BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 06 Sept '19

Katie Hill meets a family-run business that’s going the extra mile – quietly…

This article first appeared in our Restoration Revolution issue of MyGreenPod Magazine, distributed with The Guardian on 06 Sept 2019. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Valley Fest always attracts some fantastic businesses, so I wasn’t surprised when I got chatting to two lovely guys – John and Teddy – at the 2019 festival in August. ‘There’s a niche’, John advised me as Razorlight prepared for the stage. ‘Electric pedal bikes are booming and motorbikes will always have a following – but at less than 1p per mile, why is no one promoting electric mopeds?’

I nearly choked on my Somerset cider. Electric mopeds: what’s not to love? I was at John and Teddy’s EcoMove stall before you could say Thatchers.

One of the many great things about electric mopeds is that they’re light, which has the dual benefit of making your charge last longer and ensuring the moped is extremely easy too manoeuvre.

EcoMove offers five different options, ranging in price from just over £1,300 to a little more than £3,000. Each has a Panasonic battery and a Bosch motor, and is controlled by an app that provides access to GPS, ride history and information on battery usage, as well as sending alerts if your moped’s moved or touched.

Range and speed

The key differences are the range and the speed. The most expensive – the NGT series (£3,196) – has a range of 60 to 105 miles, depending on whether you’re riding in E-Save, Dynamic or Sport mode.
There are two Panasonic batteries that you can flash charge for 3.5 hours using a dual charger. The maximum speed is just over 43mph.

The most affordable option – and thankfully my favourite – is the U series (£1,359). Purpose-built for the city, these mopeds weigh an impossibly light 57kg and will get you 25 miles on a single charge. When you need to top up, you just lift the seat, pop out the battery and flash charge it for a couple of hours.

U series mopeds have a stripped-back design that leaves the steel frame exposed, and they are unbelievably easy to move around. They’re perfect for short journeys – ideal if, like me, you live a mile or more from the nearest, well, anything, and don’t have the luxury of a regular bus service.

The mid-range M+ is a great little moped – very responsive and suitable for most requirements. It costs £1,916, has a range of over 60 miles and does 29mph, whether up hills or down dales. If you got your driving licence before 2001 you’re covered; if you passed your test later you’ll just need to take a simple four-hour CBT test before you can ride it.

The clean traveller

The economics stack up: ‘e-mopeds’ qualify for a 20% government grant, plus there’s no road tax and they cost less than 1p per mile to run. Top-up charging with a household three-pin plug is quick and simple.

Importantly, these mopeds also look great. I say it’s important because when electric cars shed their boxy image they kick-started a clean transport revolution.

Click here to find out why the EcoMove M+ Series e-moped is a My Green Pod Hero

The e-moped is fast becoming a serious transport option for a whole new group of users who want to travel in a clean, convenient and fun way. It could very easily become a mainstream option for a new eco-savvy and climate-conscious generation.

‘We are currently more conscious than ever of our carbon footprint’, Teddy explains. ‘People will move to blended transport, using either public transport, an electric car or moped, bike or simply walking. Then it’s just a case of choosing which one to use on a daily basis, according to the journey.’

The five e-mopeds available from EcoMove are all geared towards different needs, so it’s really easy to find the one that’s right for you.

Health and safety

‘I have three teenage children’, Teddy tells us, ‘and getting them a car and insurance is just too expensive – not to mention their carbon footprint. My worry about them using a moped of any kind would be the aggression of other road users and consequently their safety. Now the e-moped can use bus lanes and there are many more 20mph speed limits, I am far more confident of their safety.’

E-mopeds are also a healthier option for getting to college, university or work – and not just because there are no emissions. ‘As journey times increase so can your stress levels’, Teddy explains. ‘It affects your health. Getting to an appointment or work late, even though you left enough time, is not good for you; you arrive short on temper and poor in humour. John used to spend 45 minutes every day on his commute into Bristol and now he can do the same journey in 16 minutes. The time saving is obvious, but his temperament when he arrives at the office now is far calmer and he is ready to start work.’

Getting the right e-moped

EcoMove is a family-run company, owned by tennis partners John and Teddy and ‘ably supported’ by their wives, who help in all areas of this fast-moving business. They care deeply about the transition to clean transportation and want to support it by helping customers discover what would suit them best. The EcoMove website has been designed to simplify the process of finding the right e-moped for your needs, and the company’s motto is: ‘to help you choose what’s best for you – and change it if we get it wrong’.

‘At EcoMove we will take the time to understand what you want to use your e-moped for and about the journeys you typically take’, Teddy explains. ‘We will then talk through your options and recommend the one that best suits you. We’ll deliver the e-moped personally, help you set it up and make sure you are comfortable with it before we leave. You’ll also get your own eco-specialist who will be there to offer support and advice whenever you need it.’

EcoMove has done the homework and only sells NIU e-mopeds – the number-one seller globally. ‘If you want a petrol one or the second best’, Teddy says. ‘it’s not us you need to talk to.’