Electric cars are fairly common news these days, but the popularity of electric mopeds is on the rise. One of the main protagonists in this arena is Govecs, a Germany-based electric mobility company that produces the Go! range. We had the opportunity to test its Go! S1.2 recently, a £2,999 scooter in the same performance bracket as a 50cc scooter. Here's how it fared.
The Go! S1.2 is a fairly typical-looking scooter. It's not as attractive and stylish as a Vespa, but unlike, which tend to look ridiculous in comparison to their petrol counterparts, the Go! S1.2 looks fairly normal. In fact, if it weren't for the "Electric" motif scrawled on the side of the fairing, the absence of an exhaust pipe and the complete lack of any noise, one could be forgiven for thinking it was a traditional petrol model.
Ride it like you stole it
Getting around on the Go! S1.2 is loads of fun. Turn the key, wait a couple of seconds for the on-board computers to declare the system ready, twist the handle on the right side of the handlebars and you're off -- it works just like an ordinary scooter.
Govecs claims the Go! S1.2 also performs like a normal scooter -- and it's right. Unlike the quite awful Ego Street Scoota, the Go! S1.2 takes off quicker than bicycles and will keep pace with most entry-level scooters and slow-moving cars up until about 15mph. Above that speed, cars do bear down on you and overtake, but around town, anything larger than the Go! S1.2 usually gets caught up in jams, which leaves the scooter free to zip in and out of traffic.
Silent, but deadly
The Go! S1.2 is extremely quiet in operation. It isn't quite silent -- the whir of its electric motor is evident at low speeds because of the lack of wind noise -- but it doesn't emit anywhere near the din heard from a conventional scooter or motorbike.
That's not a good thing. The noise of a petrol-powered moped is extremely annoying, granted, but it's hugely important as it alerts other motorists to your presence. People in SUVs are far less likely to accidentally run you over if they can hear you buzzing away, so you'll need to keep your wits about you and issue the occasional horn blast to warn people you're nearby.
The Go! S1.2's 3kW electric motor revs to 3,500rpm and performs well for the most part, accelerating from 0-45kmh in a brisk-feeling nine seconds. Sadly, Govecs has equipped the bike with an electronic speed limiter, which seems to apply the brakes momentarily to prevent the scooter from exceeding 45kmh.
This is designed as a safety feature, but it causes several problems. During acceleration, your bodyweight is pushed towards the rear of the bike. When the limiter kicks in, however, the Go! S1.2 suddenly ceases to keep accelerating at its previous pace, causing the rider's bodyweight to shift forward suddenly, changing the scooter's centre of gravity and destabilising the rider.
This is most evident when accelerating down hills, as the scooter picks up speed very quickly, then applies the brakes without your consent. It can be quite unnerving at best and is arguably quite dangerous (particularly on a slippery surface) at worst.