Over the last month our staff have pushed the Mi Electric Scooter to its limits in our usual destructive reviewing style. This article not only introduces the adult electric scooter but shares our experiences, tips and findings from over 300 miles of scooter rides!
What is the Mi Electric Scooter?
The Mi Electric scooter is an electric scooter for adults from Chinese giants Xiaomi. It is a portable, folding scooter with a motor in the front wheel and a battery under the deck that together provide 18 mile range. An intuitive, easy to hop-on-and-ride design paired with a safe, dual braking system make it suitable for all adults. Already interested? You can pick one up from our webstore today.
They are the latest in a family of ‘final mile’ personal transport solutions, ideal for moving people relatively short distances in urban/sub-urban areas. You may have seen a variation of this very scooter should you have visited the US recently. It has received the seal of approval not only from BIRD in San Francisco, but also Blue Duck in cities across Texas and Spin in even more cities across the United States.
Mi Electric scooter at a glance
- Maximum range of 30km (18.6miles) in eco mode
- 25kph (15.5mph) Top speed
- Simple user-friendly operation
- Sturdy folding design for carrying or stowing
- Anti-lock regenerative front-brake and mechanical rear disc brake
- Companion smartphone app for ride statistics, customisation and firmware upgrades
- Minor assembly required (tools included)
- Available in White or Dark Grey as tested
Electric Scooter Unboxing and assembly
Alongside the Mi Scooter itself, Xiaomi include:
- 4 x Hex screws (for attaching the handlebars)
- Hexagon wrench
- Two spare tyres
- Charging brick and mains lead
- Extended nozzle adapter (for tyre inflation)
As touched on, the scooter requires some assembly when it comes out of the box.
- Flip out the kickstand from under the rear left hand side of the footplate to stabilise it.
- Unfold the scooter, lift the metal latch up to the vertical position to lock the upright in place and spin the plastic safety catch around to hold it in place.
- Unwrap and insert the handlebars into the upright and insert the two front screws.
- Insert the 2 rear handlebar screws, tighten all four.
- Press the power button on-top of the stem to power up the scooter
Mi Adult Electric Scooter Controls and Features
Left to right across the handlebars you can see the brake lever (which actuates both the mechanical disc brake on the rear and also the motor/generator brake in the front wheel), the bell (which doubles as a latch when folded), the stem with the power button and led readout and lastly the accelerator. The bars are around 97cm from the deck which makes for a relaxed, comfortable riding position.
The power button has several uses. A single press will power the scooter up whilst a 2-second press-and-hold will turn it off again. Once the scooter is powered up, a single press will turn the lights on and off and a ‘double tap’ will switch between drive modes. When powered up the scooter will indicate its power level using the four LED’s each representing 25% of the battery capacity. The lowest LED also doubles up as the drive mode indicator, white normally or green when in the ECO power saving/beginner mode.
The front wheel of the scooter is the motor/generator unit and once moving, it can be use to power the scooter along. When applying the brakes this unit also helps slow the scooter down and even has an anti-lock braking feature!
The footplate between the wheels is covered by a robust textured rubber coating that offers great grip. Measuring 57cm long, it offers plenty of space to comfortably stand even for those with big feet. Under the deck is the large battery tray with charging port.
The rear of the scooter features a mudguard with built in tail-light. Both the rear and front light are activated together via the power button as mentioned. The rear light also doubles as a brake light, when braking the rear light will flash. The rear wheel brake is a powerful mechanical disc system similar to those found on bicycles. Its a great fail-safe addition that allows for continued to safe use of the scooter when the battery is depleted or the system is off.
How do I ride the electric scooter?
The scooter needs a push to get going. to start riding, power the scooter up, grab the handle grips, place your dominant foot on the deck and ‘push off’ with your other foot. Once moving, use your right thumb to depress the accelerator and engage the motor. To stop, simply ease off the scooter where it will coast to a stop, or apply the brakes with your left hand, remembering to put your foot back on the ground when you come to a stop.
Ideal Mi Scooter tyre pressures
For best performance (in terms of grip and indeed puncture resistance) its important to set the tyre pressures relative to the riders weight. These guide pressures originated on the Xiaomi forum but our testing concurs with them:
- 50-70kg: front wheel 35-40psi and rear wheel 40-50psi
- 70-90kg: front wheel 40-45psi, and the rear wheel 45-55psi
- 90-100kg: front wheel 45-50psi, and the rear wheel 50-60psi
- 100kg+: front wheel 50-55psi, and the rear wheel 60-65psi
Remember that running a lower tyre pressure does not always provide a softer ride quality. Also note that manufacturer states the risk of puncture increases the heavier the rider.
It uses a schrader valve (the same type found on car tyres) but we recommend against using garage forecourt air pumps which are unlikely to go to a high enough pressure. Instead we recommend using a bicycle floor pump, or footpump and the included extended nozzle adapter (essential for the recessed front wheel valve) to accurately inflate the tyres.
Mi Scooter real-world range
As you can imagine, the scooter is sensitive to its payload. Extra weight will hamper acceleration, lower top speed and more importantly have a large impact on the range. Our findings suggest that the manufacturer figures are based on a ~60kg passenger travelling on flat ground in ‘ECO’ mode.
Even in the ‘ECO’ mode we have yet to surpass 24km (15 mile) of travel, perhaps due to inclines and riders of a much higher weight. We prefer to ride the scooter in the standard mode for a ‘zippy’ feel, in this mode we have comfortably ridden our 16km (10 mile) in a-day-round-trip with the throttle wide open in cruise control mode without dropping below the last 25% LED.
If range is important to you, we would recommend not experimenting with third-party firmware. Our (potentially warranty-voiding) test runs with some of the ‘power’ firmware’s out there increased the top speed and acceleration capabilities but dramatically shortened the range, with 66% of the battery depleted after 5 miles! Its safe to say that Mi have configured the stock scooter for the best balance between performance and range.
How long does the Mi Scooter take to charge?
Should you completely deplete the battery, the scooter will take a little over 5 hours to recharge. We have got into the habit of topping up the scooter whenever we return home and have only had to fully charge the scooter from flat once. Lifting up the red flap on the left hand side of the scooter will reveal the charge port. When connected the charger LED will light up red when charging and will switch to green when it is complete.
The pack of 18650 high-capacity lithium batteries are managed by a battery controller with Short circuit / Overcurrent / Undervolt / Over-charge / Over-discharge Protections and is packaged for temperature resistance. But as with other electric powered items, you can expect the performance of the battery to differ in extreme climates. The 36v 7800mAh/280Wh battery in our model is rated for use up to 50°C down to -20°C. In terms of battery care, When not in use the manufacturer recommends that you fully charge the scooter once a month to avoid it self-discharging to a point where the battery could be damaged.
The real magic to the power system is the regenerative feature that recharges the battery as you slow down. The application (and effective ferocity) of this system can be tuned in the app, allowing for the scooter to coast further and retain momentum or aggressively harvest and slow the scooter down as soon as you go for the brakes.
How big or heavy is the adult electric scooter?
At 12.5kg the scooter is around twice as heavy as a manual push-powered scooters. When folded, it is portable but you wouldn’t want to carry it around for an extended time. Should you take it to the shops you can hold the handlebars and wheel the scooter around on its front wheel like a suitcase.
When briefly stopping at a newsagents we prefer to secure our scooter to bike locking hoops. A D-lock small enough to fit around the neck above the wheel will stop anyone walking off with it (although it wouldn’t stop them taking it apart and carrying it off!).
Can I ride the Mi electric scooter in the rain?
The instructions prohibit riding the scooter in the rain and this is most likely for safety reasons. The tyres are unsuitable for use on wet surfaces and the torque of the front motor can even result in wheelspin.
The electric scooter is IP54 rated, meaning it is relatively well dust protected and is protected against light water splashes. We have used ours on drying paths and through some (very) shallow puddles with no detrimental effect to date.
Tips for riding the Electric scooters
- Cruise control – If you are riding on smooth undistributed surfaces for long distances then the cruise control will stop your hands from fatiguing and allow you to relax and move them around the bars (whilst maintaining a finger over the brake lever!)
- Foot placement – Many of our team found that placing your dominant foot forward improved their stability when riding whilst others found a ‘goofy’ stance more comfortable. Eitherway, we all found placing the rear foot perpendicular to the deck, across the back of your front foot, helped with both balance and comfort.
- Tyre pressures – To maximise performance and ride comfort, ensure your tyre pressure is suitable for the rider weight and check your tyre pressures regularly. Ride with a soft (or slightly bent) knee when tackling bumpy surfaces.
- Power saving mode – when the scooter is powered up, press and hold the power button for a second until the bottom battery indicator LED changes to green. This indicates ‘Power saving’ or ECO mode is active, limiting the top speed to 18kmh (11.2mph) ideal for beginners or those looking to maximise their range.
- Wear protection – This scooter can be deceptively fast and no one wants to end their day with their head meeting a kerbstone. At the bare minimum we recommend you wear a simple BMX style helmet for protection when riding.
- Beware clearance – The combination of small wheels, long wheelbase and large battery mean ground clearance is at premium. Do not drop off of steep kerbs or you risk damaging the battery.
- Carry your charger – Heavy luggage, hills and stop start traffic can all hamper your range. Have your charger on hand to top off your battery at work or at a friendly coffee shop.
Using the app to enable cruise control
Installing the Mi Home app from either the Google play store or iTunes store enables you to take full control of the scooter’s configuration. The app connects to the scooter via bluetooth, ensure the scooter is powered up and nearby before connecting. Once connected the screen will display your scooter’s current battery level, average speed and last mileage before it was power cycled.
Pressing the settings button at the top right you can access more information such as Device Settings, Device info and software settings. Things you might want to configure include:
- Cruise Control (on/off) – When enabled and when riding along, maintaining the throttle at a specific position for around 4 seconds will result in a beep. You can then release the throttle and have the scooter continue along as if the accelerator was still held at that position. To cancel cruise control simply tap the brake or throttle again.
- Energy Recovery Strength (Weak/Medium/Strong) – Sets how aggressively the scooter will regenerate when coasting or under braking.
- Vehicle Password Settings – Add a password to your scooter to restrict people from connecting to it through the app.
- Upgrade Firmware (Firmware Version) – Mi regularly update the firmware to finely adjust the scooters performance and to fix any bugs. Use this option to update the firmware on your scooter.
Beyond this you can view overall distance travelled, battery info , change the system units between metric and imperial, and also switch the tail-light behaviour.
Accessories for your Electric scooter
With the increasing popularity of the Mi scooter, new accessories are appearing on the market everyday. We stock some of the more popular ones, such as the handle bar bag, handlebar bag claw hook and full size carry bag.
If you find yourself having issues with punctures we also stock some ‘solid’ rubber tyres. These are drilled so retain some compliance compared to the stock pneumatic setup, but obviously cannot be deflated. They are a great alternative to filling them with ‘slime’ tyre sealant.
Mi Electric Scooter spares
Genuine spares and other OEM parts are available on our webstore. This ranges from consumables like tyres, brake pads and brake discs, right up to major components such as the front wheel motor or even the battery!
The scooter has been designed intelligently but some repairs such as replacing the front tyre can be quite involved due to the complexity of the hub motor.
- Solid – Its a very high quality unit.
- Folding Design – Boosts the portability and stowing potential hugely
- Reliable – Several months stress-testing (use in light rain, off road on dirt paths, towing skateboarders etc ) and the scooter hasn’t let us down once.
- Incredibly accessible – We have had people of all ages (60+!) jump right on and ride off.
- Great value – Considering the battery technology provided, the app support and the mechanical disc, its a good price.
We’re not fond of
- Weight – The only downside to the build quality and range provided is the weight. At 12kg it can be heavy to carry for extended periods
- Complacency – You will get used to the performance quickly, forgetting just how quickly you are travelling! Or you may decide never to walk anywhere again (like some of our staff members).
- Length – Whilst it will fit in the boot, under your desk and under train seats, it is a little too long to fit in lockers or to take on a bus
- Popularity – People kept stopping us to ask about it and to find out where we bought ours!
Should I buy a the Mi Electric Scooter?
This is the several-hundred-pound question and one that is highly dependant on your situation. You might be thinking ‘what would I use an electric scooter for adults for?’ so here are the collection of use cases we have found for it in the past month
- ‘Last mile commute‘ eg. the walk to the station, or from the station to the office (where permitted)
- Trips to the newsagents/pub/school that would take a little too long to walk but where parking is an issue (again, where permitted)
- Exploring new locations when on holiday
- Providing those with specific mobility issues with a new way to get out and about
- Minimising your carbon footprint (assuming you have a renewable charging source)
Regardless of your age or level of fitness, this adult electric scooter is the ideal transport for short journeys! Havng tried argos electric scooters and other scooters we are confident that the Mi electric scooters are far superior.
Should you be intending to use it for commuting or any sort of serious distance transport, we would recommend buying a spare charger at time of purchase to leave in the office.
You can purchase the Mi Electric Scooter from our webstore today in White or Dark Grey as tested.