The air was a crisp 34 degrees outside Christmas morning, and I was not where I expected to be. I thought I’d be wafting through dreamland—no alarm clock to fret, no emails filling the inbox—just deep, deep sleep. But that wasn’t the case.
Like every morning for the past week, I found myself eagerly putting in mileage, not behind the wheel of some fab new sports car or super saloon, but behind the handlebars of an electric scooter—the EcoReco M3. Yes, an e-scooter. If that sounds like an odd pull to get you out of bed at the crack of dawn, well…you haven’t tried one of these yet.
Hailing from sunny California, the M3 is a familiar design, an evolution perhaps, of one of those scooters you had as a kid. You’ll find a familiar T-shaped handle bar, foldable upright, and room for two feet staggered below on its base. But beneath its dark exterior lies a 36-volt lithium iron phosphate battery and a 250-watt hub motor. The end result is a very achievable top speed of 20 mph, and a big smile plastered on your face.
Getting comfortable with the EcoReco M3 admittedly takes a few minutes—up top you’ve got a brake at your left hand and a throttle with a digital display at the right—but it’s not long before you’re whizzing around like…well, a kid on Christmas morning. As I was literally doing.
On the smooth roads, the M3 is a hoot. The scooter comes shod with airless rubber tires, which grip like ticks and really let you lean into corners, bringing out the best of the electric torque on tap. On dimpled pavement it’s a slightly different story.
The e-scooter features small coil springs up front, which minimize some of the bumps, but you’ll surely be feeling the road’s surface as you go. Potholes and deep crags can be a bit daunting due to the scooter’s small wheels, however I never felt like I was going to take an accidental dive over the handlebars, thankfully.
So is this e-scooter just a fun runner? Well, not quite. The M3 is billed as “last mile” solution, in that, it can help commuters successfully link together different means of transportation. For instance, your commute to the office might consist of a short drive to the train, a ride into the city, and then a walk to work. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to commuting for all, the M3 can at least solve the long-walk dilemma, and for some, perhaps even bookend an entire mass transit trip.
EcoReco says the M3 is capable of between 10 and 20 miles of range, dependent on rider weight and your own kick assistance. From my experience, getting the most out of that range will be largely dependent on how hilly your route is. With some enthusiastic kicking I was able to climb some very steep inclines, however repeated uphill ascents seemed to drain the battery much quicker. When completely drained it takes about four and a half hours to fully top-off the battery, but it takes only two hours or so to reach an 80 percent charger.
As far as portability goes, it’s a pretty compact unit. The M3’s handle and upright fold down in a matter of seconds, and at around 34 pounds, it can pretty easily be toted onto a subway or tucked into the trunk of a car.
If I do have a quibble, it’s not so much with the M3 as it is with all things electric and low-slung. It isn’t suggested that you pilot the M3 in the rain, partly for safety and partly because water and electrical bits don’t exactly mix well. The scooter is said to be water resistant and can handle the chance rain shower or errant puddle, but it’s worth mentioning that it might not be the best all-weather commuting companion. I know, not a groundbreaking revelation, but worth mentioning.
All in all, the EcoReco M3 is a very fun little runabout and a definite option for those linking together an urban commute, especially in sunny climes. For those looking for a bit more comfort, the EcoReco M5 offers similar performance with the addition of air tires and full suspension. I’ll surely miss this one.
Motor: 250 watt (rear hub)
Battery Pack: 36v 8ah LiFePO4
Top Speed: 20 mph
Weight: 34 lbs.
Range: 10-20 miles