UNAGI Model One E500 Review

Brett Heyns
6 May 2021

A sleek, futuristic and premium commuter scooter, that has a top speed of around 20 mph and a range of up to 15.5 miles.

The Unagi model One is a premium electric scooter offering from Unagi, and if the internet is anything to go by, the most premium of electric scooters.

The scooter is packed with top-of-the-line features for your seamless daily urban commute.  It screams elegance at first sight, with a sleek design, glossy frame, stylish display, and attention to detail we have not seen on any other scooter in the market.

The scooter’s elegant look has earned the scooter the moniker “the iPhone of electric scooters,” and the Apple brand needs no introduction. 

Model One E500 The Lowdown…

Unagi has carved a name for itself since it made its entry into the scooter manufacturing world as a start-up in 2018. This renowned reputation results from its top-tier technology and continued efforts to make affordable urban mobility solutions. It might interest you to know that Unagi first raised funds through crowdfunding on Kickstarter, which enabled them to design and release the first premium Model One. 

Unagi’s model is centred around design, artistry, and engineering. As highly evidenced by the Model One line, Unagi offers advanced features and style. The quality build of this scooter is all the selling point it needs, and all models in the Model One line are crafted using heavy-duty aluminium alloy and the same Japanese carbon fibre used by Elon Musk on SpaceX spacecraft- (the Tesla of electric Scooters?) These high-quality materials contribute to a sturdy frame and overall lightweight element critical for portability.

The Model One line comes in three variations; the E250, the E450, and the E500. What’s the difference, you ask? The E250 carries a robust 250 W front-based motor and is generally designed for flat-terrain commutes with its instant max power output of 500 W. The E500 is an upgrade to the dual-motor E450, which was released as a slightly more powerful option. It is distinguished by its dual 250 W motors, outputting an instant max power of 1000 W.

Here is a more detailed look at Unagi Model One E500.

Model One E500 Specifications

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Motor Dual- 250W featuring Sinusoidal Pulse Width Modulation
Battery  Lithium-ion 33.6 V, 9.0 Ah
Charge Time 4-5 hours
Single-Charge Mileage 15.5 miles (25 Km) (Depending on the weight of the rider and environmental factors)
Max Speed 20 mph (32 kph) (Depending on the weight of the rider and environmental factors)
Climbing Range Up to 15 degree inclines
Braking System Electronic brake (Regenerative) E-ABS, rear fender brake
Tyres 7.5 inches Solid rubber tyres with air pockets
Suspension No installed suspension
Lighting 47 lumens, 1.8 W LED front light, rear blinking red LED
Max Load 275 lbs (125 kg)
Scooter Weight 26.5 lbs (12 kg)
Product Material Aluminium, Carbon fibre, and silicon
Horn Type Electric Horn
Size (L x W x H cm)

Unfolded: 96 × 42 × 110

Folded: 96 × 42 × 37.9

Water Resistance IP54 protection against splashes and light rain

 

Unagi Model One E500 Video Review:

The video shows a real-time review of the Unagi Model One E500, and showcases the scooter’s elegant design, a breakdown of performance, and a real-world testimony of the scooter’s high and low points.

Model One E500 Pros

  Strong and durable frame

  Great portability, with a sturdy folding mechanism

  Intelligent battery management system

  The design is sleek and futuristic

  Fast charging time

   IP54 water resistant rating

  Unmatched customer service and support

Model One E500 Cons

  It lacks cruise control

  A bit pricey for its range of specs

  No suspension means it’s not ideal for rough roads

  The range of 15.5 miles is a bit low for a realistic commute

 

Model One E500 Summary

Unagi boasts a rigorous manufacturing process that ensures the delivery of quality products that are safety-centric, stylish, durable, reliable, and high-performance. Every part of the Model One is designed with a precision that guarantees the structural integrity of the scooter. The Unagi Model One E500 is currently the most elegant looking scooter in the market, and we challenge you to show us a better looking e-scooter. The E500 is available in 4 elegant colours of Matte Black, Scarlet Fire Red, Sea Salt White, and Cosmic Blue.

The Model One E500 utilizes high-end materials to keep the scooter compact and reduce maintenance needs. The scooter’s design delivers a well-thought-out exterior with no overly exposed wires and a centralized control display in the cockpit. Unagi chose a magnesium alloy in crafting the stylish handlebars. They claim that the handlebar required more than thirty prototypes to achieve that level of perfection currently featured on this world-class scooter.

The frame is made of aluminium. Both Aluminium and magnesium are lightweight, which is an essential aspect of scooter portability. The Unagi stem has the TORAY carbon fibre to create a balance of heavy-duty strength and lightweight. It also has a button that allows you to fold it easily. The unit weighs 26.5 lbs (12 kg), accentuating the scooter’s portability.

The scooter has a top speed of 20 mph (a hidden manufacturer’s setting that needs to be unlocked), and while this does not make it the fastest scooter, it is decent, especially in urban terrain. The scooter runs on dual 250 rear and front hubs motors. The combined output is sufficient to carry a maximum rider weight of 275 lbs (125kgs). The Model One is fitted with a single 33.6V, 9.0Ah lithium battery with enough juice for an impressive 15.5 miles (25 Km) range. The battery takes 4-5 hours to charge fully. For the brakes, Unagi went with an electronic regenerative braking system and a rear fender brake.

The Model One has 7.5-inch solid rubber tyres. Solid tyres don’t usually offer the same comfort as pneumatic tyres, and that is why the rubber tyres on this scooter have holes cut in them to provide some sort of cushioning on bumpy terrain. This is important, considering the scooter lacks suspension. Additionally, it rocks a spacious silicon-covered deck that further adds to the ride’s comfort.

The lean dashboard comes with an LED headlight, brakes, throttle, and horn. The horn on this scooter is loud enough to alert other road users of your presence. The 47-Lumen front light is small but efficient. Overall the Model One is a fantastic scooter with many offerings for urban commuters who want a combination of style, portability, and performance.

 

Performance Overview: 

The Unagi Model One E500 performs outstandingly well in eliminating lags when accelerating. Performance tests on the scooter show it takes 4.4 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 14.9mph. This is significantly faster than most of the 12 kg scooters in the market currently. The Model One E500 is electronically limited to a top speed of approximately 17 mph. The scooter has three power modes catering to beginners, intermediate and professional users. 

Unagi is a beast performer when it comes to climbing hills thanks to the dual motors, which provide ample torque (32 N.m of torque power) to tackle an inclination of up to 15 degrees. The scooter can climb hills at a speed of 10.9mph or in 12.5 seconds which is quicker than many scooters in its range. 

 The manufacturer claims that the scooter has a braking distance of 13 feet (396 cm) on a dry road. However, real-world tests show that the dual electronic brakes have a braking distance of 800 cm – quite suitable for electronic brakes. Additionally, when combined with the rear foot brake, the braking distance reduces to 510 cm.

The Unagi Model One E500 claims a range of about 16miles under ideal conditions when it comes to range. However, tests in realistic urban conditions, including hills and stops, show the range is only about 8.5miles if constantly riding at the top speed of 16 mph.

Unagi Model One E500 standing up main image

Top Speed & Acceleration

The Model One E500 has a top speed of 17mph which is a bit low for a scooter in its price range. Unagi, however, has a setting to alter the top speed that unlocks an even higher top speed of 20 mph (32vkm/h) mode. The scooter also has three riding modes with different top speeds and acceleration. The Eco mode ranges between 9-11 mph (14.5-17.7 km/h), Standard 11-13 mph (17.7-20.9 km/h) while Professional ranges between 15-17 mph ( 24.1-27.4 km/h.)

The scooter accelerates smoothly, clocking 14.9 mph in 4.4 seconds- that’s impressive.

Hill Climbing

The Model One E500 is equipped for hill climbing, and average grade hills should pose no challenge. The dual motors produce a high torque of 32 N.m with an instant maximum power of up to 1000 W. The immense amount of torque pushes the scooter through hills of a maximum incline of 15 degrees. 

Picture of the front wheel of the Unagi Model One E500 electric scooter

Battery Life & Range

Like many other parts of this scooter, the Unagi Model One’s lithium-ion battery is customised by Sony, which speaks to its higher energy density and low charging time. The battery is a high-quality 33.6 V, 9.0 Ah lithium-ion that provides a range of 15.5 miles (25 km) on a single charge.

Lithium-ion batteries are reliable, and they have higher rated charge cycles than other types of batteries. The Model One has an innovative Intelligent Battery Management System that ensures the battery is safeguarded against potential risks when charging and in use. The battery is fully charged within 4-5 hours, which is pretty standard for many scooters today. A small LED light on the charging brick will change from red to green to signify a full charge on the scooter. 

 

Motor Configuration

The Unagi Model One is propelled by a twin 250W rear and front hub motor, with a hub encasing to protect the motors from elements such as dust and water.

With a motor control method known as Sinusoidal Pulse Width Modulation (SPWM). The motors output an instant maximum power of 1000W and maximum torque of 32 N.m. 

Construction & Build Quality

The Unagi Model One E500 has a clean and futuristic design. It is superbly built from advanced materials using top-tier tech and robust engineering. The scooter is crafted using aluminium and carbon fibre, both of which are heavy-duty and lightweight. The stem tube is fabricated using TORAY carbon fibre, the same material used by Elon Musk in his Space-X rockets. The scooter has lean handlebars built from magnesium alloy, which is 33% lighter than aluminium. This partially contributes to why the scooter is the most portable on the market currently. The silicon-covered handlebars have a futuristic embedded command centre with a throttle, brake, horn, LED headlights, and no visible wires. 

The scooter has a five-inch deck constructed from Aluminium, and the top is covered with silicon to offer better traction for the rider’s feet. The deck though not spacious, is brilliantly made with no visible joints, seams, stitches, bulkiness,  sandpaper grips, and poor finishing usual with standard scooters. The battery is housed under the deck but is barely visible, with no protrusion. Additionally, the four paint coatings give the scooter a luxurious finish, and with the laminate and high-abrasion resistant paint, the scooter is protected from wear & tear, and even more so, rust.

The scooter’s wheels are made of solid rubber, with air pockets spread throughout the wheel’s circumference. The kickstand on this scooter is almost invisible as it is integrated with the deck. It is built using aluminium to match with the rest of the scooter. This unit also has both rear and front fenders to protect the scooter and rider from dirt. 

 

The side view of the Unagi Model One E500 electric scooter

Deck

The Unagi Model One has a 5-inch expansive deck. This provides ample space for most riders, including those with large feet. But the limited deck space does not draw away the ingenuity and engineering used in crafting and quality.

The deck is made of a single well-cut aluminium piece and embedded with silicon. The silicon provides the feet with enough grip for a safe ride. Overall the deck offers rigidity and great rider comfort. 

 

Tyres

The Model One E500 has 7.5″ wheels made of solid rubber, making them puncture-proof. The wheels have air pockets throughout the circumference which act as a front and rear suspension.

The manufacturer intended for this design to provide shock absorption even for rough roads, but pneumatic tyres would perform better on this front.

Suspension

The E500 is not fitted with a suspension system in this model, and instead has rubber tyres with air pockets to absorb the bumps and judders that commuters would normally experience on their daily ride. 

 

Braking

The Unagi Model One has one of the most efficient electronic brakes with incredibly high braking power and a highly rated regenerative function. The dual electronic brakes are rear and front located and are also complemented by a rear fender footbrake to optimize the scooter’s braking power.

The electronic brakes require no maintenance, but they do require power to function. The rear fender footbrake is a well-thought safety precaution just in case the scooter powers off and the riders needs a manual override to come to a complete stop. Overall the brakes perform well, even at top speeds.

A picture of the rear wheel of the Unagi Model One E500 electric scooter

Ride Quality

The deck is comfortable, thanks to the ingrained silicon padding for extra grip when riding. The scooter has silicon handle grips as well, for a comfortable grip even through bumpy terrain. The stem is surprisingly stable for a foldable scooter and doesn’t wobble. 

Low light riding is sufficiently catered for in this scooter, with a front LED headlight that is bright and illuminates the riding path very well, a red LED tail light for trailing traffic, side reflectors, and a loud digital horn.

The 7.5’’ solid tyres with air pockets serve the function of absorbing shock in the absence of a dedicated suspension system.  Additionally, it has electronic brakes, and a silicon-padded (for added grip)rear fender footbrake whose precise stopping power allows riders to cruise at the highest speeds without worry of compromises stopping.

Daily commuters rate this electric scooter very highly in terms of its rider comfort and stability 

 

Lights

The Model One E500 has two forward-facing 47 Lumen LEDs that provide a brilliant forward light that burns at 1.8 watts, while the rear-facing blinking LED provides enough light for trailing traffic. The scooter also has several reflectors on the sides, so riders can be assured of other road users and commuters noticing them.

A picture of the controls of the Unagi Model One E500 electric scooter

Controls & Display

The Unagi E500 scooter features a unique and futuristic display, while the refined handlebars complete the stylish look. The handlebars are built using a magnesium alloy, and the intuitive command centre sits in the middle of the handlebars. The integrated command centre is essential as it relays essential information as speed, dual or single motor status, battery status, and mileage. The display is great quality and can easily be read even in the bright sun. The power button is located below the command centre.

The handlebars have a rubberized switch button to select the different riding modes above the right handlebar. The throttle is placed on the right handlebar, while the electric brake is on the left handlebar. The horn button is on the left handlebar above the brake.

 

Portability

The Unagi Model One is among the lightest adult electric scooters at 26lbs (12 kg) thanks to the carbon fibre stem, aluminium frame, and magnesium handlebars, that help reduce its weight without compromising on build quality.

The lightweight property of this scooter makes it effortless to carry up the stairs, into the house, office, bus, or train. The Unagi Model One E500 has a button and a patented stainless hinge system that folds and locks in a click. The mechanism is limited to the Model One series.

A picture of the Unagi Model One E500 e-scooter, folded up

Water Resistance

The Unagi Model One E500 e-scooter has a water-resistant rating of IP54, and with this rating, this scooter can withstand water spray from any direction, as well as not suffer from dust ingress malfunction.

This is a fantastic feature, especially for commuters living and working in cities that regularly have rain. The E500 can survive through a couple of splashes and riding in light rain, but it cannot manage getting soaked from heavy rain or being submerged in water.

 

Reliability, Warranty & Customer Support

The Unagi is brilliantly built using high-end material for durability, portability, and reliability. The dual 250W motors can propel the scooter through all manner of terrain- though with a preference for urban terrain. The Sony customized lithium battery is reliable and efficient, with longer battery life and a decent mileage on a single charge.

The electric braking system backed up by a rear fender footbrake ensures the scooter will instantly stop when required, even at the highest speed. The super bright LED headlight, tail light, and reflectors make it possible to travel in style both day and night. The Unagi Model One is a visually appealing scooter with innovative features to boot.

Unagi offers some of the best customer service and support in the world, and the E500 typically comes with a one-year warranty in most countries, which guarantees you repair at the manufacturer’s discretion. If the damage comes within the first three months, Unagi sends you a replacement scooter. The warranty, like most scooter companies, is extended to the first owner alone. It does not cover wear and tear, damage from misuse (off-road use and water damage).

Customer support can be reached through a toll number and contact form on their website. Their quick response time has received a lot of praise from their customers.

 

A top view of the Unagi Model One E500 electric scooter

Maintenance

The E500 is basically maintenance free, but riders are urged to regularly check for loose bolts, fittings or mountings. The battery should be charged as recommended by the manufacturer, and riders are also urged to read the manual which highlights areas that they should focus on to perform self maintenance.

As always after riding, care should be taken to wipe down the e-scooter with a damp cloth, and then thoroughly dry afterwards.

 

Known Issues

Users have reported that the scooter failed to reach the manufacturer’s quoted range of 15.5 miles, but generally that seems to be a case of enjoying the ride at full throttle all the time.

Also – and in extremely rare cases – riders have reported that the scooter will just lose power during a ride. This issue was well taken care of by Unagi, with them even covering the complete shipping cost to get the repaired e-scooter back to the rider.

 

A photo of the Unagi Model One E500 electric scooter with its lights on

Is this Electric Scooter value for money, and is it worth buying?

Definitely! The Model One E500 is a stylish, high-powered, and reliable means of transport for your daily commute. If aesthetics is your thing, this scooter will most definitely get you noticed.

Released as an alternative to the E450, this model delivers value for every cent you spend. It packs essential features like a reliable battery, zero maintenance tyres, effective brakes with superior braking power, and bright lighting to optimize your commute.

While the price may be a bit steep for some, this electric scooter has everything you may be looking for. Are you torn between the single and dual motor versions? We will tell you that the extra money you spend acquiring the E500 over the E250 is well worth the additional expense. 

Accessories and Upgrades

  • Helmet
  • Knee pads
  • Extra charger

Other Similar Electric Scooters

an image of Ben FLynn's avatar

Author:
Ben FLynn

BIO: 

A guy that goes crazy over anything electric on wheels, and brought on by his love for environmental conservation, Ben is an avid campaigner of sustainable transport as a way of reducing our carbon footprint.

He believes that scooters are all the rave, but before we can each afford a Tesla that is.

Ben wants to share some thoughts from his years of experience in riding, maintenance, and most importantly, in choosing the right scooter.

Summary
  • Strong and durable frame
  • Great portability, with a sturdy folding mechanism
  • Intelligent battery management system
  • The design is sleek and futuristic
  • Fast charging time
  • IP54 water resistant rating
  • Unmatched customer service and support
  • It lacks cruise control
  • A bit pricey for its range of specs
  • No suspension means it’s not ideal for rough roads
  • The range of 15.5 miles is a bit low for a realistic commute
3.9
Overall
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Quality
Design

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