This is the Etergo AppScooter – it’s going to be the Tesla of the scooter world
This could revolutionise your daily commute
Jon is a British motoring journalist, who is a former the Editor-in-Chief of Auto Trader and Motor1 UK.
Etergo looks like your archetypal start-up. Big white vaulted spaces replete with hot desks and break-out areas; white boards peppered with colourful post-it notes; smart, fashionable people animatedly chatting around coffee machines. It’s a Friday afternoon and nobody wants to go home.
Except this isn’t Silicon Valley. We’re in the suburbs of Amsterdam hanging out with Bart Jacobsz Rosier, the young, tall – come on, this is the Netherlands – charismatic CEO and co-founder of Etergo. In the space of four years, Bart dodged becoming a basketball player or pot sommelier and instead set up this fledgling company to create, develop and mass manufacture an all-new, all-electric scooter.
The AppScooter is part of Etergo’s broader, laudable objective to accelerate the transition towards renewable energy. The company name is derived from the Latin ‘and therefore’, which could be perceived as a highfalutin way to woo investors and substantiate the ‘why’, but you do get the feeling it’s genuine.
The humble scooter is on his ‘to make better’ list because, despite being a brilliant commuting option for our cities, it can also be a secret killer. A recent Nature Magazine survey found that the rich combustion of two-stroke scooters are a significant source of particulate matter and toxic organic compounds. In some developing cities, they were found to be more damaging than vans or buses and yet it is estimated that 500million motorised two-wheelers will be sold between now and 2030. And therefore... if Etergo can nail the zero emissions AppScooter, it could genuinely move the skylines of Beijing, Bangkok and Barcelona from clouds of smog to clouds of smug.
The Etergo AppScooter will be the most connected and affordable electric scooter yet
This is all very worthy stuff, but the ultimate objective for urban commuters remains to find transport that is cheap to buy and run, doesn’t possess a suicidal fuel gauge and prevents you from having your face wedged into someone’s armpit every morning. Saving the planet would be a happy offshoot.
And this is where things get exciting, because the AppScooter looks like incredible value for an electric bike. Prices start at £3,000 for the glacially slow 2KW model which you don’t want, but you only need to spend £4,500 for the 7KW version that has a 60mph top speed and 120-mile range. For some context, that’s the same price as a petrol-powered Honda Forza 125. If you wanted the 3.5KW Vespa Elettrica, it would be significantly slower, offer half the range and cost £6,249.
Tell me I’m wrong but I also think the front end styling of the AppScooter is as expressive as the Vespa and, with time, will be as instantly recognisable as a Mini or Fiat 500. It’s the sort of vehicle you can already imagine featuring in a blizzard of selfies, summoning double-digit Facebook ‘likes’. Riding is as effortless as the twist-and-go nature would imply, with confident handling and easy manoeuvrability thanks to low set batteries.
Take a picture and wait for the double-digit Facebook 'likes' to roll in
The really clever bit is under the seat. Not just the cavernous storage that’s big enough to hold a beer crate, but beneath that is a trio of patented, removable battery packs. Each pack contains a stack of lithium ion cells that are curved to slot seamlessly into the scooter’s central spine. Such a modular set-up will help create an entire folio of battery-powered two-wheelers in the coming years but for now, it offers the AppScooter remarkable flexibility in upgrading, servicing and charging. Sure, you can juice up at one of the UK’s charging stations, but you’ll just as easily be able to remove one of the 7.5kg packs and plug in overnight at home. Perfect if you live in a high-rise.
The seven-inch infotainment screen is also standout and wouldn’t look out of place in a flash car. Etergo has created the equivalent of Apple CarPlay, seamlessly syncing your phone via Bluetooth to play music via the built-in speaker or give you directions via the built-in GPS. Incidentally, it’s the same map provider as used in BMW’s navigation systems and is brilliant. It also has 4G connectivity to provide security tracking, over-the-air software updates and harvest rider data to improve battery performance.
Each battery pack module weighs 7.5kg and features an integrated strap
With a direct-to-customer sales model that is looking at both sales and subscription-based arrangements, plus open source software that will encourage app builders to add more value, this little scooter is looking every inch the two-wheeled Tesla. When it goes on sale later this year, you get the impression this work of quiet genius is going to make every other motorcycle manufacturer look a little outdated.
Credits: Photography by Almu Tabernero