On sidewalks, between bikes on bike paths, on roads and even folded in the metro. For a few months now, electric scooters are everywhere in Paris. And they trigger the adhesion of users as well as the repulsion of passers-by brushed by silent machines that can go up to 25 kmh.
Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi and its Mi Electric Scooter is a major player in this transformation. The free-floating scooter rental company Bird, which competes with Lime or Bolt, uses these Xiaomi scooters for its rental service charged by the minute. But especially since the opening of Xiaomi stores in Paris and suburbs, this scooter is starting to gain ground with individuals.
If it seduces customers so easily, it’s because Xiaomi reuses its recipe tested on the smartphone market: high-end products of good quality at affordable prices. The Mi Electric Scooter is sold at 400 dollars on the Chinese manufacturer’s website.
We tested the Xiaomi scooter during two weeks for many trips ranging from 2 to 10 km in the capital. What strikes you right away is the ease of use of the scooter. No LCD screen with gauges or complex indications. Xiaomi goes to the essential: a single central button, a horn on the left, a gas pedal on the right. And that’s all. To know your autonomy, 4 lights come on when it is fully charged. Count on 5 to 6 hours for a complete recharge. Just before you lose one in autonomy, this one flashes to attract your attention.
Xiaomi claims that its scooter has 30 km of autonomy. In reality, this one runs more like twenty kilometers for a classic use in town for an adult of 75 kg. The maximum speed is not very important: 25 km/h but it is largely sufficient for city travel.
The big strength of the Xiaomi scooter is its 8.5-inch tires, which provide better shock absorption than some competing scooters that use tubeless wheels. The good road holding has a disadvantage: you’ll have to take care of re-inflating your tires regularly… and change them in case of a puncture. And it happens. A small regret: the absence of a front shock absorber that would have saved shocks on cobblestones or when slaloming between holes on the road.
Safety rather than speed
In terms of safety, in addition to the horn, which allows you to be heard more by pedestrians than by cars, a light at the front with a range of 6 meters is quite effective coupled with the red light at the back. You can set this via the Bluetooth Mi Home application to choose its lighting mode (permanent or flashing when braking);
Unlike many scooters on the market, Xiaomi has not made the race to speed at all costs its credo. A soft acceleration even limited when you are in energy saving mode. But above all a good safety net with a disc brake at the rear that is operated with a brake handle on the left, similar to that of a bicycle. Xiaomi claims that an e-abs system prevents the wheel from locking. An electric brake is also at work when you release the throttle. This one is also parrametrable via the app (low, medium or high). As in Formula 1, the scooter recovers kinetic energy by decelerating to increase its autonomy.
One of the strong points of this scooter is its possible configuration via the application in bluetooth. You can regularly update the software of your scooter, create a code to enter on the application to make your scooter unusable without it, or even … opt for the cruise control mode. This one is not recommended for beginners: if you keep pressing on the gas pedal, 5 seconds after reaching your maximum speed, a beep will sound and you can release the pressure, your scooter will move forward by itself. Practical for long straight lines on Parisian quays cut off from traffic for example. To get out of the regulator, as in a car, you just have to brake or activate the gas pedal.
Thanks to the application, if you attach your smartphone to the handlebars, you will be able to know your speed in real time, as well as the speed traveled since your purchase. Or the exact percentage of battery remaining. When the battery is completely discharged, it will still take you about 5 hours to recharge it. Far from a fast charge. Moreover it is advised to use the stand on the left of the scooter when you recharge it.
Small disappointment to put on the account of a reinforced safety: the scooter cannot start when stopped. You have to give it a push with your foot with the gas pedal activated in order to start. Perfect for beginners to prevent any accident, this safety feature frustrates more experienced users in the long run.
The M365 is very easy to fold by loosening a safety catch on the handlebar stem and then clip the horn to the rear wheel. The transport of the Xiaomi scooter is not very practical. Rather heavy (12.5 kg), it is very difficult to roll. Especially since the two handles of the handlebar are not foldable on themselves unlike competing models. The adjustment of the handlebar is also impossible if you are tall or short.
A significant advantage too: you can use your electric scooter in the rain. The Xiaomi model is IP54 certified, the mudguards will protect you up to a certain limit. No, the scooter is not really an amphibious vehicle.
In short, this scooter is for you if you need to make short urban trips at a lower cost while looking for a minimum of safety. If you are already an experienced user, and have a bigger budget, there are many more efficient models. Xiaomi nevertheless offers a good entry point for the electric scooter layman.
What regulations for electric scooters?
Traffic is prohibited on sidewalks. The regulations are evolving to respond to the proliferation of scooters, not yet recognized by the Highway Code. Scooters that can go up to 25 km/h are tolerated on bike paths. And if not? There is only the road where you will have to be very careful because the cars are not really used to it yet.