My NIU N-GT runs *basically* for free

Electric, lightweight, 2-wheeled vehicles should be the god-tier of the small to medium mobility. While it is good to talk about electric cars, I wanted to prove that there are literally no reasons to buy a new noisy, stinky petrol scooter in 2020.

NIU N-GT

My electric scooter was probably one of the best purchases I made in the last five years. This is something I do not say lightly. After only 7 months of ownership, math is telling me this was one of the most sound financial decisions I made in my adult life.

Summer is coming and the perfect conditions to try out an EV (electric vehicle) finally hit Sicily: light to no wind, 22-25 °C (72-77 °F).
Lithium batteries are influenced by cold weather. I was getting good mileage this winter with my N-GT, but I wanted to wait for the perfect conditions to make precise range and cost estimates.

This electric scooter has 3 different modes in which energy is supplied to the Bosch engine that moves the main back wheel:

  • E-save: a energy saving mode that caps the maximum speed around 50 km/h (31 mph) and supposedly limits the engine to around 50% of it’s total power. Torque and acceleration are reduced yet it feels ”chilled” more than slow. I would re-name e-save as chill mode. I think it’s more appropriate;
  • Dynamic: a balanced setting that should give you the best of both worlds: lively torque and balanced range. The speed is capped at around 67 km/h (41 mph);
  • Sport: as it says on the tin, supposedly gives you the best torque and acceleration possible without really caring about energy consumption. Speed reaches 85 km/h (53 mph). While is fun to try it out the first few times, I tend to avoid to use it.

In the last 2 days I drove a total of 168 km (104 miles). The first day I used the scooter without a care in the world, using the Dynamic mode. The second day I really wanted to break records and I drove the same length with E-save mode.

Day one, Dynamic mode

I started the day at 100%. I drove 85 km (52 miles). When I got home, the % remaining was 28%. Which means I spent 72% of battery to ride for 85 km.

Doing a simple calculation tells us that the ”fuel” efficiency was around 0,85% per km (1.38% per mile) .
So if with 0,85% I can drive 1 km, with a full charge I can realistically expect to drive for 117 km (72 miles) in Dynamic mode, before battery runs out. That is great mileage.

At my house, I pay around 0.25€ per kW (0,27 USD per kW). The 2 batteries of the N-GT are in total 4,2 kWh. Meaning than fully charging my scooter costs me 1,05€. Let’s consider some energy loss and let’s round it up. Let’s say I spend 1,20€ for a full ”tank” (1,30 USD).

Considering the fuel efficiency that we already calculated, we now learn that the N-GT runs at 0,01€ per km (0,017 USD per mile). And we are using the normal, speedy, mode.

We are talking about a vehicle that brings you to work, to school, to the beach, to the city that emits 0 stinky polluting gas, emits 0 annoying and loud noises and that runs at 0,01€ per km while riding at 65 km/h.

Day two, E-save mode

The results of day one were unbelievable by themselves, but there was another test to be done. The Sunday, chilled riding test, which brought me even more ridiculous results.

I started the day at 100%. I drove 83 km (51 miles). When I got home, the % remaining was 46%. Which means I spent 54% of battery to ride for 83 km.

The ”fuel” efficiency was around 0,65% per km (1.06% per mile) .
So if with 0,65% I can drive 1 km, with a full charge I can realistically expect to drive for 154 km (95 miles) in E-save mode, before battery runs out. That is crazy town mileage.

Considering this, riding a N-GT in E-save costs me 0,007€ (0,013 USD per mile). That figure is so little, we should multiply by 10 to make our brain register the information. Riding 10 km in E-save drains 0,07€ from my wallet (0,13 USD per 10 miles).

Going electric is more expensive that getting an ICE vehicle, for now, and really just slightly. But you NEED to consider the long term saving and the running costs. The running costs alone should really make you think. Also put things in prospective. Scooters do not have the same gap cars have. We are not talking about choosing between a cheap shitty plastic FIAT Tipo that costs 14000€ and a 48500€ Tesla Model 3, three and a half times more.
We are talking 2-wheeled scooters. The gap between a 125cc petrol scooter and my electric scooter with government incentives is 1.5x, worst case scenario (considering the Kymco Like 125i). Some petrol scooters are even more expensive that my N-GT, like the Vespa Primavera 125cc.
This is crazy. There are literally zero excuses to not choose electric if you are in the market for a medium size scooter. The Vespas, the Kymcos, the Yamaha, those polluting noisy expensive scooters have to evolve.