Hello, scooter, my old friend.
Remember Silence? No, this isn’t some abstract plea to remind you of what life was like in pre-pandemic times. We’re talking about the Spanish electric scooter maker that also happens to go by that particular moniker. You know, the one that hooked up with Spanish auto maker Seat to rebrand its existing S01 electric scooter as the Seat Mó E-Scooter 125?
Anyway, it seems that Silence has set its sights on blanketing the whole of Europe—and beyond. Since it first started making electric scooters back in 2012, the company’s presence has steadily expanded. You can now find official Silence dealers in Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Albania, Hungary, Poland, Greece, Finland, and even as far afield as South Africa and China.
Now, at last, the company is setting its sights a tiny bit closer to home, in the U.K. A West Midlands location is scheduled to open in late January, 2021, with more (undisclosed) locations reportedly to follow. Silence plans to bring all four of its existing electric scooters along for the ride: the S01, S02, S02 LS (Low Speed), and S02 LS Long Range. Interestingly, unlike many electric two-wheeler-makers, Silence opts to make its very unique, suitcase-like batteries on-site in Spain rather than importing them from an external supplier.
Within the U.K., the top-of-the-range S01 will cost £4,995, or about $6,827. The S02 will retail for £4,695 (or $6,416-ish), is equivalent in power to a 125cc piston scooter, and is geared more toward fleet and delivery use. For beginners, the S02 LS is roughly equivalent to a 50cc petrol scoot, will cost £2,695 (or $3,683), and has a range of about 35 miles. The S02 LS Long Range has the same power as the S02 LS, but boosts range to 91 miles. Of course, a bigger battery pack also means a bigger price of £3,595 (roughly $4,913).
Since it’s clear that Silence is more than happy to expand beyond Europe’s borders, how likely is it to come to North America? That’s unclear at best, for a multitude of reasons. For one, scooters continue to be much more popular in places that rely more on two-wheelers for everyday transportation. While that’s true of individuals here on our side of the pond, it’s not a broadly true statement about our general culture.
Add to that the combination of cost and slowness to adapt to electric motorbikes in general, and it looks sketchier by the minute. Automaker Seat doesn’t currently sell vehicles here, so there’s even less chance that we could sideload a Silence in the form of a rebadged Seat Mó E-Scooter 125. I’d be more than happy to be wrong, but if the Vespa Elettrica isn’t making appreciable inroads in our market, I’m not sure what Silence could do differently to win hearts and minds over to the e-side. Sadly, we’re a tough nut to crack for electric scooters.