Over a year ago, images and videos of an electric scooter with enormous wheels and a slanted, off-center frame began popping up online. The self-balancing scooter concept, made by a US-based company called Stator, went viral, but wasn’t available for purchase at the time. Well, now it is.
Stator says it has finally lined up a manufacturing partner, making it now available for preorder. The scooter will be produced and delivered by a company called NantMobility, a subsidiary of NantWorks, which was founded by Los Angeles Times owner and CEO Patrick Soon-Shiong. He’s a South African surgeon and billionaire investor who invented the cancer drug, Abraxane, which took off thanks to its efficacy against pancreatic cancer. (Last year, he was accused of acquiring another drug that would have competed with his own.) Now apparently Soon-Shiong is turning his attention to micromobility products.
The scooter’s design and overall look really set it apart from the current crop of electric kick scooters made by Chinese companies like Segway-Ninebot and Xiaomi that so far have dominated the market. And the specs prove that. The Stator scooter is no lightweight, clocking in at a staggering 90lbs (40.8 kg). That’s heavier than most electric cargo bikes! The scooter’s extreme weight could deter some customers who are looking for something even slightly more portable.
What it lacks in portability it makes up for in speed. The scooter can accelerate to an impressive 30 mph, which doesn’t make it the fastest electric two-wheeler on the market, but certainly outpaces any Bird or Lime scooter by a long shot. The motor has a peak power rating of 1,000W, and the lithium-ion battery can be fully recharged in four hours. Stator didn’t provide a specific range estimate, but the company said it will run for more than an hour following a charging session.
There are four riding modes: Limp, Eco, Sport, and X. (Limp mode, while hilarious on the surface, is something to protect the rider if something goes wrong. The other modes are user-selectable.)
A digital display, embedded along that uniquely off-kilter handlebar that emerges from the left side of the scooter, shows the battery life and speed. This is the Stator scooter’s most interesting and arresting design choice and what is likely to truly set it apart from its competitors. But what’s it like to ride? Is it stable? Does it take some getting used to? I can’t say until we get a review unit to try out.
What about those fatter-than-fat tires? They are a beefy 18 inches by 7.8 inches, which is sure to give this scooter some leeway for off-road adventures on soft, unstable terrain. The one-piece aluminum wheels have a “fan blade design” that serves as a cooling fan to pull air into the wheel and across the electric motor. The blades also serve as a heatsink and a strengthening component. Strator describes them as “military grade tires” that are durable, quiet, and apparently compliant with the Department of Transportation (in case that’s the kind of thing you’re looking for). Also the tires are crowned, not flat — which enables the rider to “lean” in like a motorcycle or a bicycle.
Overall, the Stator scooter feels like it has more in common with the fat-tire electric scooters with seats that can be rented from companies like Shared Technologies in Portland. Shared’s electric vehicles, called Zoomers, look more like a moped than a scooter, with two eight-inch-wide tires front and back and a seat in between.
The scooter is now available for preorder. Customers who feel bold enough to plunk down $3,995 for an electric scooter can reserve one now for a $250 deposit. Only 500 of the company’s “Launch Edition” scooters are available to be shipped, and only in the US.
Apparently, a number of people got scammed in the interim between the scooter’s first appearance online and now. “Over the past year a number of websites claiming to offer the Stator have appeared but none of them actually have had the product for sale,” the company said. “Many of them have shipped prospective buyers everything from shampoo bottles to empty boxes for their order — or even nothing at all.”
I’m not sure how an empty box could pass for a 90lb scooter, but okay.