What do you get when you combine an Indian manufacturing conglomerate, Silicon Valley techies, and Michigan manufacturing? I’m fairly certain the answer is NOT “42”, as Doug Adams would be spinning in his grave over that particular question. I’m going to say the answer is a GenZe electric moped-legal scooter.
Mahindra is the Indian conglomerate behind the GenZe. In North America, Mahindra is probably best known as tractor manufacturer. On a world-wide basis Mahindra is involved in aerospace, automotive, energy and other industries. The GenZe scooter was designed in Silicon Valley and the scooter is assembled in Ann Arbor Michigan. Bob Hedstrom at Scooterville in Minneapolis was kind enough to let me run around on their demo GenZe.
The GenZe is a battery-powered electric Minnesota-moped-legal scooter. The 1.6kwH Li-Ion battery pack is easily removable and charged via any ordinary 110V outlet. The frame is powder-coated aluminum and it rides on a 16 inch front tire and a 12 inch rear with a 50 inch wheelbase. The front and rear disc brakes offer some power regeneration. The GenZe weighs 232 pounds and has a carrying capacity of 295 pounds. Seat height is 29.5 inches, but it’s a wide seating platform. In order to sit flat-footed at a stop, one will needs at least a 32 inch inseam. Now the biggies – the GenZe’s top speed is 30 MPH and it gets there in under eight seconds and it has a battery range of about 30 miles. Oh, yeah, and it costs about $3,000. The 30 MPH top speed is part of the Minnesota moped-legal requirements and this is limited by the proprietary PCM or “Power Control Module”.
The main rider interface is a large touch-screen display that shows speed, range, charge level, riding configuration and so forth. In order to “start” the GenZe, one makes sure the battery pack is locked in and the kill switch is in the run position. Then one presses the small button located in the normal key ignition position. The touch-screen will come to life and one enters the four digit security code. That’s it. No noise, just ready to go. Now one decides “forward” or “backward”. Yes, there is a powered reverse selectable from a switch on the right hand control. Have said switch ion “forward”, twist the throttle and off you go.
I was pleased with the acceleration (in the sport mode – there is also economy and easy for beginners) and the big wheels and generous frame size made for a comfortable ride. The seat is quite wide and floorboards are flat, but the front of the floorboards is limiting for foot space. Overall, I found the GenZe to be odd but acceptable in the ergonomics department. There is ABLE storage behind (and even a bit more under) the solo seat. In the base model, there is no secure storage. I can’t imagine running more than one errand with a GenZe without some way to secure my purchases from destination to destination. There is also no helmet lock built in to the scooter.
The battery pack is just under the seat and key-locked to the frame. It’s easy to pivot out forward of the seat and then lift free from the frame to take away for charging. A nice design that makes it practical to charge up the battery pack just about any place.
Build quality appears good and the parent company is a large, worldwide entity that should be around for a while so one would hope for good ongoing customer support. There is a smart phone app that gives one instant access to info about one’s GenZe including its location. A nice feature.
Who is this scooter for? I don’t think the price point is too bad, considering the technology. It’s moped legal so no motorcycle endorsement required and one should be able to take advantage of a lot of bicycle rack free parking. The hard limit of 30 MPH makes it an untenable machine for my use. That’s simply not the real world traffic speed on roads posted “30”. I would swap some battery life for a 38 – 45 MPH top end so I could keep up with and avoid being run down by city traffic. If you want to go electric and can live with the speed limitations, I think the GenZe is worth a look.
Twin Cities scooterist David Harrington owns and operates JustGottaScoot.com