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GenZe 2.0: An electric I could like

April 20, 2016
GenZe scooter

GenZe scooter has a lot to like (GenZe photo)

I won’t apologize for not being a huge fan of electric vehicles. Especially electric scooters. However, I also used to be a climate-change skeptic, but when presented with compelling facts, I changed my mind.

Most electric scooters available now cause my eyes to roll because of poor conception, poor engineering, and poor construction. GenZe’s 2.0 electric, however, is something that could very easily change my mind.

For starters, the GemZe is not a conversion. It was designed from the ground up to be an electric scooter. In fact, its design and details are very thoughtful and well-considered, electric or not.

The powertrain isn’t just a battery and an electric motor connected by a cable. You have a choice of four riding modes, including an “Easy” mode for newbie riders and a custom mode for creating your own.

The tech doesn’t stop there. The instrument cluster is a 7-inch touchscreen that can be configured to monitor up to 100 data points. There’s an app for it, and cloud-based storage for those hundred data points. The app will plot a route for you that takes into account the GenZe’s 30-mph top speed. Among other things, like weather alerts and automatic safety alerts. If it quits on you, a customer care person can run remote diagnostics on your GenZe. Of course, there’s a charging port for your mobile device.

GenZe rear view

Most electric scooters have sacrificed storage capacity to accommodate big, heavy batteries. Not so with the GenZe. The company touts “the biggest trunk you’ve ever seen on two wheels.” That trunk is deep and rectangular, accommodating accessory lids, totes and organizers. There are also under-seat and front storage bags for small stuff.

The battery is a small, light lithium-ion device WITH A BUILT-IN CHARGER! You just POP IT OUT and plug it into any wall outlet. For years, I’ve been telling everyone in the biz who will listen that this feature is absolutely critical for an electric scooter that claims to be useful. Yeah, a full charge will take four hours, but that’s not such a big deal if you can bring the battery into your workplace or your living room and plug it into a wall outlet.

Like most other electric scooters, the GenZe boasts a 30-mph top speed and 30-mile range. While probably not something you’d take on a road trip, it should do well if you have to ride up hills — electric motors produce peak torque from 0 rpm up. And its regenerative braking will put some electrons back when you ride down those hills.

Its cast aluminum frame is more like a sportbike’s, and looks good without any attached body panels (which can be damaged if the bike gets knocked over). A thoughtful touch, that. You can choose from four colors, one of which is a highly visible emergency lime green.

A pricetag a hair under $3 grand is quite reasonable, not just for the scooter, but for the 3-year warranty and customer support. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area or Portland, you can have your new GenZe delivered to your door in a spiffy new Sprinter van. The GenZe is a product of the Mahindra Group, an established Indian company that also builds trucks and heavy equipment, so GenZe is (hopefully) in for the long haul.

Something I’ve also told anyone who will listen is, a 2005 Vespa PX 150 should be the benchmark in the areas of top speed and range. The PX could go 45 mph and 130 miles on a tank of gas. Hit those marks, and an electric scooter becomes seriously useful.

I’m inclined to think the GenZe 2.0, or maybe a 3.0, will be the one to do it. And sooner than you might think.

The details

MSRP: $2,999
Built in: Ann Arbor, Mich.
Construction: Cast aluminum “exoskeleton” frame
Curb weight:  232 lbs (105.5 kg)
Length: 65 in (1651 mm) (est.)
Width: 28 in (711 mm) (est.)
Wheelbase: 50 in (1267 mm)
Seat height: 29.5 in (749 mm)
Front susp: Telescopic fork
Rear susp: Rear swingarm with telescopic damper
Front brake: Single piston hydraulic disc
Rear brake: Single piston hydraulic disc
Front tire: 100/80-16
Rear tire: 130/70-12
Motor: Brushless permanent magnet, hub mounted
Power/torque:  2.15 hp (1.6 kW) @ 0+ rpm/73.75 lb-ft (100 Nm) @ 0+ rpm
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