Two minutes of review
The Covid pandemic has resulted in many of us now looking for alternatives to public transport, especially for short trips. Electric scooters are especially popular because they are generally easier to throw in the back of a car or carried on the shoulder than a push or electric bike.
The legality of driving electric scooters depends on your location. In the UK, where Halfords is based, it is currently illegal to drive an electric scooter in public unless it is part of a licensed rental program. Halfords sells the Carrera Impel is-1 e-scooter for “driving on private land”.
It is a very good model indeed. Not the smallest or cheapest, but exceptionally well made and great for whizzing around.
Using the LED control screen in the middle of the e-scooter, you can select four different speed levels (similar to a bicycle), with level four reaching speeds of up to 15 km / h.
Just a little trick. While it performs well, the Carrera Impel is-1 isn’t the lightest. The scooter weighs 17 kg (more than many e-bikes), so many people have difficulty carrying this e-scooter over long distances when folded, although it can alternatively always be driven around in pedestrian mode.
Price and release date
The Carrera Impel is-1 was released in February 2021 and costs £ 399 (around $ 550 / AU $ 700). At the time of writing, it is only available in Halfords stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
Everything about this e-scooter feels solid and well designed. Mostly made of metal, it comes with a large running board to stand on. The two pneumatic tires are like miniature bicycle tires with a neat profile, while the two front and rear brakes on the handlebars are extremely effective at slowing you down at intersections.
A powerful headlight and brake light and side reflectors ensure that you can be seen in the dark, and there is even space on the back of the e-scooter for a license plate in case one is needed in the future.
The fixed upright stem can be folded down for carrying and hung on the rear fender, while at the lower end of the stem there is a built-in anti-theft device in the form of a steel cable that can be locked with a numerical code. However, this is a pretty low security lock – actually only intended as a visual deterrent.
A display in the middle of the handlebars shows the fuel level, the speed (in miles per hour) as well as the indicators for headlights and battery level. The charging process takes place with the included power supply, which is connected to the base of the running board and takes about four hours.
On the left handlebar there are controls for switching on the e-scooter and buttons + and – for moving through the levels. On the right is the acceleration throttle that rotates towards you for higher speed.
If your last scooter memory was rolling one around in the elementary school playground, then you are in shock. The Carrera impel is-1 is much more like an e-bike than a regular unpowered scooter and requires a bit of practice before you can really feel comfortable.
After charging, you’ll need to turn on the power and use the + and – buttons to enter a three-digit passcode (this is actually a bit of a cumbersome process). You will then need to drive the e-scooter a few meters across the street before you pull the throttle to get started.
Open the throttle too much and the front wheel can rise and take off, too little and it won’t start. It takes a little practice to get it right, but after a while you will become an expert.
Although there are four levels, the reality was that most of the time I was zooming around in level four – at speeds of up to 15 mph (at one point we checked the speedometer, which showed it was going downhill). Although the brakes are extremely responsive, in most cases you can slow down by simply releasing the throttle and slowing down through the gears.
On really steep hills it can be difficult to get the e-scooter above 5 to 6 mph despite the powerful motor, but an average of 12 mph feels quite comfortable.
As with cycling, you need to be careful to avoid potholes, especially at high speeds, but most of the time we found driving the e-scooter surprisingly comfortable, even when driving down a recently paved road.
The tires may be pretty small, but they are pneumatic and like everything about this e-scooter, of good quality. Although the e-scooter is IPX5 waterproof, it is probably best not to use it in heavy rain. Of course, you should always wear a helmet just in case you dismount.
If you fully charge the Carrera Impel for three to four hours, you will get a typical range of 20 km (12.4 m). Not an amazingly long distance, but long enough for about 1.5 hours of shooting lap. All in all, the Carrera e-scooter is great fun.
First review March 2021
Buy it when
You have a lot of private land
This well-made and solid e-scooter is ideal if you have a large property with a large driveway.
You wanna have fun
The Carrera Impel is-1 is powerful and well built, and is great for racing with friends (on private land, of course).
You don’t have space for an e-bike in your car
While this isn’t the most portable scooter, it is still much easier to fold than most motorcycles
Don’t buy it, though
They want to use it for commuting around the UK
At present it is still illegal to use private scooters on the street or on the sidewalk in the UK, although hopefully that will change very soon
You are looking for something easy
The Carrera Impel is-1 is a little beast and weighs 17 kg.
You are nervous
Although e-scooters are safe to drive carefully, they are not for everyone. You can feel pretty vulnerable on one, especially at night or at high speeds.
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