Electric Scooter Graveyard

November 4, 2012
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Here we pay homage to all the electric scooters that came and went in the early 2000’s when electric scooters were all the rage.  Unfortunately thousands of these electric kick scooters sold, and rarely do you see any on the streets today. We can assume that most of them became landfill.

Lithium batteries came too late for what could have been the electric scooter revolution. Even Steve Jobs theorized that cities would be built around electric scooters (specifically the Segway).

Electric scooters and electric bikes have unique advantages and disadvantages, and are both remarkably similar in their purpose (check out our story electric bike vs electric scooter).  Could it be the electric bike, with tons of manufacturers joining the fray could be going down the same deadly road as electric scooter?

Right now, the electric scooter graveyard is larger than the electric bike graveyard.  Hopefully this stays the case….

Some of the below scooters (most of them are China made) have been re-branded and re-marketed, to a market with very little demand.

Other scooter companies have actually survived the last 10 years (check out our Electric Scooter Survivors  list)

This is just a sampling of 100’s of brands of electric scooters which bit the dust in the early 2000’s after the electric scooter rage had died.

 

Zappy Scooter (Zap Technologies)

It is the Zappy that started the electric scooter craze. For 15 minutes, everybody wanted one. The demise of this electric scooter giant came at first when people started replicating this made-in-California product out of China. So Zappy began buying their scooters from China as well to save on costs, and laid off  their  US manufacturing labor. Then Zappy started selling their made-in-China Zappy at Costco, at less than what their dealer cost had been. People bought many of them. But the returns were astronomical and Costco stopped selling them. Zappy crawled back to their dealers who did not want any more to do with the Zappy, and had gone to other smaller electric scooter companies also selling China made scooters.

 

Badsey Hot Scoot

Badsey was known for making high performance scooters, hand made in the United States. Once the old man Badsey passed away his company was turned over to two brothers who unscrupulously conned investers and even customers out of their money before going under. Badsey changed hands several times before its final death. The problems of the Badsey were also amplified by made-in-China replicas selling by other brand names.

 

Badsey Racer

The Badsey racer was a heavy lead-acid powered road machine that retailed for over $3000. It’s no surprise why this model was not a big seller and ended up in the graveyard. It was plagued with reliability problems as well and would smoke its motor on almost any hill.

 

BladeZ

Also sold at Costco, and when Costco pulled the plug, so too fell BladeZ.  The BladeZ was much more robust than the Zappy and fared much better at Costco.  BladeZ was selling more scooters than anyone in the United States in 2003. They were a bright but short flame.

Vego

Based in San Francisco the Vego was a quality made-in-Taiwan scooter that made it to market on the tail end of the Electric Scooter craze. Although several hundred of the Vego scooters sold, they too would join the electric scooter graveyard in a few short years.

 

Excalibur

 

Chinese made electric scooters would sometimes copy themselves. The Excalibur is basically a Cobra scooter with a different name on it.

 

Rad 2 Go

Rad2go was a super cheap Chinese scooter which achieved moderate success by offering a low speed scooter at a super low cost. Price for this scooter was only $200 making it an easy buy for parents purchasing for their children etc. Rad2go had its main distribution office in Southern California, which vaporized with all the other electric scooter companies when the scooter craze died.

Xooter Ex3 

There  is a blog dedicated to the memory of this electric scooter which is a thing of beauty. Powered by nickel metal hydride batteries (back then state of the art) and a slick friction drive motor, this is one of the better examples of an electric scooter but at a high price ($1500). The Xooter x3 also proved to be delicate and had reliability issues.

 

 

Roth Motorboard

That’s all, folks. No more GO Motorboard. The maker no longer makes them, period.” Since Roth Motors stopped selling in 2009, it was always a question if the boards were still being produced or just selling off old stock. One of the recent ebay advertisements mentioned water damage at the warehouse, so it could be that they have just give up for now. However the boards are still sold on ebay and available in bulk from sources in China. There are several similar boards offered, and we will keep you informed on them all.

This is one of the few scooters on this list which had lithium batteries (a123 cells). However by the time this scooter made  it to market there was no longer a demand for electric scooters.

 

Charly Scooter

 

The Charly scooter is Europe’s take on a electric kick scooter, that made it to the stores in the USA. It was made in East  Germany by MZ motorcycle and was a quality ride at a premium price. Unfortunately like the rest of these it  didn’t make it very far very fast.

 

Urban Express

The Urban Express was an expensive ($1000+) luxury lead-acid scooter which flooded the market. They could be found for cheap when the company went under.

Here is a picture of my friend Craig Uyeda’s Urban Express which was hot rodded with 72 volts of lead-acid strapped to the deck to hit speeds of 50-MPH. I actually owned Craig’s hot rod for a while:

 

Jackal (Thunderstruck Motors)

Speaking of hotrods, the Thunderstruck Jackal was a high peformance E-tek powered scooter (50-MPH) that did not sell a lot because of its  price point $3500.

Electric Scooter Works

Electric Scooter works is still another hot rod scooter capable of speeds of over 40-MPH.  Although it looks like just a Chinese cheap scooter, it has an Etek motor under that big plastic hood which makes this thing terrifying to ride. This product never achieved any kind of commercial success and was gone almost as soon as it came. But it was still an innovative effort to sell pure performance to the public.

 

Voloci

Although it looks like an electric bike, the Voloci has no pedals, making it a 30-MPH scooter. The Voloci was fast, slick looking, and had (at the time state of the art) nickel metal hydride batteries.  Because of its $3000 retail price the Voloci did not sell well and is now dead.

 

Cobra 

For a short time the Cobra was fairly popular. Its fat body holds a lot of lead-acid battery giving it a decent range. It also had a powerful motor that would propel it at a reasonable 20-MPH.

Easybike

The Easybike is one of the more refined electric scooter creations in this graveyard. However it came to market late, after the electric scooter craze was dead, and it’s no surprise that they also fell flat.

 

Segway 

Never has a small electic vehicle have so much anticipation, as the segway before it was released. Steve Jobs even predicted cities would be built around it. However when the  $6000 Segway did finally come out in 2001 it was greeted by a gigantic “meh.” Some people blame Segway for the demise of the electric scooter craze. Many cities outlawed scooters on city sidewalks thanks to the Segway.  Segway was ridiculed in popular culture, reflecting poorly on all scooter riders.

The company continued to lose money until 2009, when British millionaire Jimi Heselden bought Segway and steered it toward profitability. Heselden, however, died in September 2010, when he accidentally drove a Segway off a cliff.

Although Segway is not dead yet…it practically is. The only solid customer base for this product is tour guide firms, security firms, and handicap people.

Eric has been involved in the electric bike industry since 2002 when he started a 6000 square foot brick and mortar Electric Bike store in downtown San Francisco. He is a true believer that small electric vehicles can change the way we operate and the way we think.


12 Comments

  1. After 40 years of bike riding, imo mixing bikes

    and cars on one street is passing out tickets to

    the parapalegic ward.

    Even the structurally safe gyroscope cycle from

    http://litmotors.com/

    would give the rider impact trauma in an average collision.

    Add in one other minor factoid: 40,000 killed and

    3,000,000 injured every year on US roads!

    Proposal: restrict cars to freeways and zone urban areas for

    transport devices of limited wattage and mass.

    ct

    • I’ll take a pound of whatever you are on…….

      • Here in Australia we have cycle paths. I can get from home to university in about the same time with an e-bike as a car – same average speed because there are no traffic lights to hold me up, and I don’t have to park 10 minutes walk away to avoid exorbitant parking charges.

    • A lot of traffic is about moving stuff too heavy for a small and light vehicle, what do
      we do?

  2. I think electric bikes will not follow the same path as electric scooters. Regular bikes have been around for a very long time. So long as the price point on electric bikes don’t go up too high and the quality gets better they should be around a long time too.

  3. the Charly scooter was made in East Germany by MZ motorcyle,
    if u take the plastics off, it actually looks pretty cool !

    • thanks for that sk8norcal…i will change the story to reflect that. Your the scooter man.

  4. Where can I buy now voloci?

    • They are out of business…in the graveyard. Good luck finding one and if you find one parts will be unobtainable. Best bet is to pick another better more modern, more technological bike.

      Or find one cheap on the 2nd hand market…they are basically almost worthless and can be occassionaly found cheap.

      Good luck my man.

  5. anybody still on here? I’m looking at buying a Charly online. Can’t find much info about it, tho. It’s missing batteries. Found a 2-pack for 60$US. Can it run on two? It’s hilly here. Is it gonna be able to get up and down alright? Thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks for help.

    • I never heard of a charly.

      • It’s on your list above. The blue one. Charly, it’s German, made by MZ Motorcycle

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