The Unagi Model One is a powerful electric scooter with an out-of-the-ordinary futuristic design. It’s a great means of transport for short trips downtown, casual day-off rides in a park, as well as reaching your workplace on a busy day. It’s light, it’s portable, but the main highlight of this scooter is its style. When riding an Unagi Model One you’re bound to turn heads no matter where you go.
Does this mean we found the perfect electric scooter of this generation? As always, the answer to that depends on your goals and needs. Let’s find out if the Unagi Model One is the perfect e-scooter for you.
Unagi Mode One E500 Specs
Size: 43.3 x 37.8 x 16.5 inches (folded), 37.8 x 16.5 x 15 inches (unfolded)
Weight: 26.5 lbs
Max Speed: 15 mph (both claimed by the manufacturers and proved in our performance tests)
Max Range: 15.5 miles (stated by the manufacturers, in reality, this heavily depends on your conditions and rider’s weight)
Max Load or Rider Weight: 275 lbs
Motor: dual 250 Watt, all-wheel drive
Battery: 33.6 V, 9.0 Ah
Charging time: 4.5-5 hours
Lights: two white LED lights on the front and a rear-facing red LED for safe night riding
Folding mechanism: one-click, fast-folding mechanism
- The outstanding design
- Light weight
- Portable thanks to the fast-folding mechanism
- Large & clear LCD display
- Equipped with bright LED lights for night riding
- No laggy app that you need to install to activate & use your scooter
- Doesn’t have a typical scooter “rugged” look, yet also doesn’t look like a kid’s toy
- High price tag ($790 to $890)
- Not as smooth of a ride as you’d expect
- Short-range on a single charge
Unagi Model One: The Style
What makes the Unagi Model One stand out is its look. This is a scooter that will get you noticed on the road and in a good way. The Model One’s sleek design and futuristic shape straight away let everyone around know that it’s a premium micro-mobility vehicle they’re looking at.
Unlike other e-scooters that go for a rugged look, Unagi with the light carbon fiber tubes, three coats of high-tech paint, and the silicon-surface deck looks extremely smooth. The deck has a good grip, which ensures your feet will never slip. Although be aware that the embedded silicon on top of the deck gets dirty easily, and that can ruin the overall appearance of your scooter.
There are no wires dangling around the scooter’s body, and the ergonomic handlebar with the rubberized grips is just pleasant to hold on to. This Unagi Model One style is flawless, and you can see that they thought of every little detail here.
The Price & Model Selection
The Unagi Model One style’s counterpart is its price. The Unagi Model One comes in two configurations. The single-motor version E250 costs $840, while the dual-motor version E500 will cost you $990. Needless to say, that seems a little steep for an eclectic scooter. Both E250 and E500 are available in 4 color versions: cosmic blue, matte black, sea salt, and scarlet fire.
The model we had for testing is the dual-motor E500. While the E250 isn’t as powerful and would probably struggle to get up the same hills that the E500 does, the single-motor model only weighs 23 lbs. Compared to the E500’s 26.5 lbs, that doesn’t seem like much of a difference at first. But if you’re walking several flights of stairs with your scooter in hand, trust me, you’ll notice the difference.
The Folding Mechanism
Another big selling point for the Unagi Model One is the one-click folding mechanism. It only takes one click to fold your scooter, if you need to carry it over a flight of stairs, take it with you on a train, or store it in your car.
That’s what makes the Model One one of the most portable e-scooters on the market. That and the fact that it only weighs 12kg. If you ever used a public rental scooter to move around in the city, you’ve probably noticed how heavy those are (normally around 35-40 pounds or up to 19 kg).
The Performance: You Win Some, You Lose Some
With the dual 250 Watt motor, the Unagi Model One is a powerful e-scooter. It comes with 3 riding modes: beginner, advanced, and professional. The first mode is only good for getting used to your scooter and testing it when you get your hands (and your feet) on it for the first time. The second mode works well on smooth surfaces and straight roads. If you need to go over hills, the third professional mode is your only option.
Using the 3rd mode, you can actually go uphill at around 12-15 mph, depending on the rider’s weight. Speaking of weight, the Unagi Model One lists the rider’s weight limit at 275 lbs. Of course, we had to test it to see if the Model One can hold more than that, so we put two people on it. With around 308 lbs, the Model One could still go uphill, though at a significantly slower pace, and we managed to get a total of 5 miles (a little over 8 km) out of it on a single charge.
Note: We should remind you that you’re not supposed to ride the Model One together with someone, and we only did it for the sake of testing.
Unagi uses the 7.5-inch rubber wheels for the Model One. They’re puncture-proof which means they require zero maintenance. However, as soon as you go off the smooth road and try using the Model One on a surface anything less than perfect, you will notice the decrease in comfort.
Both throttle and brake controls are integrated into the handlebar. There’s no cruise control option, so you’ll have to keep your thumb on the accelerator at all times to keep going. The downside of this is that it gets pretty tiring after a while if you’re going on a longer ride. However, this also removes the danger of losing balance and falling off the scooter if you need to brake and stop instantly.
The scooter comes already equipped with everything you need for night riding. If you’re riding in a low-visibility environment, you’ll be able to see everything thanks to the flush-mounted 47 lumens LED front light, while the rear red LED light will make sure you’re seen on the road as well. It’s nice that you don’t have to install anything extra, and can just take your Model One on the road straight out of the box.
The Battery Life: Shorter Than Expected
Depending on your weight and riding conditions, the Unagi Model One can last from 5 to 9.5 miles (roughly 8 to 15km) on a single charge. We found that disappointing since the advertised range for the Model One is 15.5 miles, which is something we failed to reach even in seemingly perfect conditions with the rider’s weight of 123 lbs.
If you’re looking for a longer-range scooter, the Unagi Model One isn’t the right choice for you. However, Unagi offers a free extra charger in exchange for completing their survey. That way, you can keep one charger at home and take the other one to your workplace. If you put your scooter to charge while you’re at work, you guarantee that you won’t run out of power on the way back. And even if you do, you can still use the Unagi Model One as your normal kick scooter, as long as there are no steep hills on your way home.
Should You Buy an Unagi Model One?
We can’t say that the Unagi Model One is the perfect e-scooter for everyone, but it might be the perfect scooter for you. If you need your scooter to run long miles at a time and want to ride together with someone else, then you should keep searching. But if you’re looking for a light yet powerful, portable electric scooter that is low maintenance and looks unique and stylish, then you should consider getting the Unagi.