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A bike with batteries included

I was once a scooter commuter, before my bike was stolen from my front garden. Scooter travel is convenient and fun. To me, it represented genuine urban freedom. Being able to hop on and off the scooter without any of the paraphernalia that a motorcycle ride demands, and being able to zip in and out of traffic so quickly that I got an extra 40 minutes in bed each morning, far outweighed the downside of occasionally getting wet. I never had a problem parking it, it was economical, and most importantly, it sipped petrol, so trips to the petrol station were rare.

The reason why I am genuinely excited about the trend for electric cars or bikes is the prospect of eradiating petrol stations from my weekly experience. Petrol stations are loathsome. They’re unsightly, represent a blight on our environment in every way, and I all too often find myself waiting for a pump while some egotist browses the selection of Taste the bloody Difference ready meals.

Which is why when I was offered a chance to ride the new all-electric Yogo, a clever little commuter scooter from egonogo, I jumped at the chance. Vespas and other motorized scooters have always been a good eco alternative to commuting in even the greenest of passenger cars, and making scooters electric has always made a great deal of sense to me. Teenagers will still be able to enjoy their new-found freedom, without sounding and being as irritating as a mosquito, while commuters can avoid the traffic congestion frustrations that bookend everyone else’s day, and spend even less on their journey in the process.

At first sight the Yogo looks pretty stylish, and looks like a lot of other scooters on the market. This is a good thing because some of its rivals look like they were designed in consultation with Clive Sinclair. There is almost nothing about it that suggests it is battery-powered. So no compromise on looks then. What about performance?
Like most scooters these days, the Yogo has automatic twist and go transmission; unlike non-electric scooters, however, the power is immediate, which gives you a real boost when you pull away. With both batteries on board, it may be a little heavier than other scooters I have ridden, like an older Vespa, but it’s nothing problematic. It feels feisty and handles well enough, and I feel smug knowing that I am zipping along without leaving behind noxious fumes, all seemingly without any compromise on my usual scooter experience.

The downside, other than some additional weight that may bother some, when two batteries are used, is that there is no lockable glovebox and no under-seat storage to speak of due to the location of the batteries. So you’ll need to get yourself a rack or box if you need to carry a briefcase.

The one, single and overriding attraction of the Yogo is the ability to completely avoid fuelling, and here is its masterstroke. Even charging it is easy. There are other electric scooters on the market, some have been around for a while, but none of them suit London very well. This is because, even with the best will in the world and the most earnest commitment to greener motoring, I would never consider owning a scooter that forces me to run an extension cable through my front window, down my path, and possibly even across the pavement, in order to recharge it. And I live in a house. In a first floor apartment this is something of a non-starter (ahem). The Yogo is the first electric scooter that uses a fully detachable and portable lithium battery – rather than an integrated battery – so you can remove it from under the seat and charge it inside the home or work, just like a camera battery, only bigger. According to econogo the battery will charge in one hour. Best of all this also renders the scooter un-nickable, unless crooks want to pick it up and hoist it sans batteries into a van. No one is going to be able to steal it for an opportunistic ride home.

The Yogo has a range of 22 miles. But this can be extended to a significant 44 miles range if a second battery is added. When one is run down a rocker switch enables you to switch between the two batteries so you’re up and running again immediately.

The Yogo is available in two options: The first is equivalent to a 50cc petrol engine moped and has a top speed of 30mph. The second, the Yogo S, has a top speed of 40mph, equivalent to a 100cc motorbike. So you’ll need a CBT licence to drive this option. Astonishingly, both cost just £1,999, equivalent to a conventional petrol powered equivalent.

www.econogo.co.uk

THE FACTS:
ECONOGO YOGO SCOOTER
price: £1,999
RANGE: 22 miles (+22 miles with additional battery)
Top speed: 27mph or 38mph depending on model
CO2 g/km: 0
Weight: 101kg (with one battery), 112kg (with two)