Unagi’s $990 electric scooters are getting more powerful — and more colorful

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Electric scooter company Unagi has a powerful new model to show off. The California-based startup has upgraded its flagship scooter with dual motors, enabling better torque and higher speed without sacrificing portability. And for the first time, customers can choose to customize their scooter with almost any combination of colors or patterns they can imagine.

Unagi’s new E500 Dual Motor Scooter has two 250W motors, one in the front and one in the back, for a total of (you guessed it) 500W. The company’s first scooter came in two motor types, 250W and 450W, and was able to hit a top speed of 15.5 mph. This new configuration now delivers a top speed of 19 mph, with 32 newton meters of torque, enabling a rider of up to 200 pounds to cruise up steep hills with ease.

Despite the addition of another motor, the scooter is still comparatively lightweight, clocking in at only 26 pounds. “There are bigger scooters with more range and torque, but none of them are truly portable,” Unagi CEO David Hyman said in an email. “The Boosted Rev, for example, is 46 lbs!! The reality is, very few commuters or urban users scoot more than 5 miles a day. We’re hell-bent focused on this market segment, giving them the best truly portable scooter on the planet — because well, it’s what we want.”

The scooter has three drive modes: Beginner (9-11 mph); Advanced (13-15 mph); and Professional (15-19 mph). The lithium-ion battery allows for a range of up to 15.5 miles. And Unagi is using the same blend of aluminum and carbon fiber for the frame as it did with its first model.

In addition, Unagi is unveiling what it describes as the industry’s first personalized paint job, allowing customers to design their scooters online to fit their personal vision. The original model only came in four colors: red, blue, white, and black. Now customers can choose from a variety of single or two-tone paint jobs, as well as numerous patterns.

Hyman said that Unagi “impregnates the dye into the carbon fiber frame for a high-end custom paint job, versus a wrap or sticker approach.” This transforms the Unagi scooter into a “lasting personal work of art,” he added. Customers will have the ability to select custom colors for the handlebar, steer tube, and deck. And there will be limited run patterns available — from urban camouflage to tartan to Hawaiian themed — on an ongoing basis.

Unagi, the Japanese word for freshwater eel, burst on the scene last year with a $990 electric scooter. It was based on a Chinese-made prototype called SWAN that never went into production. Hyman took over the rights to the design globally, hired a Chinese engineering team, and funded it to completion.

Since then, it’s become a big hit with musicians like Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, Halsey, Steve Aoki, and teen pop megastar Billie Eilish — which has helped Hyman raise $3.5 million in venture capital cash. Last month, Hyman helped bail out a struggling rival scooter company, Unicorn. He said he would offer an Unagi scooter to anyone who ordered, but didn’t receive, a Unicorn scooter.

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