For the first time they started talking about the Air T15 back in winter, when Segway announced a new product on the eve of CES 2020. The new electric scooter attracted Attention unusual concept, design and a set of innovative solutions.
⇡ # Design and construction
Initially, the Ninebot KickScooter Air T15 was created as a lightweight, walking electric scooter, aimed at those of us who appreciate originality and technology, who need a scooter that can attract attention and cause envy.
When you look at the Air T15, you get the feeling that you have never seen anything like this: a unique combination of materials, unusual design and a rather complex construction, hidden under a laconic form, where each element is made in a new way.
The scooter chassis is made of lightweight but very durable aluminum-magnesium alloy. Some of the elements that are not subject to stress, such as the front panel on the steering column, the “caps” of the front wheel and the back of the deck, are made of impact-resistant plastic.
The deck with a rubber mat is 17 cm wide and 45 cm working length. Its bow and stern are slightly tapered and raised, making it look like a hoverboard from the future.
Compared to other scooters, the deck in the Air T15 is very thin and has relatively little ground clearance. So if you do not want to scratch your scooter, then you should forget about overcoming even small curbs with a stroke.
In the bow there is a folding mechanism, which is combined with the steering fork, which has an unusual design. More precisely, the design of the front, 7.5-inch wheel is unusual, where instead of the usual axle, a unit is implemented that is somewhat reminiscent of a wheel hub. It is attached to the steering fork and to the shaft on the deck, which has several degrees of freedom.
Thanks to this solution, a light and reliable design was obtained, which, on the one hand, provides a simple turn of the wheel while driving, and on the other hand, fixes the front wheel when folding the scooter. Its disadvantage is the limited turning radius, although this does not manifest itself during driving. Unless only when you need to turn the scooter on the spot.
At the back is a five-inch wheel motor, framed by a rear bumper with a beautiful brake light. But the most interesting thing is not this, but the wing, which not only protects against splashes and serves as a foot brake, but also serves as the main controller responsible for powering the scooter, switching speed modes and controlling the headlight. This technology is called Step-control. It is very thoughtful, although it takes some getting used to at first. It works like this: when the scooter is in place, using the controller, you can turn the power on and off, turn on the headlight and change the speed mode using single and double presses. In motion, when the wing acts as a rear brake, you cannot turn off the scooter or operate the headlight, you can only switch the speed modes.
By the way, the scooter comes with a rubber mudguard to protect it from splashes. More precisely, there are three of them in the kit. They are attached to the wing with 3M double-sided tape.
The wheels in the Ninebot KickScooter Air T15 deserve special attention. Wheels with rubber tires and elastomer inside are used here. They are not afraid of punctures, but at the same time they are quite soft, which allows you to effectively smooth out irregularities on the road without using additional shock absorbers that make the scooter heavier.
The tires are quite narrow, which has led to speculation that they will ride on tiles hard… However, my experience suggests the opposite – the ride is quite comfortable. Even when the wheel got into a rut between the tiles, I did not feel the scooter being pulled to the side.
The steering rack has a height of 104 cm. The manufacturer assures that this will allow people up to 2 meters tall to ride comfortably. I do not know if this is so, but for my height (168 cm) the height of the handlebars is optimal. The steering rack uses two thin and durable tubes. This made it possible to place part of the electronic filling inside and implement a convenient folding design, which I will talk about a little later.
The steering wheel itself is also very unusual: folding trapezoidal handles made of soft silicone, unusual speed controllers and electronic brakes, as well as a frameless LED display that displays battery status, current speed, selected speed mode and some service information, including warnings overheating of the battery and the wheel motor.
To be honest, the steering wheel left a mixed impression on me. On the one hand, the trapezoidal grips turned out to be quite comfortable and do not cause discomfort, but the controllers, despite their smoothness, seemed to me rather tight, and with prolonged skating, the thumb of the right hand gets tired of holding the speed. The cruise control function helps a lot here, allowing you to automatically maintain the selected speed without having to hold the speed controller.
One of the unusual features is the built-in beep. To submit it, you must click on both controllers. In this case, the scooter slows down somewhat, which is quite logical, and emits a sound signal. The sound is not loud, but you can hear it five meters away. At the same time, he does not frighten passers-by, which, in my opinion, is very important.
It’s time to talk about one of the main features of the Ninebot KickScooter Air T15 ー the unique folding mechanism. The whole process takes a matter of seconds – just press the handle located under the steering wheel. In this case, not only the steering column is folded, but also the handles, due to which the scooter becomes very compact and can be simply rolled on the front wheel.
By the way, the Ninebot KickScooter Air T15 has an automatic shutdown function when folded. Moreover, it is implemented not with the help of any mechanical switch, which would not be very reliable, but with the help of the built-in G-sensor, which determines the position of the steering column and automatically turns off the power when it is lowered.
I didn’t really like rolling the scooter on the front wheel. Perhaps I had to get used to it, but I chose a more familiar way for myself – rolling the scooter next to me. If you need to lift it up the stairs, you can simply lift it by the steering rack. In transport, I am usually too lazy to fold it, but if there is an opportunity to sit down or there are just a lot of people in the transport, then when you fold the scooter, you can put it next to you or put it under the seat.
The developers even thought about how we would store the scooter at home, turning the shape in which it was in the box into a convenient vertical stand that does not take up much space, and two small foam inserts from the same box into a stand that allows you to safely transport the scooter in the trunk of your car.
⇡ # Traffic safety
To ensure driving safety, the scooter is equipped with RGB lighting located in the front, a headlight and a rear brake light.
The color and luminescence mode of the RGB backlight is set in the mobile application. You can choose a constant glow, flashing one or more colors, overflow, etc. The brightness of the RGB backlight is not great, but it is enough to attract the attention of passers-by and add personality to the scooter.
The headlight is cut along the top edge and has such an angle of inclination so as not to blind people, but at the same time provide a wide angle and range up to 5-10 meters.
The operating mode of the rear brake light is also set in the mobile app.
⇡ # Mobile application
The mobile application collects information about the distance traveled, total mileage, battery charge, allows you to record a track, adjust lighting equipment and some other elements.
I did not find any unique features, which I would like to dwell on in more detail, in the mobile application. Unless it is worth paying attention to the pedestrian mode, which I will discuss below.
⇡ # About speed and pedestrian mode
Ninebot KickScooter Air T15 is equipped with a 250 W wheel motor, which allows it to reach speeds of up to 20 km / h. The scooter supports three basic speed modes. The most economical mode – Eco – limits the maximum speed to 10 km / h. In D mode, the maximum speed is 15 km / h. S mode allows the scooter to accelerate to 20 km / h.
Additionally, there is a pedestrian mode. You can enable it in the mobile application, while all other modes become unavailable. In this case, the maximum speed will be limited to 6 km / h, and the brake light will flash.
While exploring the capabilities of the Ninebot KickScooter Air T15, I noticed that 250 watts was not enough to move my 80 kg. More precisely, the scooter will accelerate more or less normally in D and S modes, but in ECO mode it will only ride me on a flat section of the track, and in pedestrian mode it will not go at all. In my opinion, the optimal weight for this scooter would be no more than 60 kg, but there was no way to check these assumptions.
⇡ # About power reserve
Ninebot KickScooter Air T15 is equipped with a 4 Ah battery, which is the minimum for modern scooters. It is not necessary to count on high mileage with such a battery, nevertheless, the manufacturer promises up to 12 km on one battery charge.
To exclude premature battery discharge on climbs, the test in all modes was carried out on a relatively straight section, about 400 meters long. It was, of course, boring to ride back and forth. Especially in Eco mode, when it seems that at such a low speed it was possible to calmly drink coffee or even sleep.
So, in Eco-mode, the average GPS speed was 8.54 km / h, the maximum speed was 10.27 km / h. According to the indications of the same GPS tracker, the scooter covered almost 8 km. According to the indications of the mobile application ー 9.3 km. We did not reach the promised 12 km, but considering that my weight is much higher than what I consider optimal for this scooter, the result is quite satisfactory.
In D mode, according to the GPS tracker, the scooter traveled just over 8 km at an average speed of 13.45 km / h. According to the on-board computer, the distance traveled was 8.6 km.
Finally, in S mode, the GPS tracker showed a range of 7.47 km at an average speed of 15.83 km / h (top speed 19.56 km / h). According to the on-board computer, the scooter drove exactly 8 km. I could not test the pedestrian mode ー the scooter does not pull me.
Speaking of the power reserve, it is worth remembering the recuperation mode, which will allow you to recharge the battery during braking. Many reviewers who have already talked about the Ninebot KickScooter Air T15 separately highlight this feature, considering it as some kind of compensation for the small battery capacity. In my opinion, the recuperation in this scooter is completely useless. The minimum energy that the wheel motor can generate during braking has little effect on the battery charge, and there is no need to count on a noticeable increase in the range.
⇡ # Conclusion
In my opinion, the developers did a good job with the main task – to create a scooter that, despite its limited power and range, is able to surprise and attract attention. Of course, I didn’t like everything about the Ninebot KickScooter Air T15, but nevertheless I envy those who will use it. I envy it, even in spite of the considerable price, which can be explained by high manufacturability and careful thoughtfulness of structural details and software, which you will not find in any other electric scooter.
As for the limitations of power and range, everything is very relative. It is clear that such a scooter cannot pretend to be the main urban transport that is actively used throughout the day, but it is ideal for small walks around the city, as well as for more comfortable movement on pedestrian areas and in combination with public transport.
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