The new normal is an electric scooter

This article was originally published in Manila Bulletin’s Technology Section, dated October 7, 2020.

Classic yet modern. Familiar yet fascinating. It’s the scooter, but with a motor and a battery pack. You’ve probably seen at least one in the last year zipping down the urban streets of Makati or BGC — and guess what — the pandemic has made these scooters more in-demand in the last 6 months: Urban dwellers are letting go of their cars. Suburban dwellers want one to zip to the nearest convenience store. 

In the past, electric golf carts were the suburban dream but they were too expensive to maintain. And afford. The electric scooter gives you the same quiet ride at a fraction of the cost and maintenance. For the price of a mid-range smartphone, you get mobility. I was able to test out two variants of Megawheels’ electric scooter, namely the S10 and S10x Pro, the main difference being that the latter is bigger and comes with a second battery pack.

An electric scooter is really just a normal scooter with a motor powered by a battery pack. The models sent to me both come with a 7500mAh battery pack located at the bottom of the stepboard. How long does a full charge last? So the box says that 7500mAh can give you 17 to 22km of distance. I have been taking the scooter on a number of short 2km runs in the subdivision with the battery hovering at 50%. The bar fluctuates at an incline but evens out when you’re running straight or downhill, so it would be good to keep a mental note of your travel distance — or always charge when you get home. I’ve probably traveled 10-12km total but for the more urban explorers, having that extra battery pack module leaves you with more options for travel. 

The S10 comes with safety options for speed. I personally keep it the “white” safety speed of a max of 10kmh. This goes down to 5kmh on an incline and about 12kmh downhill. There are other speed modes that bring the scooter up to 15kmh and even 25kmh but the battery drain will be much more noticeable. I personally keep it at the most economical settings in the suburbs.

For storage, the S10 folds down and can latch onto the rear wheel guard so you can pick it up — note that this is a 12lb weight (the larger S10X Pro takes into account the added battery) so it may be cumbersome if you have to fold it and walk at length. 

To be honest, the smaller, lighter S10 suits my needs perfectly as I already have established a rhythm for errands within a 5km radius so a full charge actually lasts me 2-3 days. An electric scooter will change your life, making you more mobile without the sweat. It essentially opens up a 5-10km radius around you without having to wait for a trike or own a car.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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