The Covid pandemic has meant that many of us are now looking at alternatives to public transport, especially for short journeys. Electric scooters are particularly popular because they’re generally easier to sling in the back of a car or carry on your shoulder than a push bike or electric bike.
The legality of riding electric scooters depends on your location. In the UK, where Halfords is based, it's currently illegal to ride an electric scooter in public unless it's part of a licensed hire scheme. Halfords is selling the Carrera Impel is-1 e-scooter for ‘riding on private land’.
It’s a very good model indeed. Not the smallest or cheapest, but exceptionally well made and great for whizzing around on.
Using the LED control screen in the centre of the e-scooter, you can choose four different speed levels (rather like gears on a bike), with level four reaching speeds up to 15.5 miles per hour.
Just one slight niggle. It may offer good performance, but the Carrera Impel is-1 is not the lightest. The scooter tips the scales at 17kg (more than many e-bikes) so many people will struggle to carry this e-scooter long distances when folded up, though it can always be wheeled around in pedestrian mode as an alternative.
Price and release date
The Carrera Impel is-1 was released in February 2021, and costs £399 (about $550 / AU$700). At the time of writing, it's only available in Halfords stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
Everything about this e-scooter feels solid and well designed. Mostly made of metal, it comes with a large footboard for standing on. The two pneumatic tyres are like miniature bike tyres, complete with decent tread, while the two front and rear brakes on the handlebars are extremely effective at slowing you down when you come to junctions.
A powerful headlight and brake light are provided as well as side reflectors to ensure that you can be seen in the dark and there’s even space for a number plate at the back of the e-scooter should one be required in future.
For carrying, the solid upright stem can be folded down and hooked up to the rear mudguard, while at the bottom of the stem is a built-in anti-theft device in the form of a steel cable that can be locked with a numerical code. This is quite a low security lock though – really intended only as a visual deterrent.
A display at the centre of the handlebars shows the level you are on, the speed (in miles per hour), as well as headlight and battery level indicators. Charging is carried out using the AC adaptor provided which plugs into the base of the footboard and takes around four hours.
On the left handlebar are controls for switching the e-scooter on and + and - buttons for moving through the levels. On the right is the throttle lever for acceleration which twists towards you for greater speed.
If your last memory of a scooter was wheeling one around the Primary school playground then you’re in for a shock. The Carrera impel is-1 is much more like an e-bike than a standard non-powered scooter and requires a bit of practice before you can feel truly comfortable.
Once charged, you need to switch the power on and enter a three-digit passcode using the + and – buttons (it’s actually a bit of a fiddly process). You then need to wheel the e-scooter along the road for a few metres before engaging the throttle to get it started.
Give it too much throttle and the front wheel can lift up and take off, too little and it won’t start. It takes a little bit of practice to get it right, but after a while you’ll be an expert.
Although four levels are provided, the reality is that most of the time I found myself zooming around in level four – at speeds of up to 15.5mph (at one point we looked down at the speedometer which showed 16.6mph going downhill). Although brakes are extremely responsive, in most instances you can slow down just by easing off the throttle and going down through the gears.
On really steep hills getting the e-scooter above 5-6mph can be difficult despite the powerful motor, but averaging around 12mph feels quite comfortable.
As with riding a bike, you need to be careful to avoid pot holes especially at high speeds, but most of the time wee found riding the e-scooter surprisingly comfortable even going over a recently resurfaced road.
The tires may be fairly small but they are pneumatic and, like everything about this e-scooter, good quality. Although the e-scooter has an IPX5 water resistance rating, it’s probably best not to use in really heavy rain. Of course, it goes without saying you should always wear a helmet just in case you come off.
Finally, fully charging the Carrera Impel is-1 for three to four hours provides a typical range of 20Km (12.4m) range. Not an amazingly long distance but long enough for around 1.5 hours of scooting round. All in all, the Carrera e-scooter is great fun.
First reviewed March 2021
Buy it if
You have lots of private land
This well-made and solid e-scooter is ideal if you have a large property with a big driveway.
You want to have fun
Powerful and well built, the Carrera Impel is-1 is great for racing your friends (on private land of, course).
You don’t have space for an e-bike in your car
While this isn’t the most portable of scooters, it can still be folded away much more easily than most bikes
Don't buy it if
You want to use it for commuting in the UK
At present, it’s still illegal to use private scooters on the road or pavement in the UK, though hopefully this will change very soon
You're looking for something lightweight
The Carrera Impel is-1 is a bit of a beast, tipping the scales at 17kg.
You're of a nervous disposition
Although e-scooters are safe when ridden carefully, they're not for everyone. You can feel quite vulnerable on one, especially at night or at high speeds.
- On a budget? Check out our roundup of the best cheap electric scooters