Peugeot becomes first high street brand to launch electric scooter

Peter Henshaw takes the new e-Vivacity for a spin

Until now, electric scooters have either been made in China, or have come from new European or North American start-ups. For the first time, with Peugeot launching the e-Vivacity, you can now buy an electric two-wheeler from a well-known badge that has dealers across Europe. And there are more to come – Honda, Yamaha and Piaggio (makers of the famous Vespa) also have electric or hybrid scooters in the pipeline.

That’s good news, because sales of Chinese-made scooters have been limited by a lack of dealers (some can only be bought over the internet), short warranties and, in some cases, poor quality. Peugeot likes to emphasise that its new e-scooter is nearly all-French, although that’s reflected in the £3799 price tag.

The Peugeot e-Vivacity looks quite normal, just like the petrol-powered scooter it’s based on, but without an exhaust pipe. Of course, it’s also missing the 125cc petrol engine, and in place of the fuel tank there are two lithium-ion batteries, which supply power to a 3kw electric motor.

Riding the e-Vivacity is simplicity itself. You simply turn the key, press the ‘mode’ button and off you go. As with any modern scooter, it’s fully automatic, so getting going is just a matter of twisting the grip – ‘twist & go’ as scooterists like to say.

Some e-scooters are quite slow off the mark, but the Peugeot nips up to 25mph quite well, then more slowly to its maximum 30mph. It won’t win any races, but it’s fast enough away from the lights to be safe. Like any scooter, it’s very easy to park in town, and comes with some useful luggage room under the seat.

The crucial thing with any electric scooter is the range. Peugeot claim 60km (35 miles) before it needs recharging, and on one longer ride I did, the e-Vivacity was certainly heading for that. Better still, the ‘fuel’ gauge, which shows how much juice you’ve got left, is big, clear and seems accurate.

The e-Vivacity will be in Peugeot scooter dealers from the autumn, and comes with an impressive four-year warranty on the battery. It costs a lot more than an equivalent petrol scooter, but will prove cheaper in the long-run. And in the meantime, it offers one of the smallest carbon footprints on the road, this side of a bicycle.