We usually test pretty much every kind of electric vehicle, from pedelecs to electric scooters to electric cars, and then share our impressions of these “experiences” with our readers. Now we could celebrate a premiere, namely our first e-scooter test.
The e-scooter pioneer
Florian Walberg is considered the first mover, innovator and figurehead among European suppliers of electric stand-up scooters, commonly called e-scooters. After all, the former tour manager and singer founded his company Walberg Urban Electrics back in 2011, long before a minister surfed the corridors of his Federal Ministry of Transport and finally gave the go-ahead for the new form of urban, environmentally friendly mobility after a seemingly endless, bureaucratic approval phase. When Germany finally launched the “Electric Mini-Scooter Ordinance” in 2019 and immediately triggered a heated debate about the sense and purpose of e-scooters, Florian Walberg’s company had already sold tens of thousands of them in other European countries.
E-scooters – hotly debated mobility alternative
In the initial phase, when several sharing providers tried to create a new market with power, there were sometimes adventurous scenes in the streets of the big cities. Tourists, in particular, often paid little attention to the ban on driving on pavements and cruised – often in pairs – through the traffic area. And the e-scooters spread out and piled up disorderly on footpaths and in green spaces after use, to the annoyance of passers-by. What some celebrated as a revolutionary, environmentally friendly mobility offer in the mix of transport modes was simply a nuisance for others.
In the meantime, the uncontrolled growth has been tamed, the rental offers have settled down and the discussions have died down. Keyword: environmental impact. Recently, more and more rental scooters are equipped with replaceable batteries that are collected for charging by cargo e-bikes. Looking back on the early days, however, the most lasting impression was left by the mostly happy faces of sharing customers, who seemed to visibly enjoy cruising with the stationary power scooters. From this point of view, the rental devices are an ideal apetiser, which makes some people think about buying their own e-scooter. Those who then decide to buy one are faced with the challenge of identifying the right product for their needs. Not at all easy in view of the now quite extensive and therefore confusing market.
When approaching the e-scooter topic, we deliberately chose one of the two product series EGRET (premium brand) and THE-URBAN (lifestyle brand) from Walberg Urban Electrics because we see the supplier’s many years of experience as a plus point and were able to test a brand new model with the xT1 model. What caught our eye right away were the confidence-inspiring 10-inch pneumatic tyres. On the one hand, these promised good suspension comfort and, on the other hand, greater directional stability than smaller tyres, which lead to “nervous” handling on some devices. There are 120 mm disc brakes on the front and rear wheels that should reliably bring the device to a halt in any situation.
The speed can be set to 12 km/h or 20 km/h via two freely selectable driving levels. According to the manufacturer, the maximum range is 25 kilometres. A folding mechanism makes it easier to transport the 16.5 kg scooter. An electronic immobiliser (PIN request) protects against access by unauthorised persons.
The manufacturer praises its products as a “combination of safety and comfort”. They are convinced that “safe handling, stable folding mechanisms and reliable braking systems are the basis for unrestricted driving pleasure.
And after an extensive test phase, we are convinced that he is right. But first things first:
We were immediately familiar with the xT1 and taken with the driving comfort that the “asphalt glider” offers. There was also nothing to complain about in terms of the subjective feeling of safety. The brakes grip reliably without triggering moments of shock due to too biting response behaviour. Overall, the xT1 makes a robust and stable impression. As far as can be expected.
However, a serious test also involves exploring the possible limits of a vehicle that was specially designed for use in urban areas. So we used the scooter on a sunny midsummer day for a trip to a bathing lake about 11 kilometres away. Three quarters of the route consists of asphalt paths, including a long uphill section of a motorway crossing. Concerns that the scooter might drop to its knees “on the hill” and go into creep mode proved unfounded, however. The xT1 pulled over the climb at top speed completely unimpressed, so we can attest to it having a fair amount of power reserves. The next challenge on the way to the cooling water, however, was not long in coming, namely in the form of a rather rough dirt road passage. It was amazing how our vehicle mastered this terrain with sovereignty, without creating the feeling of having to do an “egg dance”. Of course, no e-scooter feels really at home away from its actual “habitat”, but we can even say that the xT1 is suitable for uneven ground.
Another thing we noticed: The manufacturer’s maximum range is obviously very close to reality, because despite the power-guzzling uphill passage we had to master twice, we always came back with a remaining range of 2-3 kilometres.
Otherwise: The display is easy to read and reliably shows the battery status, the kilometres covered and the speed. Practical: There is a hook on the handlebars on which, for example, a bag or backpack can be hung during the ride. The folding mechanism also works perfectly, and the mounting bracket for the folded handlebars, which is located on the rear mudguard, is robustly designed. Overall, all components of the lifestyle scooter make a very solid impression.
The xT1 from THE-URBAN is a user-friendly and robust all-rounder among e-scooters. Its product quality as well as its high level of driving stability and safety make it a predestined mobility product for urban areas and – thanks to its stability and pneumatic tyres – also for occasional outings on non-asphalted paths.
- Maximum speed: 20 km/h*
- Maximum range: 25 km*
- Weight: 16.5 kg
- Maximum load: 120 kg
- Motor power: 300 watts continuous, 500 watts peak
- Tyres: 10 inch pneumatic tyres
- Mechanical disc brakes
- Charging time: 3 – 4 hours
- Two driving modes
- Electronic immobiliser (PIN request)
- Dimensions: L 113 x W 46.8 x 122.8 cm
- Dimensions folded: L 113 x W 46.8 x 48 cm
- Price: 799 €
Text: Peter Grett
Pictures 1, 2 and 6 Anett Tobies, Pictures 3, 4, 5, 7 Manufacturer