HISTORY OF COPYCAT ELECTRIC SCOOTERS
From the dawn of the age of electric scooters, there were only handful of brands like the GoPed, Razor from the 1980s. With the advent of hub motor and Li Ion technology, in 2009, Myway (now known as Inokim) came about. A few years later, the Romanian designed E-Twow (also known as the Zoom Air) came into market in early 2013.
Fast forward to today, we have close to 100 different brands of electric scooters that seem to look and feel identical to the original brands with similar parts and design. The original brands with original designs are INOKIM, I-MAX, GoPed and E-TWOW. Most of these copycat escooters come at a fraction of the cost of the original using inferior materials and compromising the safety of end users such as China-made batteries that are untested and uncertified.
To be clear, we are not here to argue that the entire electric scooter industry has suddenly started churning out copycat products instead of innovating and investing into their own R&D AND more importantly, we are certainly not implying that all China designed or engineered scooters are inferior. The ZERO, the first carbon fiber escooter is an excellent example of great product that is designed and engineered in China.
Below are 5 tell-tale signs that would help you spot the difference between the genuine item and a copycat.
1. Front mounted “Pigeon” front head light
These “pigeon” front headlights is an infamous design introduced by Shengte on their copycat version. Why they are called Pigeon lights is due to the fact that these are the lights used on the cheap mass market Pigeon bicycles that are still popular across China. Unlike the built-in integrated lights on the Inokims, these front headlights were much easier and cheaper to manufacture as the controller does not support any built-in lights. They typically require an external switch to turn them on/off.
2. Similar (but not the same) folding mechanism designed by Inokim
Developed by MYWAY, the folding plunger pin can withstand 120kg maximum load. We have seen folding pin that was made using weaker steel/thing aluminium material to cut manufacturing cost, causing the pin to snap into two pieces or damage after prolong usage.
3. China-made battery cells with poorly designed motherboard
Just recently, another copycat called Kaabo exploded, and the rider suffered 2nd-degree burns. Battery & motor are of one of the few expensive parts of any electric scooter, to lower manufacturing cost unscrupulous company often opt for cheap China-made batteries from a dubious source. Viewer’s discretion is advised – picture of injury
Original batteries from INOKIM and IMAX use Samsung cells (yes, packaged in China but the cells are made by Samsung nonetheless). GoPed batteries use US made cells. Most if not all copycats use China made cells that are packaged without going through proper tests. These China batteries can be packed very densely giving consumer more charge in a single package but what people do not realize is that if cells are packed too densely without the proper protection design on the Battery Management System, the whole battery becomes unstable and potentially dangerous.
4. Poor Construction Quality
The construction and structure of many counterfeit or fake inokims are of a l0wer quality and QC is almost non-existent in many cases. In most cases, there will be hairline cracks on the deck which becomes a safety issue when riding for a few months. These hairline cracks will worsen to the extent below. We have encountered numerous cases of these fake inokims having structural issues like this:
5. Serial nos. that are Erased
These are becoming more commonplace. Black market or grey market scooters have their original serial no. scrubbed off to prevent authorities from finding out the source of manufacture. This is actually illegal. All original products need to have the original serial no. for authorities to trace the source in the event of a recall or product defect.
Don’t risk your life purchasing a cheap electric scooter from an unverified China factory that simply copied the design of the original product without putting the product through the proper test and certification procedures. That is precisely why these copycats are significantly cheaper than the original.
If you are shopping for a reliable entry-level electric scooter, you can consider the Powerock S1. The Powerocks is a long-range entry level electric scooter at an extremely affordable price. The Powerock S1 is brought to you by the same company that made the ever popular Powerocks power bank and was also featured in CES 2016.