First of all, I hate that the word e-bike refers to electric assisted bicycles and e-scooters refers to the personal electric vehicle (PEV), so now I have to write electric motorcycle to refer to my ride. Thank God for copy and paste.
Since 2019, I was riding a PEV, sending my kids to school, quick trips to the grocery store, mosques. And since I started working from home that year, the occasional trip to office. Went through 2 upgrades as it became a hobby.
However as my kids get taller, and my wife asking for a motorcycle, I decided to finally get an electric motorcycle. At that time there’s only 2 active e-motorcycle companies in Malaysia that I found, that have actual stores and after sales service: Eclimo and Treelektrik.
After test driving both and comparing specs, my bank account decided I can only afford the cheapest one I can buy: the Treelektrik T-70. It costs about MYR 8.3k on the road with insurance, and I got a free SGV helmet and a 55l GIVI storage box, along side a bag of swags and merhandises.
The T-70 is a lightweight 2-wheeled EV in the form of an underbone scooter. It’s propelled by a 1.5kw hub motor with a removable 3.2kwh battery. It’s more or less the same size as the Honda BeAT, but at only 75kg (including the 20kg battery).
This thing is silent. At times deadly silent. In fact, I can easily hear a bicycle than the T-70. On low speeds and near pedestrians, often they are surprised that there’s a motorcycle behind them. On the positive sides, should you want to sneak out for a Mamak session, this passes it with flying colors.
The light construction makes the ride feels nimble, and rarely underpowered. Most of the lightings are LED and quite bright, even in daylight. The digital instrument cluster is a simple rectangular LCD display (not like the monitor, but more like those old digital watches). It’s legible in bright daylight, and lights up at night. The display shows the speed, battery gauge, voltage indicator, odometer and a plethora of icons for quick glanceable information.
The brakes are typical scooter setup (left-rear, right-front), and all the toggles and switches feel like a normal ICE motorcycle. The only thing is to comply with JPJ’s homologation enforcements, the main light needs to be switched on all the time, and therefore the technician disconnects from the lighting controls: you can still use low and high beam, but the double signal is lost during this transition.
It comes with a keyless alarm and “ignition” but I rarely use the alarm (locking and unlocking the motorcycle is VERY LOUD), and while the Sales advisor have demonstrated to me, I still have yet to manage to use the ignition, and I do think the “ignition” does not make sense in an EV.
It’s not a quick ride, per se. acceleration is decent, akin to a 60cc ICE underbone motorcycle, and top speed is capped electronically by the 3 speed modes. Speed mode 1 limits up to 45km/h, mode 2 caps at 55km/h, and mode 3 does not have a cap, but the 1.5kw motor were able to push a 72kg rider like me up to about 65-70km/h
Range is a trickier thing to gauge, as 1) my usage is more of a frequent short trips and sometime a little further, and 2) it depends on the load (rider and pillion), road conditions and the speed.
Here’s my use case: I need to make 7 short trips (between 1-2km round trip) every day, and occasionally, need to ride about 20km for work. It’s also used for grocery runs (between 1-3km round trip), and breakfast trips (around 10km round trip)
With this usage, I typically charge once a week on weekends, where the battery was usually at around 40-50%. That amounts to about 1.3 – 1.6kw/h battery usage per week. And with the supplied charger, I’ll need around 4 hours to reach 100%. The charger/battery were able to reach up to 80% in 1 or 2 hours from 10%, but the final leg will be a trickle charge, to prolong the life of the battery.
Maintenance is very minimal up to this point. Aside from some battery issue that I have solved with the help of Treelektrik’s after sales support (free of charge, as it is still within the 18 months warranty), the only thing I had to do is to occasionally check the tire pressure, add some grease or WD40 at moving joints.
I agree with the price of over MYR 8k, purchasing the T-70 is a smart financial move, as you can get a cheaper MYR 5-6k ICE underbone or scooter that can out perform it in speed and range. However, the simplicity of having your transport charge at home and no need to bring it to the petrol station, and the minimum amount of maintenance needed, An EV remains an interesting prospect. And at the moment, charging is still cheaper than the relatively cheap RON95 petrol here, further shielding it from the fluctuating fuel prices.
The T-70 is actually manufactured by a factory in China, and then assembled in Treelektrik’s factory in Klang. Therefore you might see something similar in other markets. One of the more interesting variant is the one using Swap’s swappable battery in Indonesia. This reduces charge anxiety as you can simply go to a participating outlet with the battery holder right by the door, and swap with a new, charged ones. There are people anticipating these to be vandalized in the way of public phones (maybe it had happened in Taiwan with Gogoro). Oyika is said to come to Malaysia offering swappable battery services for a free, and I’m following that news with bated breath.
At the moment, my T70 fits my bill as a WFH father that needs a small cheap to run vehicle for quick trips to fetch the kids (4 to 5 round trips a day) and groceries. However should I start to work in an office within 20km of my house, and until a proper battery swap service arrive, a Super Soco TC Max or the dual battery CPX caught my eye.