I’m not going to discover anything, China is plagued by large cities with a lot of pollution, so there are many companies looking for the ideal alternative for their citizens to make daily commutes. What Niu is trying to create in the country seems quite interesting and reminds us of the initiative Gogoro appeared a couple of years ago in Taiwan, consisting of creating a fleet of electric motorcycles that are offered as a service.
The secret to creating an interesting electric motorcycle in China is that the battery is powerful and can be transported, since many potential buyers do not get to have one because of possible thefts of the most precious element of the vehicle. In Niu have managed to do small, but also introduced anti-theft technology inherited from the world of smartphones.
Each of Niu’s electric scooters is created with components in which there is basic communication, so that an operating system can know if one of its parts is missing or has been replaced, sending the information to the cloud. The brand will know the change, also the user.
How is that battery? As LG does and weighs a little more than 8 kilos, so more or less we can consider it as transportable, also invites to have more than one. With the 2.4kW of capacity you can make up to 100 kilometers in the best conditions. There is a Pro version – a tad more capable – that extends the range up to 120 kilometers.
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In terms of performance, the little more than 3CV of Bosch engine power give to move to NIU at 45 kilometers per hour. We have to take into account that the weight of the complete motorcycle is quite contained, about 60 kilos.
Despite being raised as a smart device, the NIU Smart Scooter is also a low-cost product, or at least they are trying to make its price very competitive. Would you pay 1500 dollars for something like that? Possibly yes, it is not much more than what they ask for many electric bikes.
That price encourages people to consider the bike as a solution to traffic in big cities, and is that the biggest problem is in this type of short-distance travel – less than six kilometers – where a motorcycle can meet guarantee. A car would take up too much space and cost a lot more.
It should be noted that the scooter was first introduced in June 2015, thinking that it could go ahead as a crowdfunding project, and it was: 11 million dollars raised in 15 days. Since then they have been improving battery and has appeared a new model to the market (N1S Civic and M1).
The real response of the Chinese market has been very good, with sales of 60000 units for the initial model, and 90000 for which appeared a little later. Its expansion will be international in the next two years, and expect to sell 150000 bikes in 2018.