Electric scooters are basically a dime a dozen these days. But few companies have been able to scoop up all the things that people like about them — solid range, fun to ride, smart features — and put them all together in a well-built package like California company Ojo Electric.
The Ojo Electric scooter has a bountiful 25 miles of range, which can be doubled with an add-on battery pack. It has a top speed of around 20 miles per hour and is properly quick in the highest performance setting. A suspension system on both wheels and a rigid aluminum unibody structure keeps the ride smooth and stable. I was able to take some pretty sharp corners on it without ever feeling like I was in danger of toppling over.
There’s a touchscreen in the dashboard, Bluetooth connectivity (for playing music through two embedded speakers), and a built-in power cord that plugs right into a standard wall outlet. That means no lugging around a power brick or extra cords. Charging from empty takes about five hours. All this costs a little over $2,000.
This fusillade of features is likely what drew Ford into the mix. As Ojo Electric president Dale Seiden explains it, the company was at a trade show when it struck up a conversation with Ford about licensing. The two struck a global deal that means Ojo will gain the kind of recognition that should help it stand out in a brutally crowded field, while Ford gets to add another smart, sharp vehicle to its armada of mobility solutions.
“When you have a brand that people know, you get reach. It’s instant wow,” Seiden says. “When they see Ford? It’s like wow. I’ve got to check this thing out. Ojo Electric? Not too many people knew the brand.”
This doesn’t mean that, if something breaks on your Ojo scooter, that you’ll be able to bring it to a Ford dealership to get it fixed. The deal is in name and trademark only.
The Ojo scooter is unique in the way that it blurs the line between two very different types of scooter. It’s not quite as powerful or dynamic as something like the Gogoro, though the upside is you can drive the Ojo without a license. And it easily outclasses more portable stand-up electric scooters, though they are typically less expensive. It would make just as much sense as a personal vehicle as it would serving in a fleet at a resort or on a campus.
Touches like the onboard charger, or how the frame design makes the scooter easy to ride while sitting or standing, are out-of-the-box ideas that feel extra refreshing at a show like CES where a seemingly endless amount of companies wind up bringing the same thing to the table.
Seiden, who rolled up to our hotel with the scooter’s speakers blasting Bob Marley tunes, says that the current scooter is only the beginning. A followup with Ford’s name is in the works.
“We are developing a foldable that’s going to set the world on its butts when they see what we’re coming out with,” he says. “It’s so beyond everything else.”