Following Blueshark’s official debut in Malaysia in October last year, this China-based electric scooter (e-scooter) brand is certainly turning heads on our shores.
Outright, the Blueshark R1 e-scooter is minimalistic in terms of its design language that’s simple, futuristic, cute, stylish and feature-packed for the urbanite.
Coupled with a plethora of goodies that are accompanied by the promise of a low cost of ownership, it’s gotten seasoned riders and those without a motorcycle licence planning/scheming to own one - although the company has yet to reveal the official price.
For starters, this e-scooter weighs in at 92kg (without batteries) and is said to provide a minimum riding range of about 110km thanks to its 5kWh (6.7hp) 201Nm electric motor - allowing it to carry a maximum load of 200kg.
Powering up the e-scooter are two removable and swappable 1,440Wh Lithium Ferrophosphate (LFP) batteries - each capable of over 2,000 full-charge cycles and weighing 11kg each.
The R1 can travel with just one battery pack for half its range and will cost some RM1.95 to fully charge (RM3.90 for two battery packs) over 3.5 hours (2.5 hours from 20% to 100%) via a home charger.
The R1’s battery has received the Road Transport Department’s (JPJ) Vehicle Type Approval (VTA) and the company is partnered with Petronas to provide up to 300 battery swapping stations by the end of the year.
What was loved most about the R1 was the inclusion of a keyless-ride function as well as LEDs for illumination, Bluetooth connectivity for music/video streaming, a built-in GPS system, 4G connectivity, dual proximity sensors as well as a front (riding recorder) and rear (for reversing duties) camera system.
All that gets displayed on a vibrant 10-inch full-colour IPS high-definition screen (non-touch) that’s powered by the company’s proprietary ArkRide operating system.
Some notable information that’s displayed includes the soundtrack that’s being played, range, battery’s state of charge and real-time power usage, among others.
Furthermore, this e-scooter is able to interact with the Internet of Vehicles (IoV) system via the Blueshark App which can be downloaded onto a smartphone for free from Apple’s AppStore or Google’s PlayStore.
Owners will be able to receive real-time messages including location, remaining charge, battery’s current state of charge, route travelled, range, service schedule, energy economy and a Blueshark service centre among others.
Riding this little e-scooter was a breeze with its smooth take-offs while it produces a tone that gets higher in its pitch the faster it gets while comfortably seated in an upright position with plenty of leg room. Pillion riders get to use the integrated footrests.
Take-offs are smooth and the more ‘twist’ the R1 gets, the more willing it becomes with a constant sense of acceleration that says one thing - this e-scooter is no slouch.
Within the confines of a tight go-kart track, flipping the R1 from side to side was effortless although there is a limitation to how much ‘angle’ it can take.
The somewhat integrated kick-stand on the left underside section will get in the way when banking left during high-speed cornering to produce some annoyance.
Although the R1 did showcase some compliance when manually compressing the suspension, the smooth surface of the track didn’t allow for anything conclusive to be derived.
Riding in Eco mode limited speed to 40kph while Normal provided 60kph and Sport mode had 80kph to offer.
Switching into ‘Turbo’ mode still limits the R1 to 80kph, only now its accelerative qualities take a transformative change.
A slight twist of the throttle and there’s an immediate sense of abruptness for some head-jerking off-the-line sprints that’ll get riders from 0 to 50kph in about three seconds.
The disc brakes allow the rider to properly reign in on anything excessive here.
Of course, running the R1 in Turbo mode will see the battery’s charge deplete rather quickly.
Having a reverse function with a reverse camera was of absolute appreciation which was slow, easy and accompanied by a tone for added safety.
Operating together with a reverse camera and proximity sensors, it left a lingering sublime aftertaste. No more head-checking.
The R1 with its good looks coupled with capable on-road abilities and a plethora of features, as well as high levels of practicality, helps provide more than enough reasons to ditch a fossil-fuel-burning scooter and adopt this e-scooter that’s perfect for ‘urban jungles’. - Jay Wong