Despite e-scooters still being in a legal grey area in Ireland, Spanish carmaker SEAT is launching its first model here.
Remember Segways? The company behind the two-wheeled mode of transport that became famous in the early 2000s has now teamed up with the carmaker SEAT to produce the latter’s first e-scooter.
SEAT said the eXS KickScooter was created in response to the growing demand for electric urban transport among commuters. In Ireland, the scooter will be available in participating SEAT retailers at a cost of €599.
In terms of performance, the eXS KickScooter has a range of 25km on a single charge with a maximum recharge time of 3.5 hours. Its top speed is 25kph with a weight of 12.5kg. SEAT said that its 8in-diameter solid rubber wheels help prevent punctures, and its front and rear suspensions give it good handling.
The e-scooter also comes with a password-protected app, which allows the user to control the front and rear LED lights, customisable ambient light, an LCD screen, cruise control setting, and anti-theft measures.
Commenting on its launch, SEAT Ireland brand director Niall Phillips said: “While selling high-value four-wheel vehicles will remain the core offering of SEAT Ireland, we have to be cognisant of changing consumer demand and the need to adapt our product range to meet this demand.”
However, this launch coincides with a time where there is still little clarity as to e-scooters’ legal status in Ireland. Under the Road Traffic Act 1961, any vehicle with a means of propulsion – including electrical and partly electrical – is classified as a road vehicle requiring insurance, road tax and a licence.
The Government said that it has asked the Road Safety Authority to conduct research into how other EU member states legislate for e-scooters. With ownership on the rise and entities such as e-scooter ride-sharing company Lime establishing a base here, there are calls for legislation to be implemented.
A recent survey conducted by iReach Insights of 1,001 adults found that 66pc believe the Government should bring in e-scooter legislation. 56pc also said that those who ride them should be required to have a licence to do so, while 65pc believe they should be banned on footpaths.
34pc of those aged between 18 and 34 said they would consider buying an e-scooter, with 81pc of respondents saying that they would want it chiefly for transportation. Meanwhile, just 31pc said that the environment would be a deciding factor. In contrast, the top reason against buying an e-scooter (38pc) was the fear of a lack of safety on Irish roads.
Updated, 2.08pm, 18 June 2019: This article has been amended to reflect the accurate price of the eXS KickScooter.