“Wow, that’s a cool thing. Is it electric?” The three boys crossing the road in front of me at the traffic lights can hardly contain their excitement about the slim two-wheeled electric scooter below me. There is no doubt that the e-moped of the well-known e-scooter manufacturer Govecs attracts attention and receives a thoroughly positive response. Whether its character lives up to appearances and the “Elmoto Loop” also proves to be suitable for everyday use, we were able to check in a longer test phase.
It would be easy to list for whom and for which purposes the Elmoto is not suitable, or at least only suitable to a limited extent. But let’s put it positively, namely that this agile vehicle weighing only 59 kilos is predestined to meander nimbly through the urban jungle. Due to the lack of space, it does not have a significant load capacity or – at least heavier – passengers on the seat, as these would significantly reduce agility and range. Nevertheless, there is basically the option of attaching pillion/socia footrests and squeezing two onto the Elmoto for shorter distances.
Govecs’ core target group is primarily a younger, urban clientele, although, as our test team has shown, older people can also have fun with the runabout. Those who don’t want to attract attention with the rattling of a two-stroke combustion engine are likely to be interested in the light electric motorcycle, which can be driven with an AM driving licence, at the age of 16, sometimes as early as 15. It is classified in the L1e class of motorbikes that are not subject to registration, with a small insurance plate at the rear. Unlike pedalers of fast e-bikes (“S-pedelecs”), which, like the Elmoto, also accelerate up to 45 km/h, the Elmoto riders are not constantly told by enraged motorists to use the cycle path. In the mistaken belief that fast e-bikes, also equipped with a licence plate, are allowed to use cycle paths…
Before Govecs took over and further developed the model, there was a predecessor under the Elmoto brand. In contrast to this, the battery is now removable. This is a great advantage, as it significantly expands the range of potential customers, such as tenants/owners of multi-storey flats. Fully charged, the battery block allows a range of about 70 kilometres and can be recharged in a good four hours at the household socket. The electric motor in the rear wheel produces up to 2.0 kW (2.7 hp) and works pleasantly quietly. Turn signals, daytime running lights, LED headlights and a display are obligatory. One would like to see an indicator switch of the type usually found on scooters, as the narrow toggle switch solution can be uncomfortable on the thumb in the long run.
Where the fuel filler cap usually sits on a combustion engine, the Elmoto has a flap that can be opened with a key. Behind it is a double USB socket and a cable for unlocking the seat. When the seat is folded up, you can access the battery, which can also be charged when it is installed. However, it would be desirable if the charger plug could be locked in place more easily than with the current solution, which involves a certain amount of fiddling. With a little practice, the battery can be removed and inserted relatively easily, despite the narrow dimensions and the cables that have to be manoeuvred past. It stands flush on a base plate with raised edges. The battery’s own weight also provides additional stability. However, why the manufacturer has provided a strap with a Velcro fastener as an additional fastening remains a mystery to us. Which brings us back to the subject of fumbling… Describing the at best annoying process of getting hold of the strap in the first place in order to finally be able to pull it through the hand strap of the battery would require a separate paragraph here. Given. In any case, we spared ourselves the annoying procedure in the end – without noticing any negative effects afterwards.
The Govecs developers have come up with a very clever solution for the steering wheel lock: On the left side of the moped, a sturdy cable is firmly connected to the frame. However, it can be swivelled upwards and fastened to the front fork, which is turned to the left, with a key. Simple, pragmatic, safe.
To call the Elmoto loop particularly comfortable would be an exaggeration, as the seat and the front and rear dampers are of the harder variety. Despite this firm design, manhole covers, for example, are swallowed neatly, even if acoustic feedback shows that gliding on flat asphalt is the real domain of the two-wheeled Stromer. The tread of the quiet Schwalbe tyres is designed accordingly.
High fun factor: from a standstill, the Elmoto – typical for an electric bike – gets going quickly and continues to pull up dynamically until the prescribed speed limit of 45 km/h is reached. This means that despite the limited top speed, speedy progress at urban “traffic light hopping” is guaranteed. In any case, the moped is not perceived as a rolling obstacle to traffic. The slim body also makes it easier to weave through the traffic jam than with a scooter.
While the speed on the display can be read without any problems, the charging level display is unfortunately a different story. Even without sunlight and an overcast sky, we could at best guess when it was time to make a “refuelling stop”. Only in the non-illuminated underground car park did we see the light…
Although this is a shortcoming, it is not a serious problem. After all, after a certain time the riders develop a pretty good feeling for how long the battery capacity will last. In any case, it is advisable to recharge every now and then, even if the battery still guarantees enough range for the next trip. This is good for the battery and helps against range anxiety. The limited view to the rear is annoying, but also not very dramatic, if the mirror has once again shifted – for example after a cobblestone passage. Putting it back in the right position requires a certain amount of skill and patience.
The Elmoto loop is an excellent vehicle for speeding through urban traffic without emissions. It offers a high fun factor and is a real eye-catcher because it is stylish. The price of 3990 euros is not affordable for all young people, but it is at least on a par with S-pedelecs. The Govecs e-moped is a real alternative to these, as well as to classic (e-)scooters. Should the federal government or even individual federal states and municipalities follow the example of Munich, for example, and subsidise the purchase of electric two-wheelers in the L1e-L3e classes with up to 1,200 euros, this would additionally increase the attractiveness of the Elmoto loop, especially if the next model generation were to feature one or two improvements in detail.
Text: Peter Grett
Pictures: Lutz Duerichen
Castle and display pictures: Peter Grett