It’s an exciting time for electric scooters and mopeds. The number of manufacturers continues to grow, and that competition is also keeping prices affordable.
SWAG isn’t the newest electric scooter company, as they’ve already been selling their products in Asia for years. But they are the newest electric scooter company to begin selling worldwide. And with a price tag of $1,200, it’s hard not to at least take a second look at these cute little EVs.
SWAG is a Singapore-based electric scooter company that was founded in 2016.
They manufacture their electric scooters in Shanghai and have mainly marketed their electric scooters in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand – countries where lithium-powered scooters have yet to penetrate deeply into the large scooter market.
After testing their scooters in Asian markets for the past two years, the company is now targeting world-wide sales of their new upgraded model, the 2019 Type-S electric scooter.
2019 SWAG Type-S electric scooter
SWAG’s 2019 Type-S electric scooter is optimized for city travel. It has a top speed of 35 mph (56 km/h). Power is provided by a 2 kW Bosch rear hub motor.
Acceleration is surprisingly peppy with a 0-50 km/h (0-31 mph) time of 3.9 seconds. That should pull you away at green lights pretty quickly.
The SWAG Type-S electric scooter features a 72V 20Ah Panasonic lithium-ion battery rated for 1.44 kWh. The company claims that the battery should be sufficient for 70 km (43 mi) of range under ideal conditions.
The battery is rated for 1,000 charge cycles and comes with a 2 year warranty. At 10 kgs (22 lbs), the battery can be removed and carried inside for charging. That’s an important feature for apartment dwellers, as carrying the 93 kg (205 lb) scooter inside to charge would be a bit more difficult.
For anyone with a garage or other convenient charging location, you can also charge the battery while it is still on the scooter.
The Panasonic batteries include a number of built-in protections, including thermal cutoffs, over and under-discharge protection, over-current protection and cell balancing.
The scooter offers an option for either keyed or keyless ignition, and features an anti-theft alarm based on vibration.
The display is fairly spartan, but shows all the necessary speed, distance and battery life information.
The SWAG Type-S electric scooters have a maximum load rating of 155 kg (342 lbs), meaning they should fit two average size riders.
The styling looks very much like Gogoro’s popular electric scooters, with smooth curved surfaces and an oblong horizontal headlight.
SWAG’s global expansion
After selling their scooters in ASEAN countries, SWAG is now expanding globally with their new 2019 Type-S electric scooter. Like many other light electric vehicle companies, they are using Indiegogo as a global sales channel.
The $2,000 scooter is available at a discount for early orders, selling for just $1,200 before shipping.
Because SWAG will ship to customers worldwide directly from their manufacturing location, the shipping is handled as FOB (Free On Board) from Shanghai Port. This means SWAG pays to get the scooter to the port, and the customer is responsible for covering shipping charges to their destination.
SWAG works with each customer to handle shipping for their specific location. According to the company:
“Shortly after the end of the campaign, our export managers will contact the backers to arrange the best possible logistic option. Backers can also opt to use their own logistics forwarder, if they have one. Our export managers will organize the shipment and the backer can make payment directly to the shipping company. In general, buyers are responsible for delivery and taxes.”
SWAG states that, for example, shipping from Shanghai to Bangkok by truck costs around $460 including all taxes and duties.
Packaging includes two options. For customers who want a ready-to-ride scooter, the Type-S can be shipped in one piece inside of a rigid metal shipping frame. To save money, it can also be shipped 90% assembled in a smaller metal frame. The smaller option requires the user to install the front wheel and handlebars, or have a local garage do the installation for them.
SWAG is using a similar sales approach to other Asian electric scooter companies that have begun expanding sales worldwide. NIU, the largest electric scooter company in China, is also currently selling their popular electric scooters worldwide on the platform.
There are a couple caveats here: 1) I have not personally tested out the SWAG Type-S scooter so I can’t vouch for how well it works, and 2) this is an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign so it doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to get your scooter.
That being said, the specs and the scooter are nice. A Bosch motor and Panasonic batteries both show a commitment to quality parts. However, I am a bit suspicious of the 43 mile range figure. I’d estimate that’d be closer to the mid-30’s under real world conditions.
Regarding accountability, while this is the first international expansion of the company, they’ve been operating in Asia for two years with many happy customers. So while you still need to approach an opportunity like this with caution, it’s not quite the same as a brand new, no-name startup without a reputation.
SWAG notes that their warranty is international, though who knows how easy it will be to get support remotely.
I’m still excited to see more electric scooter companies entering the market. With a $1,200 purchase price, I expect the entire cost of the 2019 Type-s scooter could be under $2,000 delivered to the US. It could be well under $2,000 if you live near a port. Don’t quote me on that, since I haven’t worked out the entire shipping and logistics chain, but that range feels approximately right based on my past importing experience.
We don’t have very many options for electric scooters in the US, though there are a few. So I’m always glad to see new options like this. As more electric scooter and moped sharing companies begin operations around the US, Americans are waking up to the convenience of these medium-speed, medium-range two-wheeled EVs. I think in a few years you’ll be seeing scooters like these in many more US cities.