Say hello to Sunra. The latest electric brand to land in the UK, and one that’s hoping that their competitively priced Robo-S is the 125cc-equivalent electric scooter that could solve the new hybrid commuting & work-from-home dynamic appearing as a result of global events in the past year.
Visordown headed out to the fantastic Robotazia restaurant in Milton Keynes for the UK Sunra launch – a place where robots quite literally deliver food to your table. But we weren’t there for the robots and a chance to meet the original Matilda from Robot Wars. No, we were there to check out two of the flagship Sunra machines for the UK market: the Robo-S and Miku Super.
This isn’t a new start-up brand, either, there’s gargantuan backing here. Sunra is a Chinese manufacturer founded back in 1999 specifically specialising in electric vehicle design, R&D, manufacturing & sales, so they know a thing to two.
Sunra has and gone on to establish itself as one of the largest electric manufacturers in the world (and No.1 in China) with an annual production output at a staggering 4.1 million units, all pointed towards fun, accessible & innovative machines.
Plus, they formally became a partner of China’s Aerospace to support the development of the space industry in 2013 – this is good to know for later on, I promise!
Watch the Sunra Robo-S & Miku Super review:
Sunra Robo-S 2021 price and availability
With a starting price of £3,299 including the government plug-in grant to knock off 20%, the Robo-S is landing right now in UK dealers. Available in white or black, there’s also a Robo (with no S) model available that’s equivalent to a 50cc scooter.
Whilst we’re here, the Sunra range all come with a 2 years unlimited mileage warranty, with a 3 year/18,000 mile battery warranty.
Engine & battery range
As with all electric vehicles, the first question is always understandably range & battery related. Fitted with a 3kw rear hub motor and two 72V 20Ah batteries, the Robo-S will be good for around 84 miles and can zip up to 50mph speeds (depending on which of three modes you’re in).
Riding at full tilt on mode 3 may zap the removable-lithium batteries quicker than that, whilst a conservative 20mph city-crawl could possibly see the full 84 miles fulfilled. A full charge can be achieved in around 4 hours from empty by plugging it in (either directly or removing the batteries and them charging inside) to a standard 3-pin socket in the UK, for around 27 pence (the same as boiling a kettle, we were told).
Performance-wise you can quite swiftly reach 30mph off the line thanks to a stonking 25Nm of torque produced inside the rear hub motor, with 40mph arriving not much later, and with a bit of tuck and an open road you can sail up to the indicated 50mph.
But despite the sheer fun of silently pinging up to 30mph, getting to max speed is where the low 3kW power (about 3 ponies) rears its head – the woes of electric, unfortunately.
50mph is plenty if you’re a city dweller, and it’s possible to safely commute along single-carriageway roads for short bursts – but long periods of top speed riding and dual-carriageway sprints are realistically out of the question, the caveat here being that this is natural for a small capacity electric machine, if not 125cc category as a whole.
Brakes, Suspension & ride comfort
Disc brakes front and rear with CBS do the job well, and the 12inch wheels matched with the scooter-style suspension provides an adequate ride for the average city/town road it’ll be exploring, but my concerns lay with the dimensions.
Admittedly I’m 6’3” and 15-and-a-bit stone, but the legroom is limited and turning is quite a leg-dangling affair for me. The seat is comfortable enough and has room for a pillion with the backrest, but I found it a tad firm.
Weighing in at 102kg, the positive here is that it remains a lightweight scooter, so you can chuck it on the back of your motorhome if you want!
Equipment & features
One thing the Robo-S is not short of is an abundance of features for the average rider/commuter to enjoy. Fitted with a reverse gear, keyless ignition, and most surprisingly fingerprint scanning, this electric scoot is somewhat of a spaceship on the road (here comes the aerospace reference).
The dash is a quirky 80s style interface, with clear speed and battery levels displayed along with the other usual suspects. When subject to a bit of glare in the sun it can get a bit squinty to see lights on the dash, and the silent nature caught me out a couple of times, but I enjoyed the retro style green-on-black design. It felt like I was piloting a NASA shuttle around Milton Keynes.
Continuing on, the under-seat compartment isn’t rammed with a battery as you may think. In fact, there’s a 24L cavern in there which Sunra demonstrated to fit a full-size helmet, with a USB socket in the front compartment for your device – handy, especially if you’ve been making use of the Sunra app to connect with your scoot.
There’s also that fingerprint function, which I didn’t get to try out, but in theory allows you to unlock and start your scooter without the key. Handy if you’re a delivery rider who jumps on and off a lot, not handy if you think this is the first step of your scooter assuming your identity.
Speaking of delivery riders, Sunra has secured a delivery contract for around 65 scoots, and when fitted with top boxes these will be zipping about the city with hot meals and zero emissions. How many miles does a delivery driver do in a typical night shift? It must be less than 84.
Plus rounding out key features, there’s a centre stand and side stand – but I found the side stand unsettling long, so parking on an incline could be a recipe for toppling.
What did we like & dislike?
For an electric scooter that is competing with a plethora of similar powered electric scoots, the Robo-S aims to offer some handy features where others may fall short but for a competitive price. One of the top-selling scooters in this category is the Super Soco CPX, which with 2 batteries will set you back £4,699 – a full £1,400 more for an estimated 3 miles further range total, and 6mph quoted taller top speed.
Considering the £3,299 pricetag of this scooter, the spec is top-notch, the styling is classic yet modern, and with a cheap 27p charge in 4 hours for an 84 mile commute, it’s hard to look past the Robo-S.
Sure the leg space is limited, the ride can be a bit firm, and there were a few power issues that others seemingly experienced on the day (which I put down to journos like me not sussing out the mode button – watch the review for that revelation), but wrapped up in a futuristic spaceship package this electric scooter is one to watch out for.
Sunra’s Robo-S is a nifty little spaceship-scooter packed with tech and gadgets and comes into the market at a fairly unbeatable price tag.
With commuters and the like searching for new ways to reliably transport themselves into the office, seeking to avoid public transport and the associated costs, a £3,299 investment could land you a shuttle with the ideal capabilities you’re after – plus with 0 running costs, two-year unlimited mileage warranty with 3 on the battery, it doesn’t get much cheaper over a few years.
If the target for Sunra is to produce fun, accessible and cost-effective vehicles, they are certainly ticking those boxes. 84 mile range and 4 hour charge time may raise the eyebrows of combustion enthusiasts, but consider the typical use of this scooter. It will rarely exceed 84 miles in one go, with a 4 hour charging break possible overnight.
What’s more, speaking to Sunra after the event, there’s plans in the works for a 400cc motorcycle on the way… if it ticks the same fun, accessible and well-priced boxes, they could be on to a winner here.