ders will be de­liv­ered in Launch Edi­tion, which in­cludes a com­pli­men­tary up­grade to di­a­mond cut wheels, spe­cial graph­ics and a lim­ited edi­tion x/1000 plate. First de­liv­er­ies are ex­pected to be made in early Q2 2019.

The Zapp i300 has a start­ing on-the-road price of £5 250 prior to the UK gov­ern­ment’s Plug-in Mo­tor­cy­cle Grant.

On that is­land, the Zapp can be leased from as lit­tle as £19 per week.

PHOTO: ZAPP

The pow­er­ful Zapp i300 scooter com­bines the best su­per bikes and road bikes have to of­fer in what its mak­ers be­lieve is the the ur­ban mo­bil­ity so­lu­tion peo­ple have been look­ing for.

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