Scooter has big power
All-electric bike promises to out accelerate anything in traffic up to 60 km/h
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.
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.