Since the demise of Vectrix, one would be hard-pressed to mention the brand name of an electric scooter available in the US. This might change soon with the arrival of the GenZe.
GenZe is a new subsidiary of Indian car manufacturer Mahindra and is based in Fremont, California, right next to Tesla. It is there that GenZe has designed and developed this new electric scooter which will be build in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
When we first presented it last spring, it was called the GenZe STS and was scheduled to go on sale in the summer.
Well, like for most other electric vehicle projects, this timetable has slipped. The scooter is now being called the GenZe 2.0 and scheduled to be available in the spring of 2015. The main evolution is a new brushless hub motor that delivers 4 kW of peak power (2kW constant power) and a peak torque of 130 Nm. Here are the specs:
Over the past few weeks, test ride events have been held in the San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon areas. These are the first markets where the GenZe will be available, in a limited rollout reminiscent of Nissan’s strategy with the Leaf.
We recently had the opportunity to ride a pre-production model of the GenZe on a short track and we came back rather impressed. The scooter has an original design which makes it look bigger than other 50cc-equivalent scooter. It has a seat for one person only, with a big bin for which GenZe has developed several hard and soft cargo options. The scooter comes in white, silver or charcoal.
Power is rather good in “Sport” mode, adequate in “Economy” mode, and really insufficient in “Easy” mode. It was difficult to judge handling and braking on a really short track, but the scooter seemed comfortable and well put together. There is a kind of playfulness to it, and the cargo options make it very versatile.
GenZe is targeting members of the millennial generation (thus the name GenZe, for GENeration Zero Emission) living in cities and who have no interest in owning a car. The scooter will be available online for $2,999, and service centers and showrooms are planned. The first showroom is open in Palo Alto, and according to the company, the first service centers opened in Fremont and Torrance, with Portland opening in November. Initial production level in Ann Arbor will be 75 units per week.
Can this GenZe revolutionize the scooter market in the US? Only 34,742 scooters were sold here last year, but if there ever was a market crying for electrification, this is it.
The Nissan Leaf was the first mass-market electric car from a large car manufacturer, and it has become a worldwide success. Can GenZe repeat the same scenario with its electric scooter?