Move over, electric Vespa. Get nervous, NIU. There’s a new seated electric scooter in town, and it’s got better performance at a lower price. Meet the CSC ES5, an electric scooter that packs in plenty of power, speed, and range without a sky-high price.
CSC Motorcycles, headquartered in southern California, is no stranger to electric motorcycles and scooters. After several decades of imports and sales of gasoline-powered motorbikes, the company began expanding its lineup into electrics back in 2018.
In the last five years, the CSC badge has graced four unique models offering everything from city commuting to highway riding. Now the CSC ES5 has become the fifth electric model offered by CSC (if you don’t count the company’s several electric bicycles).
The ES5 isn’t a slow scooter like CSC’s retro-styled Monterey, yet it isn’t a fast 80 mph (130 km/h) highway bike like the CSC RX1E either.
At 52.8 mph (85 km/h), this electric scooter splits the difference with enough speed to take riders on pretty much any road in the city. Urban highways might be within the question, though interstates aren’t likely to be a fun experience on a 52 mph scooter.
With urban commuter-level speeds, the CSC ES5 is obviously meant for daily commuting and utility riding, not pleasure cruises. But it’s still quite peppy with a 5 kW belt-driving centrally mounted motor. That’s the continuous power, too. The peak power is rated at 8 kW.
And the ride is likely to last for a while too, thanks to a set of three 60V and 31Ah lithium-ion batteries. Together, that means riders get 5.58 kWh of capacity, but divided into batteries small enough to carry inside for charging if you don’t already have a convenient garage charging option (I see you, fellow apartment dwellers!).
CSC says that the scooter’s range at a steady 31 mph (50 km/h) is around 68 miles (110 km). In my experience, CSC generally gives realistic performance figures that are often even slightly lower than what riders actually achieve in real-world conditions. It’s a nice departure from the industry standard of quoting amazing performance specs measured in a vacuum with an 80 lb. rider going full tuck in a spandex body suit.
Now if you’re cruising at the scooter’s 53 mph top speed all the time, you definitely won’t achieve that full 68 miles of range. But since very few cities are 68 miles across, you’ll probably be fine with enough range to last for a few days of riding.
With a pre-order price of US $4,995 and an MSRP of US $5,295 (not including another $410 in dealer fees), the CSC ES5 is quite favorably priced compared to the competition.
The closest comparison is likely the NIU MQi Sport Extended Range. For US $6,199, you’re getting a top speed of 43 mph (70 km/h), a motor power of 3.1 kW and a battery capacity of 4.03 kWh. Or in other words, for 15% more money, the NIU gives you 20% less speed, 28% less battery, and 38% less power.
NIU has a very nice app with excellent smart features such as GPS location, as well as a wider dealer network, but there’s no denying that the CSC ES5 is taking a major shot at the established players with serious bang for your buck.
And that’s before you consider the ES5’s other features, such as keyless start, full-color TFT instrument display, Bluetooth audio player, and built-in dash camera for recording rides (either for posterity or for legal reasons).
There’s even seating for two with a set of pillion pegs and rear grab bars, just in case your pillion happens to be another dude that needs to preserve his masculinity by not holding your waist. I tell my wife it’s safer to hold me, partly because it’s true, and partly because I like the way it feels.
Available in three colorways, the CSC ES5 is currently taking pre-orders with a fully refundable $300 deposit ahead of deliveries expected to begin later this year.
I’m very excited to see CSC’s latest electric addition. This scooter definitely looks better than the CSC Wiz they first marketed in 2019, and it’s got better specs too.
I’m loving that mid-motor and belt drive, especially at this price. I’m not big on blasting tunes while I’m riding, but I’m sure many people will like that Bluetooth speaker.
At nearly $5,500 all-in, it’s still considerably more expensive than a cheap gasoline-powered scooter or moped. But it’s also got major advantages over a gasoline-powered scooter. Electric scooters are much cheaper in the long term, not just due to fuel savings but also with reduced maintenance and repair. You can rack up thousands and thousands of miles with the entirety of your maintenance consisting of checking tire pressure every few weeks. Then there’s the quieter operation, the lack of vibrations or heat coming off a baking engine at red lights in the summer, and of course the environmental impact of not contributing to pumping more emissions into the air. At this point it’s a toss-up about which is the more immediately dangerous part of those emissions, the carcinogens you’re breathing in or the climate changing impact that your kids will have to deal with.
I recently took a vacation trip on a cute little Honda scooter, and it reminded me why I went electric years ago – the ownership experience and ride quality are simply nicer.
So at this price, I think CSC has a compelling new bike on their hands. It may not be as much fun as the RX1E, but it’s more affordable and better suited to city rides. So for many people, this will be the attractive, approachable electric scooter to win them over.
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