Electric Scooters have hit NZ like a storm. With the launch of Lime Scooters and Bird scooters as Sharing Programs in the USA last year - the general public was awakened to a new form of transport, the Personal Electric Vehicle.
People tested the Shared Scooters in their droves, but many have realised that with the combination of unlocking costs and pretty high per-minute charges these services are great for some, but for many, BUYING an electric scooter is the real answer.
You can get the exact scooter for your needs and lifestyle, and keep it with you wherever you go.
Equally at home, in the car boot or under your desk at work. Choosing your own electric scooter is the answer in NZ.
There are so many different electric kick scooters available in NZ that it can be hard to choose the best electric scooter for your use case - we are all different in weight and riding experience, not to mention the distances and frequency-of-use we intend our scooter to handle.
At this point, it is important to mention that we are not making any legal advice here. The laws in NZ regarding electric scooter riding is a bit of a mess as far as we can tell. NZTA says one thing, cops say another, and news outlets say something different again. Even when they are quoting NZTA spokespeople we saw totally different answers than when we approached the NZTA directly - so who is to know.
Electric Scooter NZ laws seem to be made by the NZTA and respective councils - so here is NZTA's take: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicles/vehicle-types/low-powered-vehicles/ - we will leave you to interpret those but it seems that as long as it is 300w or under you are sweet as...
Anyway on to the fun stuff...
We have done the heavy lifting and reviewed a number of electric scooters ready to give you the skinny on the best.
Best Electric Scooters NZ - Top 5 Electric Scooters
1. Mercane WideWheel 1000w Dual Motor
What can we say about this epic creature? The WideWheel is simply everything you could want in an electric scooter and nothing you don't.
Arriving in NZ just in July 2019, it is the latest arrival on the scene. What we love about the WideWheel is its perfect balance of the best features. It has 2 motor choices the 1000w dual motor and the 500w single motor (rear wheel).
The 1000w dual motor version is powerful enough that you can really feel the pull, it is an awesome sensation of acceleration all the way up to around 40km p/h (when max speed mode is unlocked). It comes standard with a 25kph limiter setting which is a great speed to learn on, and it will preserve battery.
While the 1000w is extremely powerful it never feels like it is trying to kill you, it is giving you the power you need, not like some of the 'over-powered' scooters like the Dualtron - which are actually just kind of ridiculous. The WW has exactly the power you need when you need it. The 500w is absolutely no slouch either and for a lot of people, it would be the perfect option.
Hill climbing is an absolute breeze, there is plenty of acceleration and speed to keep you safe - as we all know, next to being over-powered, being under-powered and slow is actually how you get into trouble - especially if you are negotiating with cars, which is very common in NZ.
How can we have gotten this far without talking about the wide wheels - the WideWheel is named as such because of its stunning, stable, sexy, wide wheels... Coupled with the dual suspension, the airless wide tyres offer a smooth ride and allow you to tackle almost any terrain. I threw everything I could at the thing, and I couldn’t find a hill or off-road terrain it wouldn’t simply destroy. Oh and did we mention NO MORE PUNCTURES!
One of the main issues with scooters, especially with New Zealand's cracked pavements and potholed roads, is the crazy narrow wheels they all have - all of them - why on earth does every single scooter have these stupid narrow wheels.
It's like everyone who designs scooters starts with a pair of stupid tiny thin wheels and then designs around them - it is bloody ridiculous.
Narrow tyres are basically the number 1 reason that most scooters suck to ride. Mercane has fixed this by strapping some epic wide airless tyres onto their creation and it only benefits from it.
The wide tyres not only make it safer they enable you to recreate an almost snowboarding like carving sensation when you ride - you really have to ride it to believe it.
In addition to all of this the WideWheel is stunning to look at, a cast aluminium alloy frame with a beautiful stingray like foot deck, again it is like nothing else out there.
It has the Power, it has the Looks, it is Safe, it is Unique - is there anything not to love about the WideWheel?
Well if we had to be picky, and we had to in order to find anything, there are two points to note. The scooter is not light, you are not going to be jogging up a flight of stairs easily with it, and the one button console on it requires a little getting used to... But we can sure live with that!
Top Speed - easily 40km p/h (unless you limit it to 25 km p/h)
Price Tag - Now for the price... the 1000w comes in at $1995 and the 500w at $1595 NZD
Available here: WideWheel
So they are not in the 'too cheap to be good' zone, and not in the 'I could buy a car for that' zone either - again it hits the perfect note
2. Cruiser S 1200w Fat Tyre
Fat Tyre scooters landed with a smash into the scooter market in 2016. They are the big brother of everything else here and the little brother of iconic rides like the Harley Davidson. This is literally like nothing you have ever ridden.
The combination of an incredibly low centre of gravity and the super wide round shoulder tyres make the Cruiser S something out of this world to ride.
Until you have ridden a Fat Tyre Cruiser you really won't get it. Now the Cruiser range is not just any old fat tyre. The build quality is fantastic, the batteries are high quality, the suspension - both front and rear - are well designed and highly effective, there is a whole range of accessories some of which were designed and manufactured in NZ.
The same factory that makes the STORM Cruiser S also makes the Phat Scooter which is dominating the fat tyre market in the USA. They are almost exactly the same except the STORM version has been up-specced significantly in that it is a lot faster, has an alarm and immobiliser, and rear indicators and tail/brake light.
The Cruiser S gives you back whatever the heck you ask of it. A grandma can make a slow and stable ride up to the shops and back. Then her 20-something grandson can tear around like a madman throwing it into corners, and leaning it down so low that the stand might scrape the ground. Before heading off on a trail through the bush. Then upon return, his dad can take it down the hard packed sand on the beach to go fishing.
The Cruiser is somehow not just ' capable of', or 'usable for' these widely varying use cases - it is somehow absolutely perfect for all of them.
Top Speed - up to 50km p/h
Price Tag - bloody good value considering the size of the scooter basically makes it comparable with a moped at just $2,695
Available here: Cruiser S Fat Tyre Scooter
3. Ninebot ES4
Ok, so we are taking a big step down here from the Top 2 electric scooters here as far as looks, power, cool factor, fun, etc. But this little guy has a place right here in the top 3 all the same.
A lot of people just want an inexpensive, light, cheap, reliable scooter to literally go just up the road on, just to the local shop, and they want to be able to fold it up and carry it up a flight of stairs easily - and if those are your top priorities then this is a hot option for you.
Ninebot owns Segway and they make the e-scooters for a lot of the scooter share companies around the world - so this is a little mass-produced scooter. It doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't and for a lot of people, it will be just fine. You can also check out what Consumer thought here.
On the downside... it sucks for hills... and Auckland and Wellington especially have a LOT of hills - so you may find yourself doing as much of the work as the scooter on even moderate inclines this type of low powered scooter quite quickly gives up and expects you to kick - so you may get to work or your meeting sweaty - not cool
Top Speed - up to 30km p/h (as long as there is no incline)
Price Tag - this is by far the cheapest scooter in the bunch you would expect to pay about $900 to $1000 NZD
4. Inokim OX Super
The InokimOX Super is one heck of a ride. An fast machine, you definitely do not want to just jump onto one of these bad boys and go flat out without some prior experience riding scooters.
Inokim is one of the most recognisable brands in the electric scooter world, well recognised for their attention to detail, build quality and power. The styling is not to everyone's liking as they go for bright garish colours and the end package is rather on the boxy side. Definitely has a 'functional' rather than 'cool' look to it.
With a 1000w motor, it has plenty of grunt and the 21ah battery will give you all the range you would need. Should be looking at a good 60km plus range, now we have seen them claim 100km plus range... always be careful of these factory range claims - it pays to cut them in half for real-world use. However, it is still very impressive.
Another downside other than the looks is the relatively low max rider weight - it is just 120kg - many people are over that so just be careful.
So if you want a top brand scooter, that has power to spare, is well built, great range, and you are not really interested in having something that looks cool, and you don't weight too much - then the Inokim Super OX is a great option for you.
Top Speed - up to 45km p/h
Price Tag - this is going to run you upwards of $2,900 to $3,000 NZD
5. Dualtron Ultra
The Dualtron Ultra is what we would call a specialist scooter. It is so ridiculously powerful that you had better make sure you have worked up to this. Now yes I know we made this warning for the Inokim Super OX also - but this time we really really mean it. This is the kind of scooter that will eat you if you do not know what you are doing.
With a huge set of 2x 1200w motors, you are talking serious kick. Not for the faint of heart. If you have the skills (or the death wish) then this is a hell of a thrill.
The big drawback of this scooter that keeps it out of the top 3 (aside from the price) is that it is pretty damn ugly. This is not the kind of scooter that you can cruise up for a coffee without looking entirely out of place. This beast really is made for the enthusiast doing trails.
So yes we think this is a great scooter, a hell of a thrill, but the appeal of it is going to be very narrow as will the use cases as it is just so big and powerful it is pretty impractical most of the time
Top Speed - up to 80km p/h (don't kill yourself)
Price Tag - this creature will run you well over $4,000 NZD, easily up to $4,500.
Hey! Storm Rides - you have ranked your own scooters at the top...
Yes, we bloody well have! You want to know why!?
Because we went out there and rode every damn electric scooter we could get our hands on.
We rode and analysed and tested scooters over and over again.
We wanted to come to market with scooters that were at the top of their respective classes.
Scooters that were perfect for people who wanted power, cool, style, capability, practicality. We wanted the perfect scooters for all the people out there who were being under-served by a range of electric scooters that were either
- too small, cheap, and gutless
- too powerful, ugly, impractical, and expensive
Those were the two main categories that scooters fell into. There was also some crossover of course - some were gutless and ugly, and some were expensive and gutless.
BUT nobody was doing a positive crossover - how about powerful and good looking and reasonably priced... so we found the WideWheel
Both the WideWheel, the Cruiser S both lead their classes in quality, style, reliability - there is either nothing quite like them (WideWheel) or they are so far ahead of the 'competition' it is not even funny (Cruiser S).
So What is the Best Electric Scooter in NZ
Well, any of the Top 3 will be the 'best electric scooter' for you depending on your needs. You could by any two of the top 3 scooters and still have plenty of change compared to buying a Dualtron so if you look at it that way :)
The best electric scooter is going to be different from kiwi to kiwi but we are pretty sure that the 3 we have listed at the top will cover off virtually all New Zealand E Scooter buyers, and the other 2 will take care of the speed-mad enthusiasts with cash to burn.
So take a good look at the top 5 scooter list above and weigh up the recommendations, then contact some stores that sell them and take them for a test ride. It always pays to ride before you buy.
What Should an Electric Scooter Cost in NZ
As you can see from the electric scooter review above the range in prices can go from under $1,000 to getting close to $5,000.
Like most things it is not about price it is about value, what you need to look for is a scooter that does everything you need, and not too much that you don't. That way you will be paying only for what you will use.
That's why we felt the top 3 were the best options for price, amongst other factors, they were all a reasonable price - not too expensive, yet not 'cheap' which is when you need to worry about quality.
The Ninebot is relatively 'cheap' but the high production and small motor and battery mean that it doesn't cost much to make so it is ok for ' value'.
The WideWheel is an awesome example of value as you get plenty of motor and battery and power, but it doesn't go overboard and get you up into a crazy zone of dangerous power and ultra high price.
The Cruiser is fantastic bang for your buck, just look at the size of the thing, expensive parts, high cost of shipping due to its size, and it still comes in well under many of the others.
Electric Scooter Buyers Guide / Last Words of Advice:
1. Always take a Test Ride - Or if you cannot then watch test rides/reviews on YouTube)
2. Value Matters - too cheap and you will regret it, and at the other end there is no point paying for what you don' t need
3. Finance Options - Some scooter shops / sites now have LayBuy deferred payment programmes available also - that can make it easier on your pocket
4. Warranty - make sure there is an NZ backed Warranty, and that electric scooter parts are stocked in New Zealand
NB: if you are buying a scooter as/for an adult then check out this article Electric Scooters for Adults NZ
Team STORM RIDES