- A high speed electric moped capable of transporting two passengers at speeds of 50+ mph for up to 60 miles
- Uses a light weight efficient canister motor with a kevlar belt that steps high RPM down to create powerful torque, capable climber and transporter
- Optional windscreen and cargo box add utility, comfortable suspension, turn signals do not make a chiming noise and are easy to forget when riding during the daytime as the blinker LED is faint
The S3.4 was the fastest electric scooter available from Govecs at the time of this review. It offers top speeds of 50 mph with an estimated range of 40 to 60 miles (depending on the weight being carried, how it’s ridden and the terrain). For many city dwellers I know, this could definitely replace a car and because it has an extended seat there’s room for two! My experience with electric scooters is limited but the first thing I noticed about this unit was how light it is. Compared with a more traditional motorcycle and even some mopeds, it’s easy to handle. It’s also very quiet. Being top of the line, this scooter doesn’t come cheap. It’s German engineered and built in Poland and you get a comprehensive 24 month warranty which should offer some peace of mind about the motor, control systems and battery. I got to test this scooter (and some other Govecs models including the T2.4+ at a motorcycle training course in Austin Texas. Several of the units had been dropped, put through torrential downpours and stored in a hot shipping container but they still performed surprisingly well. It’s a beautiful looking bike (available in gray and white for 2015) and the unit I tested came in pastel green because it was from 2014. There were only two complaints I had with the system and they felt more like areas of opportunity than misses. Those include discomfort with the mirror size (they worked well enough but I’d prefer a bit larger) and turn signal clicks that weren’t loud enough. I found myself activating the turn signal and then forgetting because there wasn’t a chime associated, just a faint clicking noise and washed out LED indicator on the dash. At night the indicator would look much brighter but during the sunny afternoon when I was doing most of my tests it became almost imperceptible.
The motor powering this bike is impressive because it’s small and quiet but also quite powerful. The nominal power rating is 3,900 watts but it can peak around 6,000 and that’s 12x more powerful than the electric bicycles I usually test. Sure, this bike is much heavier than a low speed electric bicycle but at ~265 lbs it’s only 5x… so the power ratio is more than double the weight difference. And indeed, the motor is zippy and can reach 50 mph which means you can ride on some highways and truly hold your ground against traditional automobiles. For the city dweller who needs to get to class, visit the grocery store and occasionally visit the next town this thing is perfect. The motor itself is a canister design that sits near the swing arm hinge. This position reduces the impact that it’s weight has on the performance of the suspension system. There’s only one shock on the rear portion of the bike but it’s fairly long and feels comfortable when responding to minor bumps, potholes and cracks. The neat thing about a single side shock is that it frees the other side of the wheel up for maintenance like changing tires, checking air pressure etc. The tires are tubeless and come with a slick performance tread pattern.
Powering this electric moped is an enormous Lithium-ion battery pack… Well, I guess it’s all relative but I was impressed. You get 72 volts and 40 amp hours for nearly three kilowatt hours of capacity. The great part is, because these are Lithium cells they should last well over 1,000 cycles at full capacity. During my test ride (half a day) I didn’t go very far or fast but not one single battery bar was used. It felt great, the system didn’t have me worried about range and the display indicator made it very clear how much juice I had left because there are many charge increments (not just five). If you do find yourself in a position where the bike just isn’t reaching the distances you need, the battery is replaceable but it’s not cheap. For $3,800 you can get a new battery but you might need to work with a shop to have it installed. Other maintenance costs would include the tires and checking and tightening the kevlar drive belt every ~10,000 miles or so. Charging the battery is pretty straight forward, stowed inside the locking seat cargo area is a 10 foot power cord that works with 120 or 240 volts and can get you 80% full in just two hours. I’d estimate 3 to 4 hours for a full charge. Because this is a European scooter, if you live in the US you’ll need to work with an importer like Electric Avenue who can order and then retrofit the electronics and provide ongoing warranty support.
Operating this electric scooter is very simple and fun. Plug it in, let it charge and then use the included key to activate the transmission (much like a car). From here, you’ll need to engage the bike with a red ignition switch on the right bar. Just above this switch is an economy mode button. If you want to maximize your range, flick this switch to have the bike accelerate more slowly from stops. The right grip is a full twist throttle with variable speed output, there’s no gears or clutch to worry about with this bike, just twist and go. Near the left grip there are several more buttons including an orange horn button, gray turn signal slider (with reset button just above) and a brights button at the top in blue. They all work well and are easy to reach when riding. At the center of your cockpit is a circular readout that includes speed, charge level, odometer and trip distance. This console is made with a grayscale LCD that looks decent in direct sun but lights up with blue backlighting when you activate the lights. I wasn’t able to ride this thing at night so I’m not sure how distracting the blue is but during the day it’s hardly noticeable. Just above the display are two turn signal light icons and brights in the middle. On the left is an LED light that signals when the battery is running very low. On the one hand, it would really be lame to get stuck with this far from home… but on the other hand, who doesn’t have access to electricity? It seems like someone could help you out for an hour or two for a quick fill. Electricity is so affordable… one kilowatt hour (1/3 of this battery) costs less than $0.20 in most states in the USA.
So far this is the most enjoyable electric scooter I’ve tested. It’s well made, great looking and very capable. If you need speed, range or the ability to transport a second rider… this thing can do it. At ~$6k it’s not cheap but there are lots of EV rebates in the US and it will definitely make parking easier, some cities will let you park for free. The mirrors are fine but having tried several scooters back to back I wouldn’t mind if they were just a bit larger and the quiet turn signal thing is something you could get used to and overcome. The S3.4 is stable, easy to walk with and park and it’s just a lot of fun. It’s comfortable and neat in the way it gives you an electrical charging outlet (like a cigarette lighter charger in a car). The fenders kept me dry when riding through puddles and there were no issues with the electronics when it began to rain (heavy rain) during my training sessions. For someone who needs affordable transportation or just likes the feeling of freedom that motorcycles and scooters provide but doesn’t want to get burned, deal with extra weight, messy maintenance or the bad smells and ear splitting noise that some systems make… this could be a great fit. I was definitely delighted and even though this type of thing is rare in the USA it can be found at some places like Electric Avenue and they can ship cross country for $300 to $700 depending on where you’re at. They will also honor the two year warranty which is pretty sweet!
- Impressive top speed of ~53 mph and 60 mile range (depending on ride style and conditions) makes this a very capable and efficient commuter vehicle
- The cockpit is simple and clean, it’s easy to turn the bike on and use the variable speed throttle compared with a gas motorcycle, there’s no clutch to activate here
- I like the locking cargo area below the seat and optional mini cargo box (mounts at the very end to the passenger handle plate), both storage areas would use the same key that starts the bike, the seat storage area is where the power cable stows keeping it safe and dry
- High quality design here, German engineered and manufactured in Poland, Govecs evolved from another company called E-Max that used Chinese manufacturing and started to have some drops in quality towards the end as they were merged into Vmoto
- Two drive modes help you manage power use and extend range, if you opt for economy mode it reduces the power used for starting and limits top speed
- Single-side suspension unit at the rear to support the swing arm, this makes servicing the wheel and replacing tires easier because you don’t have to deal with two struts
- It held up well in wet conditions including heavy rain, the fenders keep splashing to a minimum and the large deck feels comfortable for people with large feet (I wear Men’s size 9.5 shoes), I also like the luggage clip
- Very cool looking headlight, solid side indicator lights, the seat texture is cool and it feels comfortable to ride on (but gets a little hot if left in direct sunlight)
- Optional windshield could make this electric scooter more comfortable given the possibility for higher top speeds, useful for cold mornings
- Extremely high torque motor ~114 Nm, it feels very zippy and peppy feeling (even with larger riders or a passenger on board)
- As with all scooters and mopeds, this thing is easy to park and gets free parking spots in some locations (like downtown Austin, TX), because it’s so light this thing is easy to maneuver into spots
- The bike I tested didn’t seem to have a signal chime built in, there was a dull flashing light letting you know that you had activated your turn signals but it was easy to miss and forget
- I’ve seen other electric mopeds and scooters with hub motors that require a bit less maintenance than something like this, the belt drive is nice but will require checkups and tightening every ~10,000 miles
- The kickstand can be difficult to reach at times, I found myself stowing it before standing over the bike but this can create more drop opportunities, the stand is also difficult to deploy and I had to kind of lean over while sitting to see it (or hop off to kick it down)
- Expensive ~$3,800 replacement batteries, since this electric scooter uses light weight Lithium-ion technology it just costs more than something like Lead Acid, try to store the bike in cool dry places and avoid extreme cold and heat to help the original battery last longer
- I feel like the mirrors are a bit small, they worked alright but weren’t as reassuring for me as some larger ones I’ve tested on other bikes, they weren’t as easy to adjust as once that were recessed in plastic but these might be lighter weight and more aerodynamic