Segway Ninebot announced the futuristic-looking Air T15 electric scooter earlier this year, demonstrating a number of innovative control and safety features. While the scooter had been set to launch internationally next week, pre-orders have just gone live early for the scooter’s domestic market.
The Segway Ninebot Air T15 electric scooter is more than just an update to the popular yet aging M365 electric scooter design. It’s an entirely different animal.
The Air T15 e-scooter uses a twin beam handlebar and stem design that looks reminiscent of a double crown fork on a bicycle. Between the twin beams is a panel that houses a long, vertical LED light strip to improve nighttime riding visibility. A connected smartphone app allows owners to personalize their lighting colors and even display multiple colors along the length of the LED strip.
A wraparound LED tail light also adds to the brighter and more visible light package of the scooter.
The 10.5 kg (23 lb) scooter is 90% comprised of magnesium alloy and features a bezel-less dashboard screen that is only rivaled by perhaps the Unagi luxury electric scooter.
The scooter rides on foam-filled tires that should more closely mimic ride-softening pneumatic tires while still removing the chance of punctures.
Those tires may be more comfortable, but the small 7.5-inch front tire and smaller yet 6-inch rear tire mean that this is a scooter best kept on smooth streets.
The Air T15 is controlled not by a standard throttle, but rather with a kick-to-go system. Perhaps the best way to describe it would be a constant cruise control. Essentially, the rider pushes off like a non-electric scooter to get moving, and the scooter then locks in at the rider’s current speed. To go faster, the rider gives another kick or two. To slow down, the rider steps on the mudflap brake, which also engages regenerative braking. With this new control system, the rider’s feet can entirely control the acceleration and deceleration, just like on a standard scooter.
It’s almost like pedal assist on a bicycle, yet adapted for an electric scooter. You do the kicking and the scooter provides the power to maintain your speed more easily.
While the concept is innovative and the design is actually award-winning, the tech specs leave something to be desired. The Air T15 electric scooter’s 300W motor only manages a top speed of 20 km/h (12.4 mph) and a range of 15 km (9.3 mi). So this is definitely an in-the-city type of electric scooter. There are four riding modes, but with a top speed of just 20 km/h (12.4 mph), I imagine “Sport Mode” will be the only one most people use.
But what it lacks in power, the scooter makes up for in convenience. The Air T15 features a one-second folding mechanism that sees the handlebars automatically rotate and retract. The scooter can then be pulled along behind the user in the folded position, using its front wheel like a dolly.
Ninebot is banking on the scooter’s futuristic design and improved convenience to win over riders — and ultimately buyers. The scooter got a surprise early launch in China yesterday, but is still set to begin international pre-orders on May 19 via a Kickstarter campaign. While many customers are wary of crowdfunding campaigns, Ninebot is a massive player in the electric scooter market, and it is unlikely that they would fail to fulfill the campaign.
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