Electric Vehicles
Date: 24/6/2005
You'd think that in this day and age that the government would be falling over themselves to make it easy for the population to travel in a manner that gets cars off the road, doesn't pollute and is cheap to buy and maintain.

But no they legislate it onto the side lines.

I'm talking about electric scooters in Australia. The situation is that any electric powered vehicle, be it scooter or bike, is limited to 200w total power output or it has to be registered as a motor vehicle and be complied to the Australia Design Rules. Which is impossible for many imported powered scooters, as they don't have things like turning indicators, the right type of brakes or head lights. The 200w power limit really limits the class of vehicle to toys for kids. An adult riding a 200w scooter is going to get stuck on the first hill that presents itself.

Ideally these vehicles would be classified in the same class as bicycles because of the similarity of their performance envelopes. i.e. their top speed and cruising speeds are quite similar, as is their stopping distance and turning circle. So why not make the same rules and privileges apply?

Overseas the power limits for electric scooters vary between 250w (EU), 500w (Canada) and 750w (US). For the average adult to effectively negotiate terrain at least a 500w motor would be needed. Which brings us to the question 'Why would as adult want to ride a powered scooter anyway?'

We have been hearing for years about how the use of fossil fuels is putting a hole in the ozone layer and causing global warming let alone the clouds of smog over our cities! And the introduction of electric (or zero emissions) vehicles has long been held as a good step in the right direction in solving the reliance on fossil fuels. So what electric vehicle options are there for the discerning vehicle buyer? Certainly not an electric car, that's for sure. The next best thing is a hybrid car but to be honest they have yet to deliver on either value or efficiency. For instance the Honda Jazz (5.8lt/100km city) is pretty close to the Toyota Prius (4.4lt/100km city) and yet costs half as much. A motor bike is pretty hazardous on the hostile roads of Sydney where I live. It's merely a matter of time before someone side swipes you and end spend 6 months in hospital. No thanks.

That leaves the only real competitor to the powered scooter being the trusty old bicycle. There are a number of important distinctions between the 2 classes of vehicles, firstly and most importantly is that a powered scooter folds away for travel on public transport vastly increasing the range of destinations reachable via scooter. And in electric form they fold more compactly as well as not having the smell or danger of fuel along for the ride. Something that you can't do easily with a bike especially on a bus! The other consideration is that any non trivial distance ridden on a bike causes a good deal of sweat which makes there use for commuting to work less pleasant, maybe requiring you to shower at your destination.

I can understand the resistance to having petrol powered scooters on the roads and cycleways. They are completely too noisy for suburbia, in fact they are the single loudest vehicle on the road. And as a father with young children that get woken by petrol scooters I can vouch for their volume. If a reasonable volume level could be achieved then they could offer some of the same benefits as electric scooters, but not until then.

So what I'd like to see is a raising of the power limit for electric scooters to at least 500w, maybe more, say in line with the US and the limiting of noise levels produced by petrol scooters. To allow older people the option of using scooters for short commutes to work and shops. It gets another car off the road and that is a win for traffic and for the pollution situation. The same rules and regulations that apply to bicycles should apply, ie. you need to wear a helmet, use the road, not the footpath (unless your 12 or younger), use bike lights at night and you obey the road rules. And you get treated as a valid road user in return.

If there are any serious holes in my idea I'd like to hear about them. As I have presented this to my local Member of Parliament, who happens to also be the Minister for Transport. And if I go into bat on the issue knowing both sides of the story would be helpful to allow me to present a level headed argument. Currently I don't see any gaping holes in what I propose.

Also I'm thinking of starting a petition to have the 200w limit raised in light of the above arguments. If you would like to show support you can write a comment on this entry.
An fairly high end example scooter from the US is the Go-Ped ESR750 available in Australia for A$1495. Which is very affordable considering the cost of buying and running a motorbike or car.

Update: I've got a letter from the Minister of Transport explaining their position.

Update2: Marty pointed out in a comment below that the RTA have banned all "stand on" motor scooters regardless of power output, see their page decribing the rules, with line drawings of various types. After all this time I still thought the 200w scooters were legal, and now this.
19/07/2005 4:34am
I am totally agree with you. I do not have a scooter yet but planning to get one. It's much better and easier to cuise around with it in the city. I would say that 200W is too small of a power for adults, 500W most probably much better options. Hopefully the regulations will be change to incorporate a 500W scooter into the bicycle category.

Paul Bentley      Syd.OZ
12/08/2005 1:20pm
yes email me im a scooter user . i have 2 scoots 1 500w and ride to tech 3 times a week. the law sux 200w is not even kid stuff. My father knows John Brogden personally and politically. Why are all the good scooter sites blocked mmm oil companies perhaps, you have to google off shore to get on them.hope 2 here from u soon

08/09/2005 8:07am
i'm just about to embark on designing a very simple 2 person + small grocery shop & hopefully some regenerative breaking run about based on pushbike style drive train.

the idea that i'm legally limited to 200watts is absurd and over my dead body will i let the government stop me using a more suitable little motor just because they lose money from loss of fuel savings...

don't they work for us anyway?
27/09/2005 5:12am
27/09/2005 5:21am
The only response I've received from the Minister is that they have received my letter and it's been passed on to the relevant party. No actual comment has been made one way or the other.

I expect that M.P.s simply don't really care about this sort of thing and the RTA just sees it as a big risk zone, i.e. that if they let people do anything new it'll eventually involve people getting hurt and they want to avoid the following storm in a teacup created by the media lemmings.


If the fine wasn't so steep I'd just ride one anyway... but it's like $700 or something. And with petrol prices these days I'm thinking about selling my car.
03/11/2005 3:08am
I have been seaching for weeks for a electric scooter and as you have stated 200w scooters listed as toys are not going to make it up hills.

I actually just came across this article,5936,17070848%255E2682,00.html

which states this particular scooter requires the rider to hold a drivers licence, so i can only assume it's power is more than 200w.


This site states the EVT 4000e has 1500w check it out here

If you have any more info on the government regulations please email me

21/11/2005 8:19am
Im planning to get an electric scooter but they are not strong enuf. i think that we should be limited to 750watt like US( the 200watt ones run fo like, 45MINS!) the 750 watts run for 3.5 hours!
25/11/2005 4:50am
I've recently purchased a 500w scooter. I use it to commute to work. I take the back roads and as of yet have not had any run-ins with the law. Can anyone clarify exactly how the law treats electic-scooter users? I do use pavements but I'm am very careful and always try to use back-routes and ALWAYS give way to predestrians even if it means stopping and pushing. I think it's an awsesome way to get to work, no way I'd take a bike or a Motorbike on the roads, way too dangerous with Sydney drivers...

Please email me if you can point me to any good reading on laws etc.


Ben Steel
28/11/2005 1:14pm
I ride my 500 watt scooter to get to and from the bus stop when I'm going anywhere. I have modified my scooter to have a 200 watt mode and a 500 watt mode with a flick of a switch on the handle bar. I even carry a multi-meter with me so that if the police stop me they can test the scooter.

There is no Law that sais you can't have a (governer) on the scooter to limit the motor, just that it can't produce more than 200 watts.

The modification is great because it makes me use less battery than in 500 watt mode.

I am in the process of making a scooter with a 200 watt motor on the front which is used on the flat. And a 500 watt motor on the back that is geared to get me up the hills. motors will be able to run at the same time or individually with the flick of a switch.

I am about to start a forum on my website so please feel free to join the chat.

09/12/2005 7:07am
I have a 600 watt scooter (Vego 600SX) that I use most days for travelling to work and back in the city (Prospect to Adelaide - 15km round trip). It's saving me about $100 a week in petrol and carparking.

I was stopped by the police the other day (I think they were more curious than anything else), and while they told me that it was technically illegal, they said they were travelling in the opposite direction to me....(implying that once out of sight they could literally turn a blind eye), they were really nice about it atcually. They also think it's madness that it's illegal and encouraged me to seek an exemption for commuting to work on it.

They agreed that it was no different to a bicycle on the road, and noted that I was wearing a helmet, had lights and a bell, and was obeying the road rules. My route to work is mostly bike lanes anyway, so safety is not really an issue for me.

I have a bike, but this gets me in town without needing to shower before meetings...

I will investigate the exemption or permit option and let you know how I go. It's about time Australian law caught up with the times!

18/12/2005 7:06am
i can see the point you are making and totally agree you should be able to ride any type of scooter as long as it stays under a certain noise eg 60 dba
28/12/2005 2:30am
I'm interested in all comments about electric scooter use in Australia.
I'm currently in China and when I first arrived the lack of noise, despite traffic, was perplexing, then I realised that it was because the scooters were electric. Very smart! I'd like to import one to Australia to travel the short, but hilly, distance between my home and university. I'm thinking that if I was to import a 500w machine, it would be legal to ride it if I registered it (providing it was registerable with indicators, front lights, and decent brakes) and then get myself a bike licence. Has anyone gone down this track with their electric scooter?
05/01/2006 3:18am
I am thinking of getting a Go-ped ESR750- I live at the bottom of a BIG hill and need the power to get up this hill. I would fold up the scooter and take it on the train into the city.

My thinking is that if you ride responsibly, and push the scooter on busy city streets, your chances of getting busted are minimal....? (It is is different story if you ride a noisy petrol scooter and don't respect pedestrians.

How many of you guys live in Sydney ? Don't the cops here have better things to do ?
How much is the fine if a nasty cop decides to book you ??

05/01/2006 4:14am
Andrew: The fine is about $817... give or take a bit. Standard fair for "driving an unregistered vehicle". Pretty insane I know, but I've heard of guys getting done.

Your best defense is claiming the output is sub 200w and making sure your scooter doesn't have anything incriminating on it, e.g. a big sticker on the side saying "750w!!!". Obviously if your doing 40kph down the footpath... it's not going to matter, they'll do you anyway ;)

I can't afford the fine so I'm buying a push bike for the moment. Till pigs fly and they change the allowable power rating.
05/01/2006 7:15am
I read in a local Newcastle paper that a woman was fined almost 1300.00 for riding a scooter 250 watt on the road .
05/01/2006 7:27am
Did any of you guys read that all power vehicles scooters , even those for three years are not allowed on the footpaths but must be used on private property in NSW.

Im sure i have the article on my pc ,so if n e 1 wants a copy email me.

05/01/2006 7:36am
That fine in newcastle:

Owner to fight $1300 fine for powering along on road Scooter law ruffles rider
A WOMAN who was fined $1314 for riding her motorised scooter on the road said she had thought powered scooters were subject to the same road rules as powered pushbikes.
Newcastle Herald 01/11/2004

Thats all I could dig up.

The article costs $2.20... more than the whole paper... haha. ha. ha.
08/02/2006 6:17am
I was just got a 200 watt scooter that I was going to commute to work on. Like everyone else here I was livid about the RTA's regulations on it. Ofcourse this won't stop my from doing the back-street method ;)

Here is the link to the RTA page concerning electric scooters.
20/02/2006 4:50am
I've updated my followup post with information about the phone call I had with Chris from the RTA. Interestingly he let slip that there is a scooter working group within the bowel of the government. Which I suspect might provide actual results if we as a community lobbied correctly.
20/02/2006 8:20am
This is ridiculous. Here I am thinking as soon as I turn 16 I can get a 45kph electric scooter and get around town silently and save money on petrol! But nooo. Oh btw I emailed queensland transport last year about electric scooters in qld and the rule is pretty much exactly what u thought it was. Footpaths power off, over 16yrs of age, 200w or less, Only allowed motorised on back roads in the neighbourhood. Thats absolutely shit! 200w scooters are crappy pieces of plastic for kids!

I totally agree with you, scooters should have the same rights (if not more for being smaller) as a bike... I am quite against the footpath rule.. Living in the smallish town of Gladstone not many people walk around town on footpaths. Wouldn't it be best if we did exactly what bikes do? And thats go at a fast (but not too fast) steady speed however if people are nearby slow down (turn off) and be extra careful around them. Damn government, its done nothing for me.

matt power
24/07/2006 6:05am
yer the law on this is ridiculous. i was 15 at the time and i bought a 43cc scooter from an importer and was told by both him and the queensland transport department that there lega if they are under 50cc. Then a pain in the ass copper pulled me over for riding it on the foot path and around 20 klm's an hour and charged me for it. i got done for drivng unlicensed, drivng an unregistered vehicle, a defective vehicle and driving insured. what balls does the f***ing cops have to do that too a 15 year old boy driving a scooter on the footpath, im not hurting anybody and they f***ing take you down to the station for 4 hours to process you as a criminal and sh*t. luckily i got off with a warning and a good behavior bond untill i was 16. i escaped a 1500 dollar fine. and if i were over 16 id have gone to court and have had a criminal record for the rest of my life.

scooters like that are great, they only drinking about 4 litres of fuel per 90 klms and are a great no fuss way for people not old enough to get a license to get around. greatest and most logical thing i ever bought and the cops are there to f***en ruin it.

Used Car Parts
10/10/2006 7:52am
From James at Used Car Parts
Watched a very interesting review on the G Wiz electric car last night. Tim Lovejoy from Channel 5’s Fifth Gear took to the streets of London to see if the £7,000 G Wiz was a practical enough vehicle. He found it wasn’t much use for taking the kids to school as it was a little on the small side for the children in the back but was adequate enough to get him self and his golf clubs in, so not too bad I suppose.

It is reckoned that the £7,000 price tag for the car will pay for its self within 1 year due to the car being exempt from the congestion charge, road tax, and can be parked for free in central London. The top speed of the car is just 40 mph and can travel for 40 miles on a single charge. In my eyes this is perfected for anyone living in the central of London.
Car Parts
22/10/2006 7:33am
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20/01/2007 11:20am
Yes, oil has exceeded $100 per barrel, and the higher it goes, the more our government love it. More $$$$ for Jonnys pocket!! and less chance for electric vehicals to get the tick of approval.
Long live the electric scooter!!!!!!!
Benny Boy Brice
22/05/2007 3:20am
I'm pretty much with you all. I live in Newcastle NSW and I'd like to sign a petition and get others to do it as well in and around here. What's the best appraoch to talking about the issue with local politicians? Also, how do you go about "exemptions" for EVs above 200 watts??

I own a 180watt electric bike, which is a bit of a novelty, though quite good on the flats. But up any hill over an angle of 10 degrees, its better to pedal my Schwinn road bike or even my crappy old mountain bike, because it weighs nearly 50 kg.

I also purchased an 800 watt electric skateboard, which I modified for a competition here in Newcastle called the Fernleigh Track Challenge (for EVs). It looks like a white and silver rocket cross bobsled, and has an aerodynamic design (though its really only for looks as it only gets up to about 45km/h on the flat. It uses plywood and dressing timber for the chassis. It has the correct power, I believe, for reasonable hills and around town power. I just took my mums year two class for rides in it today and they were brimming with exitement and full of questions. Next, I'm taking out the motor, batteries and remote speed and brake controller and using it on a standard pnuematic push scooter, which should get me to uni on the bike paths quite well (including the enormously steep and long hill on the way back).

My older brother is a policeman (highway patrol) and one of his senior colleagues is totally against the 200 watt scooters and wants to make them totally illegal. My brother himself had a ball with my dads 250 watt scooter (no pedals) and my electric bike, so he might be more lenient. Either way, it's extremely unsafe to ride an underpowered EV, especially with it being required to have working predals, on the road in Newcastle. I should know because I commute on my road bike and have come across some pretty hairy situations. I gave up motorbike riding not long ago, because I don't want to rish the 30x* more unsafe than being in a car risk when travelling either.

What's the best way forward guys and gals? Politics, public opinion?
Ps I am very much for staying out of the way for pedestrians and cyclists and the like, especially when our public repuation as EV drivers is at stake. Good on everyone for being on the lookout! :)

Ben, 24
28/05/2007 6:05am
hey ben

Very interesting post there, was wondering if u could ask your highway patrol brother something for me.

If someone were to use their UK licence when pulled over for RBT or whatever, is there a check on how long they have been in Australia ?
Its just I know we get three months but am feeling a bit too lazy to go to the RTA for the transfer on the dot. has anyone on here had issues with foreign licences, i was also thinking (to get back on topic) it might be a handy way around the long waiting period for a scooter/motorbike licence?!
Ok so its all a bit cheeky but if the cops are not playing fair either with these heavy handed RTA codes then we are obliged to find the loopholes.

05/07/2007 11:14am
i got a rad2go great white 800w stuff the law what a croc.this baby does 51 kph before you say no it doesnt think again i got gps tested with my gps and mates cause he couldnt belive it. says when got it does 41 kph got me i got it 2nd hand flys. email me all info on queensland law please regards
07/08/2007 11:26am
Yes I fully agree. 200watts are nothing. I say around 500watts, and over 500watts to say upto 1000 watts a car license should be sufficient. You can allways put a speed limit on. But 200watts won't take you up any hills. Take countries like Denmark 5 million people but 10 million bikes. Bike track everywhere. of course there have to be road rules for bikes. But listen here you can't even get them at the Police station. What a joke. Wake up we have to stop all that polution. So yes lets get started that petition. Put my name on top.
04/04/2008 3:38am
200 watts is a joke, I agree with aage, up to 1000 watts, a car license and no registration fees is the way to go in this ever increasing struggle against pollution-------listen in Peter Garrett !!
Ben Steel
04/04/2008 3:51am
1000w is nothing pay the $200 rego a year and get a bike license

Available in Australia NOW

EVT Electric Scooter:
Model 168

Dimensions (LWH):
1652 x 830 x 1090 mm
Wheelbase: 1215 mm
Weight (Incl. Batteries): 128kg
Suspension: Front and rear
hydraulic shock absorbers
Brakes: Front manual drum,
rear hydraulic disk
Range: 50-65 km
(depending on payload and terrain)
Max Speed: 50kph
Motor: 48 Volt DC brushed motor
Batteries: 4 x 50 a/h SLA
Charger: 240v / 8 amp 48 v
Tyres: 3.00-10 6PR
Emissions: Zero
Warranty: 12 months
Colours: Forest Green, Maroon
Rear Box, Windshield, Rain Cover

Licence Requirements: In NSW, ACT, and Vic, you will need a motorcycle permit / licence. In all other states, you only need a car licence to ride an EVT scooter. However, to read in detail the requirements, visit our links page to find a link to your relevant state government department.

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11/07/2008 6:42am
better than the EVT is an aussie made scooter from WA.

Electric Scooter SWEI SW0008
$1800 unassembled kit
$1900 assembled
$2150 assembled and road registered

At last an affordable electric scooter. This is the ideal vehicle for inner city commuting. It can be registered as a moped so only a car drivers license is required. Laugh as you pass the petrol station because this scooter fills up directly from any 240V power outlet.

For more information or ordering contact David Weinholz
Mob: 0433 157 227

Scooter Specifications

ENGINE TYPE: direct drive electric in rear wheel

POWER RATING: 1500watt-2000watt.

BATTERY TYPE: sealed silicon gel. (SLA)
CHARGER: 240v intelligent.
CHARGE TIME: 4-8 hours.
MAX SPEED: 50-km/ h.

65km @ 30km/hr
40km @ 40km/hr
30km @ 50km/hr

BRAKES: front disc/ rear drum
MAX LOAD: 150kg
UNLADEN MASS: 116kg +/- 4kg.
RIMS & TYRES: 3.50-10.

05/05/2009 12:27pm
All you blokes should realize! By now those D...Hd Public servants were all hated at school so they spend all their time trying to piss the average aussie citz OFF!Have realized fees and fines reap great rewards.And more super and less work for the Wankers.Where did all the money come from before GST. REGOS.EVER Increasing Fines.Capital gains? Somebody stop Me!!!Joe @ Russ Found it" Don`t You Worry bout THAT!"ps climate change put off 12 months work out if electic scooters.Can be pollutionized?
Ian W. Smith
09/08/2009 3:33am

I have recently been given an electric scooter by the dept.of Veterans Affairs, it's only a 230watt four wheel dual battery operated unit and I am interested in linking up with other ridersof smaller type scooters, either veterans or any one else who maybe interested in sharing thoughts and ideas. Ideally I would love to hear from any scooter clubs who have meetings or share emails etc. Please feel free to use my email address (
for contact
09/04/2010 3:45am
I am totally for the government to legalize gas powered scooters such as go peds as I'm not a big fan of the electric scooters and want to know if there's any petition or anything I can jump onboard to try and have them legalized ??? Plz email me with any information much appreciated
21/04/2010 2:36am
I have been riding a Vego electric scooter in NSW for the last 6 years. Before that I had a Flyer (smaller, less distance). I pretend I'm a bicycle and observe all the road rules - helmet, lights, signals, visible clothing. I've only been pulled up once by the police about 2 months ago. They asked me if I was registered, and suggested I get off the road until I verified the status of my vehicle, even though I assured them that it was supposed to be legal if 200W or under, and pedal assist. (though I took the pedal off 'cause I don't like to sweat.) The aim of the exercise is NO exercise.

I think the only issue which really needs to be addressed is that of liability. If a scooter rider causes an accident (even if/when he comes off worst), who is liable? Whose insurance company pays? - given that scooters aren't registered, and don't have insurance, it's a sticky question. I really don't want to be sued out of house and home if I inadvertently cause an accident.

In Holland, if a car and a bicycle collide, it's automatically presumed to be the car driver's fault. Pity it's not so here.
If we could only get cycleways going and electric low powered scooters recognised as bicycle alternatives, we could do something about our carbon footprints and, and short distance commutes would be a cool summer joy, instead of a petrol guzzling, bumper to bumper frustration.
14/06/2014 5:26am
I live in Vancouver Canada. I just bought an EcoReco 250 watt scooter from NYC wheels in the states. It sits at the warehouse in Blain Washington as I didn't realize Canada won't allow such a scooter greater than 100 watts. Anybody have any suggestions?
Abby Eagle
28/09/2015 3:23pm
I am 60 years of age. I suffer from chronic fatigue and should not walk more than 400m in a day. If i had a portable electric scooter that i could take on a bus, a train, or in my car - i could then go places.

An electrice bike is not suitable because you have to pedal to keep the motor running, and i don't have the energy to pedal. I need either a small electric bike with an accelerator - needs to weigh less than 20kg with the battery. Or i need an electric kick type scooter. But the 200w ones are not big enough for an adult. So frustrating.
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