The electric variants of those once quirky, funny looking scooters have become one of the most popular buys of 2008, providing a largely hassle-free and cheap form of urban transport for many looking to minimize their carbon footprint and gas costs. AOL talking chose 8 popular electric scooter models to see what kind of fit they would be for you. So what are you waiting for? Jump on!
1. The Hipster: Go-Ped ESR 750
The original step-on lo-fi motor scooter has been improved once again this year with a new electric motor that's capable of reaching a top speed of over 20mph. It uses four 12 volt SLA (sealed lead acid) batteries. Turbo mode allows faster travel in a five-mile range, which the economy setting allows eight miles. It weighs 52 pounds and its aircraft quality Chromyl frame will hold up to 400 pounds.
2. The Eco-Warrior: eGO Cycle 2 Classic
A perfect, stylish fit for an ecologically minded rider, though it's also great for RV or camping trips. The motor produces 2hp and is powered by 24 volt batteries. It's sturdy at 140 pounds and will carry a combined 250 pounds in rider and cargo weight. Range is good at 25 miles and it will hit 18 mph at the top end. Large wheels at 20-inches make this one a pretty utilitarian ride. Recharge time is about six hours while running costs are about eight cents a mile.
3. The Highway Patrol: Vectrix
Rhode Island Police Officers are putting these to the test in a three-month pilot program announced in July -- officers like them for their ability to maintain mobility and personal contact with residents. This more substantial highway-legal scooter, with dimensions more akin to a regular full-size motorbike, will take about seven seconds to top out at 62 mph. Remarkably, it costs just one cent per mile to operate.
4. The Street Racer: Enertia
Look out for this one at the Isle of Man TT road race next year. The new event, called the TTXP, is open to two-wheeled "clean-emission" vehicles. The standard Enertia set for release later this year boasts a 13kW motor that generates 18HP at 3,600 rpm, propelling the carbon fiber frame to a top speed of 50+ mph in seven seconds. Batteries are six Lithium Iron Phosphate modules lodged directly underneath the rider and give a range of 35-45 miles.
5. The Light Commuter: HCF 737 Pacelite
MSRP: Approx. $699
The Pacelight is a combination step-on/ride-on scooter that folds for easy transportation or storage. All aluminum alloy frame is light at 60 pounds and will carry up to 240 pounds. It'll zoom to almost 15 mph and gets about 13 miles per charge. It packs two 24 volt SLA batteries and favored by riders for its reliability. Its 12.5 inch wheels and dual suspension are ideal for rough ground.
6. The Style Conscious: Zap Zapino
So it looks great in pink, which may be a first, but this curvy number also comes in great-looking Sky Blue and Lime Green variants, perfect to match those Jimmy Choos. The name also evokes a just a touch of Italian ÔøΩlan. It's a sturdy, storage-friendly ride-on model at 297 pounds that will climb a 25 percent gradient with a 177 pound rider onboard. It'll hit about 30 mph and gets about 30 miles per charge.
7. The Modern Living: Vespa Hybrid
MSRP: Expect in the $10,000 range
So we're cheating a little as this is a hybrid that utilizes a gas-burning engine. It may look cumbersome with two wheels, but the sturdy look and feel has proven popular and reports suggest the company is considering a four-wheel model. Piaggio says it'll wring 60 miles out of a liter of fuel and the electric motor, powered by a lithium battery, has a 20-mile range with a top speed of 20 mph. Range will include a 500cc gas motor alongside a 125cc variant.
8. The Classicist: EVT R20
This retro-feeling classic is a study in scooter longevity, as this second-generation offering has had a loyal following since its release last year. This one emits neither sound nor pollutants and will travel 30 to 45 miles on one charge, and can seat two riders or up to 270 pounds. It tops out at 45 mph. It's powered by a 2500 Watt brushless 60V motor and its battery life is about 10 years.