Not long ago, Xiaomi announced the arrival of three new electric scooters, which now constitute a real range able to satisfy all budgets, but also all needs. Let's start our tests of these new models with the Essential, an entry-level price of € 299.
The market electric scooters is experiencing a real boom despite the introduction of more restrictive legislation, but of course necessary. Could the difficulties of the various Free Floating companies (a shared mobility system without stations or terminals) give a new boost to sales of scooters? In 2019, 478,000 electric scooters found buyers against 233,000 in 2018!
In this sector, Xiaomi and its famous M365 are undisputed leaders, but as always, the Chinese giant is not sleeping on its laurels by regularly updating its offer. We are talking about evolution, not revolution, because changes happen in small steps. With its Mi Scooter Electric Essential that interests us today, Xiaomi intends offer a scooter under the 300 € mark for urban users who wish to discover this new means of transport without breaking the bank.
Quick and easy assembly
The scooter arrived at the editorial office in its big box in which we found the Allen wrench necessary for its assembly, its charger and one flexible adapter to facilitate tire inflation. Getting started only takes a few minutes as you just attach the handlebars to the top of the head tube with four screws.
Two pieces of information should be noted. The first one : Xiaomi provides an additional screw, which can save your day if you're as clumsy as we are. The second: the screws in question accommodate a thread lock. It is a kind of paste placed in the thread that prevents, or at least delays, the unscrewing induced by the succession of vibrations. All this demonstrates the design quality of this scooter which obviously benefits from years of experience of the brand. Only small downside, we would have appreciated that a tightening torque was indicated.
An air of deja vu
The owner's first turn doesn't really grab the jawbone. Not that the design of the Xiaomi Mi Scooter Electric Essential is missed, but it is very close to other models in the range despite its lower price. So that's pretty good news, but not really. We thus find the same aluminum frame which presents a robust and neat appearance as evidenced by the filed weld beads. Folding is still so easy. It doesn't require any special effort and looks pretty solid. To do with time, because "this lock" is under enormous strain.
The height of the handlebars is still not adjustable. This is certainly a potential source of less boredom, but the handlebars may seem a bit high to people measuring less than 1.70 m, knowing that the manufacturer indicates that his scooter is suitable for people between 1.20 m and 2 m. . In addition, Xiaomi does not seem to want to complicate the use of its scooters nor to weigh them down with a suspension system. Therefore, comfort will be provided only by the 8.5 inch diameter inflatable tires. With an inner tube, they can potentially burst. If the repair operation is not very complicated, but rather long and tedious. In the back there is a mechanical disc, that is to say that its caliper is actuated by a cable and not a hydraulic device.
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A slightly deflated motor and a small battery
This allows us to make the link with the electric part of the scooter, because the Xiaomi Mi Scooter Electric Essential also has a so-called regenerative engine brake: the energy generated by the deceleration is returned to the battery, which allows you to grab a few kilometers of autonomy.
The battery that takes place under the tray displays a 5,200 mAh capacity that requires just under 5 hours for a full charge. It is therefore a smaller accumulator than the two other models announced at the same time as it, the Mi Electric Scooter 1S and Pro 2. This has an immediate impact on the announced autonomy which goes to 20 km against respectively 30 and 45 km for its big sisters. But at the same time, this lighter battery allows the Essential to weigh 2.5 kg less, i.e. 12 kg in total. This is always the advantage if you have to wear your scooter regularly, for example for multimodal use.
The motor takes place in the front wheel. It displays a 250 W power while being able to deliver a peak power of 500 W. Its torque is 16 Nm. maximum speed of 20 km / h against 25 km / h for the more upscale models and swallow slopes of 10%.
Simply perfect display
The handlebar welcome the same control screen than the Mi Scooter Pro. The user will be able to read his instantaneous speed, the battery charge level, the power mode used (economy, standard and sport), the state of bluetooth connectivity and finally the lighting activation indicator. It’s both simple and easy to read. All the essential information answers the call in our eyes, although some would certainly like even more: estimated remaining range, total and partial mileage …
To find out more and to manage the updates of the Xiaomi Mi Scooter Electric Essential, you need to go through an application. Xiaomi wanted to play the ecosystem card by not offering an application dedicated to its scooters. It is therefore necessary to go through Mi Home : one and the same app for its security camera, connected bulbs and scooter, it can seem a little unsettling at first. Independent developers offer alternative solutions that allow you to push the settings of your Mi Scooter Electric Essential very far. No doubt the standard app will suffice for most users. It is for example possible toassign a start code to reduce the risk of theft.
For orders, this is the realm of simplicity. The center of the stem accommodates a large button. One press turns on the scooter and a long press will turn it off. In use, a quick double tap will change the engine management mode while a single tap will turn on the lights. On the left, you find the brake lever and the bell, and on the right a trigger controls the acceleration of the machine. The front houses a 1.1 W LED headlight and at the rear an LED light is integrated into the mudguard. In 6 km / h pedestrian mode, it is flashing and changes to fixed above this speed. To be seen, large reflective deflectors take place on the sides of the scooter.
An easy scooter
Here is our machine recharged and ready to face a first ride on the quays of the Seine. And a word quickly comes to our lips: easy. First observation, we feel pretty good on it and the various controls are intuitive. Clear, a few minutes are enough to master it. The braking is easily controlled to avoid a blockage which very often results in a fall especially when the ground is wet. But in an emergency, it shows enough power to stop the scooter … and your servant … in less than 10 m when launched at its maximum speed. The same goes for the throttle lever. It is controlled with great precision with the thumb for easy adjustment of its cruising speed.
The electronic engine management avoids most of the jolts which can always be destabilizing, especially for the neophyte "pilot". Some less sophisticated models can from time to time seem to accelerate on their own, for example when getting off the scooter to pass a boat that is too high for its small wheels. This is not the case for the Mi Scooter Electric Essential. As such, Xiaomi seems to have perfectly fulfilled its contract with this new machine which is openly aimed at beginners.
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The Mi Scooter Electric Essential does not like the slope
The engine, which is a little less powerful than on the higher-end versions, is not, however, sluggish on the flat. The acceleration isn't the most impressive we've seen, but top speed is reached quickly. In the end, it is not worse considering, once again, the target of this scooter. Its maximum speed, which it can easily keep on the flat, is therefore 20 km / h, compared to 25 km / h for the brand's other two new models. The difference really did not seem really penalizing on a daily basis in the context of urban use.
We went on outings for a big week to confront the Xiaomi Mi Scooter Electric Essential with other situations and assess its autonomy. The slopes of Montmartre have damaged the engine of this scooter which forfeited the hardest portions significantly earlier than our benchmark M365. This is certainly the first real limit of the Essential.
Limited autonomy, but sufficient?
Indicating real autonomy is always very complex, because a lot of parameters come into play. For our tests, we first set the regenerative brake to medium, our copy was set to low by default. On essentially flat ground like the banks of the Seine, the 20 km announced by the manufacturer are possible for featherweights.
For our part with our 85 kg, we failed around 18 km with however not really economical driving. On winding routes where the acceleration phases are repeated and with slopes, the autonomy of the Xiaomi Mi Scooter Electric Essential drops noticeably at around fifteen kilometers. It may not seem like much, but again it is in line with the program of this economic variation. In fact, in the city, trips rarely exceed 6 km per day. The Mi Scooter Electric Essential can therefore withstand 3 days of average use before recharging, which is not so bad after all.
Nothing to say on a quality macadam: the comfort is very good, surprisingly good even for a model without suspension. Small obstacles will be swallowed up as long as you anticipate them a little. Don't hesitate to have an active ride where your arms and thighs act as shock absorbers. This attitude makes it possible to maintain good control of the vehicle. Obviously, no miracle on the horizon on cobblestones and heavily degraded tar streets. You have to tighten your grip, luckily Xiaomi has installed very comfortable foam handles, and wait for it to pass. A little advice in passing: if you frequently face bad conditions, very regularly check that the various components of the scooter are properly tightened.
Over time, confidence sets in and it becomes possible to have fun with this scooter, which can forget its utilitarian vocation for a while if you don't forget to wear a helmet and gloves. Its handling is pretty good and it drives pretty well with good tires. Its braking is reassuring as is its handling.
If its weight classifies it in the light weight category with 12 kg on the scale, the Xiaomi Mi Scooter Electric Essential is still not that easy to transport folded up in the underground passages of the metro and their stairs. Things are obviously a little easier if you install a carrying strap, but you will have to be careful with the wheels so that they don't get into the clothes of people you are sure to pass.
Regarding the connected part, we have not noticed any problem with an Android smartphone or an iPhone. In fact, very quickly it became apparent to us that the application was not really essential on a daily basis. It does not really add much in the end and its ergonomics can still be improved. Perhaps a more developed security part would have been a significant plus: an alarm system with a little siren and geolocation of the scooter would have been welcome.