Video: The Mahindra GenZe Electric Moped

The GenZe is an electric two-wheeler that’s been on our radar for a while now, but we’ve been hesitant to report on it for one simple reason: we don’t like vaporware. For those unfamiliar with the term, “vaporware” refers to a product that exists only in concept, but gets talked about and hyped as though it were real. It’s something a company is promising, or perhaps more accurately, threatening to bring to market. For example, both Smart and KTM have announced plans to bring electric scooters to market, and neither actually have. Automotive brand MINI has shown us not one, but two electric two-wheeler concepts, but they’ve at least never claimed to be bringing either to production. A more recent electric concept from Gogoro still has us skeptical that we’ll actually see a production version, but we’re encouraged by how well capitalized the company is, and the fact that they’re already taking Gogoro pre-orders in Taiwan.

While the GenZe is a very different kind of vehicle than these more outlandish concepts, we’ve been hesitant to talk about them until seeing some evidence that they’re actually going to market. Some of that evidence arrived today in the form of this review from gadget blog Gizmodo.

Built in Michigan by India-based Mahindra, the aluminum-frame GenZe 2.0 — like a lot of scooters currently available and coming to market — is technically a moped. The onboard software keeps the top speed at 30MPH. You might not be able to keep up with traffic on streets with a 40MPH speed limit, but you also won’t need a motorcycle license to ride it.

The bike has three modes: Sport, Economy and Easy. Easy mode eases new riders into the wild and wooly world of traveling on two wheels by limiting acceleration. Once you’ve done that, you’ll never use it again. For me, Economy is only for when I realize I’m in danger of killing the battery on the ride home. Fortunately, it has a range of 30 to 35 miles on a single charge and the battery is removable, so you can park the scooter and take the battery inside with you to charge it. The rather heavy battery (Mahindra says a lighter one will be available next year) takes about three and a half hours to charge. Because I’m usually in a hurry, I picked Sport mode.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been spending some time with the Ecoreco, an electrified Razor-type scooter with adult proportions and a surprisingly useful amount of power. That review is forthcoming, but one thing we’ve longed for in riding the Ecoreco is something a little more substantial. That is, something more like a robust electrified bicycle. The GenZe looks like it might be just such a vehicle. It’s focused entirely just on getting around. While I’m sure one could have plenty of fun zipping around town, the GenZe really seems to have practicality in mind. There’s something to be said for this. By keeping things simple, there’s an opportunity to keep things easy. By blurring that line between scooter and bicycle, the GenZe sets out to provide truly practical transportation without all the trappings of vehicles both up and down that scale.

For us, there are really two questions to answer. Is the GenZe as practical and easy to live with as it aspires to be? And will it actually come to market? The rest of Roberto Baldwin’s review on Gizmodo can help answer the first question until we get our hands on a GenZe of our own. As for the second, it’s looking more and more like that’s going to be a reality. The GenZe 2.0 is available for pre-order, at an “introductory” price of $2,999, with as little as a $100 deposit. That said, we can’t help but wonder, what ever happened to the GenZe 1.0? When was that on sale? When GenZe starts delivering these 2.0 models to customers, that will be when the game truly changes. In the meantime, hit GenZe’s website for more information.

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