Yamaha is a legendary brand that has been successful and respected within the industry for decades. Offering machines in varying capacities for riders of varying capabilities, they’ve opened the door for many and this includes its European scooter market.
Since the 1990s we’ve seen models like the Aerox, BW and NEO's dominate this section of the market and allow younger riders to really experience and get a taste of what the two-wheel world really has to offer. Fast forward to 2022, and we see the brand’s humble 50cc NEO's scooter see some serious development.
The all-new NEO's is Yamaha’s first 50cc equivalent electric scooter and join a line-up that’s set to see Yamaha make its mark on the electric scooter scene. It’s exciting to see the brand expand in such a new direction and we’ve got everything you need to know about this new model coming up!
Yamaha isn’t foolish, they aren’t going to create more work for themselves by building a new scooter from scratch when they already have the basic recipe for one that’s been so popular. Released in 1997, the NEO has proved its worth so what better foundations to build the new electric version on? (I’m sure you will have guessed this from the name, though!)
The e-NEO's keeps hold of the basic ingredients we’ve seen on NEO's of the past, such as the simplistic and universal styling but add an extra scoop of sugar and spice to enhance its look and allow the styling to fall in line with the futuristic vibes of an electric scooter. This can be seen through the curved and rounded body, new smart bodywork, full LED twin-eye headlights (which are a real statement, may I just say) and two new colourways (‘Milky White’ and ‘Midnight Black’) both featuring Yamaha’s new ‘Aqua’ colour that’s specially dedicated to the EV range.
It's Milky White all the way for me if I’m honest. It’s got a clean and fresh look that’s very aesthetically pleasing and incredibly stylish. Let’s not forget about those lovely pops of ‘Aqua’ that look especially great in contrast and really help with the overall futuristic styling.
Located under the seat is the NEO's 50.4V/19.2Ah lithium-ion battery. It weighs 8kg, gives a range of 37km (30 miles) on a full charge and takes 8 hours to re-charge. Speaking of charging as the battery is portable it can be charged in or out of the scooter. A second battery is also optional, but you will miss out on storage space, so this is something to be aware of.
Motor, performance and acceleration
Moving onto that motor now and the NEO's features a direct drive hub-mounted brushless electric motor that peaks at 2.5kW which is the performance you'd expect for a 50cc equivalent electric moped.
It's also equipped with Vehicle Control Unit (VCU) as well as a Motor Control Unit (MCU) to help with both motor, battery and overall performance.
Yamaha Integrated Power Unit (YIPU)
What is that you hear? Nothing. As with most electric scooters, they don’t make a peep when riding and it’s the same for the NEO’s.
For the NEO’s, it’s thanks to Yamaha’s Integrated Power Unit (YIPU) that is gearless in design and, in Yamaha’s own words, “significantly reduces transmission power losses typically associated with gears and drive belts” and “virtually eliminates mechanical noise for extremely quiet running to give a relaxing and enjoyable ride.”
Two riding modes are offered. ‘STD’ mode brings a 2.06kW (2.7 hp) power output (the higher of the two) and is designed for general riding and use on average roads.
‘ECO’ mode helps to save battery and is best suited for longer rides. The max power is 1.58kW (2.1 hp) and top speed is limited to 21 mph.
Rider friendly nature
Another important factor for any scooter is comfort and rideability. Yamaha has optimised this through ergonomics such as an upright riding position, handlebar/seat/footboard triangle and 795mm cushioned seat height.
The NEO's is also said to offer 27L of under-seat storage, but this will be reduced if you opt for that second battery.
Equipment and technology
With an electric scooter from such a brand, it can’t just fall to the styling to be modern. It needs to come with a certain level of technology too. You’ll be happy to hear, Yamaha hasn’t disappointed us. Included with the NEO’s is Yamaha's free MyRide app that allows for smartphone connectivity and keeping an eye on battery levels.
In addition to that, a new compact LCD display and a Smart Key keyless system are included to meet the certain level of convenience we are so accustomed to in this day and age.
A big emphasis has been put on urban mobility and commutability and through the technology used, Yamaha has tried to make this model as accessible as possible.
They’ve also said ‘affordable’ and I agree with them as the Yamaha NEO’s is pleasantly priced at £3,005. It helps to know that savings will be made in the long run of owning and riding an electric scooter.
The last stop
With Piaggio releasing their 1 as an affordable electric scooter, and Yamaha closely following suit with their own 50cc equivalent, times really are starting to change. With these big boys now making a bid to rule the electric scooter market, it seems small capacity e-scoots are just the beginning for the big manufacturers to gain a positive charge.
It really will be interesting to see how models like the NEO’s do against the likes of Supersoco, NIU and Silence. What are your thoughts?