I’ve tested a few electric scooters over the past few years, and they’re all pretty common: they weigh about 25-30 pounds, which is light enough for me to pick up with one arm, and can go a maximum of 15 miles per hour (about 24 kilometres per hour). These scooters mostly originate from China and are meant to cover the so-called “last mile commute” for urbanites living in cities. The idea is that commuters can take the scooters to subways or buses and then ride the final mile or so to their offices or homes. Also, those scooters are a little underpowered in both top speed and top mileage in Los Angeles, a sprawling city where subway stations are few and far between.
So when I had the opportunity to upgrade my scooter setup to a heavy duty scooter made by a U.K. company called Solar, I did. The model I’m testing, the just-launched P1 Pro, is several steps up from previous scooters I’ve tested. The P1 Pro, for example, can go at a top speed of 50 mph (that’s 80 kph for non-Americans) with dual 2,000-watt motors. I’ll be honest: that’s too fast for me, and in my weeks of riding the scooter, I never exceeded 30 mph. But this extra power comes in handy even if you’re not actually pushing top speed, as it allows the scooter to go up steep hills, for example. In the video below, I took the P1 Pro a hilly Alpine street in Los Angeles and the scooter was able to go 25 mph without missing a beat.
The second benefit of all that power is that this thing has some serious acceleration power—the motor produces a lot of torque—if you don’t hold on tight, initial acceleration can be horrendous. For those used to riding motorbikes, this should not be out of place. But if you’re jumping from smaller scooters, it might take some adjusting.
Thanks to big 11-inch fat tires and a firm suspension system, the ride remains smooth even through the notoriously broken Los Angeles pavement.
11 inch tires. Ben Sin
However, with all power comes increased bulk. The Solar P1 Pro weighs a whopping 70 pounds, which doesn’t make it any easier to carry around. But the scooter is significantly sturdier than the smaller ones, thanks to the alloy rims and aluminium body. I can still lift it up and move a few steps, but I can’t take it up the stairs.
The Solar P1 Pro folds, but it’s flimsy. Ben Sin
The scooter has a throttle on the right side of its handlebar, along with an LCD display that shows the speed and other relevant information. The brakes have two handles to control the responsive hydraulic brakes.
Throttle, LCD display and brake. Ben Sin
Solar P1 Pro Wheels BEN SIN
The P1 Pro can go up to 50 miles of range, which is enough for me to ride from downtown Los Angeles to suburbs like Pasadena and Monterey Park. It takes about nine hours to charge the battery from zero to full. The scooter is ranked IP54, which means it can resist continuous splashes of water. I was able to ride in the rain and through puddles without problems.
If the grips are to be there, the handle bar may have some vibration on the folding side. However, the folding hinge is extremely secure, requiring the pulling of a stiff lever and hitting another safety switch before the handlebar can fold down.
Folding mechanism. Ben Sin
The second control is the comparably heavy weight. Solar advertises that you can put this scooter in the trunk of a car, but I imagine most people would have a hard time picking the scooter up off the ground and bringing it up to hip level. A stem.
Solar P1 Pro.BEN SIN
Finally, the Solar P1 Pro can be considered pricey at $1,899. However, considering that it can be a car replacement for some people, the price is worth it. The Solar P1 Pro is a bit too heavy for most people, but there are those who make good use of it.