It seems like every week there is some new electric motorcycle or scooter unveiled with its sights set on the American market. Something I see less often is a new maxi-scooter, which is a step-through with the power and speed of a motorcycle. Earlier this month, California’s CSC Motorcycles announced two new electric scooters in its lineup. Arriving this fall is the E-RT3, an electric maxi-scooter with a peak power output of 22.8 horsepower, a top speed of 75 mph, and a range of up to 124 miles. Right now, you can pre-order it for $7,000, which undercuts the competition.
Last week, I kicked off the Autopian’s second electric motorcycle review. Sitting in my stable next to the 2023 Can-Am Spyder F3-T is a 2023 Zero DSR/X. I’ve been enjoying the quiet and versatile ride of the electric adventure bike. You will get to read my thoughts about the steed later, but for now, the Zero has me thinking of adding something electric to my expansive fleets. I’ve been thinking about a Th!nk City car or maybe a motorcycle of some kind. If you ride electric, your choices are practically endless, and the folks of Electrek found another electric scoot that’s actually pretty compelling.
Most electric scooters are pretty slow and they’ve been that way for a while. The Lane Motor Museum writes that the first successful mass-market electric scooter came in 1996 with the Peugeot Scoot’elec. It went 31 mph and had a range of about 25 mph. My first-ever motorized two-wheeler was an electric scooter that my parents bought me back in 2003. The scooter came from China with tire sizes that literally no shop had in stock and it died with fewer than 25 miles on its odometer when its charging system fried out. But for a brief moment, I was thrilled by the 30 mph ride.
A lot of electric scooters today are still pretty slow, barring you from any real highway use. We’ll take a look at that a little later, but for now, let’s look at this scooter. CSC Motorcycles is one of a handful of brands offering an electric maxi-scooter and, at $7,000, the E-RT3 is enticing.
We’ve written about a CSC-branded electric motorcycle before, but here’s a quick recap of what CSC is:
CSC Motorcycles, previously known as the California Scooter Company, is an Azusa, California-based dealership that has been around for over 30 years. In 2010 it made headlines when it brought a vintage motorcycle back from the dead. The Classic looked like the 1947 Mustang Colt mini motorcycle brought back to life. After, the company shortened its name to just CSC since “Scooter” confused some about what the company actually sells. From then, CSC positioned itself as a provider of “Fun You Can Afford.”
Today, CSC Motorcycles is known for its bargain-price lineup of motorcycles and scooters. The dealership is able to undercut so much of the powersports industry by getting many of its bikes from Zongshen in China. You can get everything from cafe racers to adventure bikes through CSC. In recent years, the gas bike designs have been getting thoroughly modern with Bosch ABS, Delphi fuel injection, LED lighting, and more.
CSC has long sold dirt-cheap electric motorcycles, too. For years, CSC sold the $2,795 City Slicker, an EV with a range of up to 50 miles, a top speed of 46 mph, and the looks of a Honda Grom.
It appears the City Slicker has been replaced by the $2,395 CSC Monterey, an EV that goes up to 60 miles with a top speed of 30 mph and the looks of a Honda Super Cub. Mind you, a real Honda Super Cub C125 costs you at least $3,849 before other charges and markup and you can’t get one that’s electric.
In other words, CSC Motorcycles offers what you cannot get from some manufacturers for a price that’s hard to beat.
The CSC E-RT3
Announced on July 3, the CSC E-RT3 joins the smaller ES5 electric scooter in CSC’s expanding lineup.
Much like CSC’s other two-wheelers, the CSC E-RT3 started life as a Chongqing Zongshen Locomotive Industry Manufacturing Co., Ltd. product, or just Zongshen, for short. This scooter was given type approval in China in August 2022 and it appears to be marketed under the name CINECO E-RT3 with the model code ZS8000DT. CSC’s version of the scooter appears to be the same as the one that’s sold in China but with the CINECO decal removed.
The headlining feature of the E-RT3, I think, is its power. The E-RT3 sports a mid-mounted motor connected to a belt drive. It’s rated for 22.8 HP during peak operations and 10.7 HP of continuous power. This motor is good for a top speed of 75 mph, which makes it fast enough to take onto any American highway. CSC advertises a 0-to-60 mph acceleration time of 8.9 seconds.
That motor feeds from a 72V, 96Ah automotive grade lithium battery with 6.9 kWh of capacity. CSC claims this is good for 124 miles, provided you’re going just 32 mph with a rider weighing up to 330 pounds. Of course, taking this down the highway will be brutal to your range and I’d expect the figure to be cut about in half. CSC also advertises a range of 137 miles, but doesn’t state what you have to do to achieve it.
Filling the battery is a 3.3KW charger that CSC says will get the scooter from 30 percent to 80 percent in 70 minutes, which is said to add 62 miles. A full charge is said to come in less than three hours. All of this rides on a typical scooter step-through frame and the rubber meets the road through a 15-inch wheel up front and a 14-incher in the rear. Complete, the E-RT3 maxi-scooter weighs in at 456 pounds.
The technology is also pretty neat, too. The E-RT3 sports Bosch dual-channel ABS and linked brakes. Additional features include a USB port for charging devices, cruise control, backlit switches, an aluminum cargo rack, LED lighting, a TFT display, a reversing mode, a speaker system, and more. It comes pretty loaded for the price and I didn’t even mention the keyless start or the tire pressure monitoring system.
CSC Motorcycles has started pre-orders for the scooter and says that deliveries will begin in October or November. If you pre-order the scoot, it’ll be $6,995 before $410 in dealer fees and up to $500 in shipping. Once the scoot goes on sale this winter, the price goes up $300 to $7,295.
Even when you throw in fees and shipping, the E-RT3 isn’t that bad. There are not many electric maxi-scooters out there, but I’ll throw up some scooters for comparison. For $8,000, Vespa will sell you the Elettrica 45 mph, which goes as fast as it says on the tin. The range is similarly small, with Vespa rating it at 62.1 miles from its 4.2 kWh lithium battery.
Cheaper than the classy Vespa is the NIU MQi GT EVO, which costs $6,089 for a top speed of 62 mph and a range of around 46 miles from its 3.74 kWh battery.
If you have a lot of money burning a hole in your pocket, the $12,195 BMW CE 04 (below) is an electric maxi-scooter that goes an electronically limited 75 mph. Its range is 80 miles and it weighs 509 pounds. The BMW does have a bigger 8.9 kWh battery and the motor has twice the output at 42 HP. So, the CE 04 is much faster and it has a much cooler design, but the CSC is about 57 percent of the BMW’s price.
For another electric maxi-scooter, there’s the Z Electric Vehicle LRC, which boasts an 81 mph top speed and a range of up to 140 miles at a speed of 55 mph. That one has a 10 kWh battery and a 20 HP motor, but a $15,385 price. That’s enough cash to make the BMW blush! ZEV also sells the S-15000 LR, which isn’t a maxi-scooter but goes 75 mph, up to 80 miles, and has a 4.2 kWh battery. Yet, it’s still more expensive than the CSC at $9,990.
What I’m getting at here is that the CSC E-RT3 seems to offer a big punch for a lower price. Sure, this isn’t going to be a highway warrior like a Suzuki Burgman 650. And, indeed, 75 mph means no passing power. What this scooter does offer is lots of range for the city, plenty of grunt for a country ride, and just enough oomph to hit the highway for an exit-to-exit jaunt to bypass highway traffic. Long live the maxi-scooter, I say!
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