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Scoot Coupe: Hot Holiday Gift Or Barely-Legal Nightmare?

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Scoot Coupe

Scoot Coupe

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Scoot Coupe

Scoot Coupe

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Is it a car? A scooter? A motorcycle? All of these questions are fair game when talking about three-wheeled cars, and the issue has even risen as high as the White House, with the Obama administration deciding they are in fact cars in the case of electric-powered three-wheelers like the Aptera 2e. But the legal status of the typical gasoline-powered, motorcycle-based vehicle is a lot more murky.

That's normally not a big problem, but interest in one model in particular, the Scoot Coupe, has seen a huge upwelling in public interest following an appearance on The Price Is Right game show's showcase prize. Now Google is getting hammered with searches for the vehicle, and towns are becoming wary of their "street legal" status.

At least one town has even gone so far as to ban them. Aside from the obvious addition of traffic to the roads, the issue is largely with their scooter-powered nature. Available in 50 cc and 150 cc displacements, the two-seater Scoot Coupe is the very definition of underpowered. Add to that minimal--if any--crash protection and you have what could potentially be a hugely problematic addition to the roadways.

Compounding the problem is the Scoot Coupe's bargain-basement price: just $6,299 for the 50 cc P50 model, and a mere $300 bump to $6,599 for the 150 cc P150.

On the other hand, this isn't the first such vehicle and it's not the first time they've risen to the public spotlight, so perhaps all the "sky is falling" antics are precisely that.

[Christian Science Monitor, Scoot Coupe]

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Comments (14)
  1. Think Sinclair C5
     
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  2. "Some towns have even gone so far as to ban them."
    Ridiculous!
    Are they banning Vespas, bicycles and skateboards too???
     
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  3. bepsf- I hear ya and Towns should be changed to town. That town being Ocean City Maryland. I ran "Towns banning Scoop Coupes" through google and the Ocean City Maryland story comes up third and first is this very article.
    Is the editor of this website on vacation this week?
     
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  4. I saw the picture and thought it was a model Fiat was making for Chrysler.
     
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  5. Since these cars are so tiny and lightweight, they really should be bike-path legal, but with a 20mph speed limit there of course. BTW, they have them for rent here in Santa Barbara--and they are really cute!
     
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  6. What the hell is this??? Looks like a Dinky-toy!
     
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  7. I've been driving these for years, they're not bad for vacationing sorts of drives, anything serious though? nah. I wouldn't trust these on anything but the most least traveled and secluded roads. They're very light and wobbly at 60kph
     
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  8. Again, poor editing. "Bargain-basement price" is $6000? You can get a decent motorcycle for that, with far more power and nearly equivalent protection. In fact, since you have to wear a helmet in most states on a motorcycle, you might wind up just as safe or safer.
     
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  9. Har-har!
    "xmas presents" @ #5,
    May be "cute" but not suitable for bike paths for all the reasons bike paths are not intended for automobiles or motorcycles (which this thing sure looks like & would be classified as due to motor size). In WA & OR (don't know about CA), they would be illegal on any bike path or MUP/SUP (Multi-Use or Shared-Use Path) due to internal combustion motor (also, I believe, any Federally funded bike facility) (just because we SEE people riding their gas scooters on bikeways doesn't mean it's legal). Have ridden bike paths in Santa Barbara: inappropriate there, too - too wide, beside that gas motor again.
    Perhaps a better designation for them - although technically inaccurate - would be as [a gas equivalent to] an NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle), a thing intended for short trips, at low speed in low traffic areas on 25 MPH [or less] public roadways (but not bike paths: used by automobile drivers with typical driving skills, they would be knocking cyclists - and other users - off right and left). Sorta like Zamafir @#7 wrote, except I'm not even gonna touch that "60 KPH" line...
    Six grand!? How about a good production *electric* bicycle (Trek, Giant, etc.) AND trailer for the groceries (although just racks and panniers on the bike might be better) or kid hauling, for a third of that. BAM! No gas, same speed, freedom to use bikeways or public roadways, four grand in the bank, fight obesity at the same time.
     
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  10. Safety requirements and safety perception: not exactly stuff a lot of three-wheeler manufacturers take serious. My Space-Efficient Vehicle does!
     
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  11. These have been around a few years and one of my biggest complaints is simply the price which is way to high for what it is and could sell easily for 2 grand and still everyone makes money. As far as being under powered this is easily fixed with proper mods to engine and trans and will certainly make them safe in traffic, the last thing that is being done is a roof added which is a custom being done by a customer of mine as well as pumping up engine to 177cc and trans to peel wheels which gives it the power needed to take off and keep up with traffic.
     
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  12. Would this be legal in the UK?
     
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  13. These are cool looking. But safety needs to be kept in mind. I must also remind you, when you increase the speed on these, you also increase the chance of much more serious injuries, or worse, in the event of a crash.
    I drive a NEV. Max speed is 27 m.p.h. I have the 5 horsepower motor. A 7 horsepower motor is also available. But, with the larger motor also comes more speed. We were told that the larger motor increases a crash by double.
    I'm happy with what I have. This IS our "other" car. It gets me where I need to go around town for under $5.00 a month in electricity. And believe me, I go alot! It's good on the wallet AND good for our environment.
    I can see where the Scoot Coupes could really catch on. People are looking for a more efficient means of transportation in these uncertain times.
     
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  14. TWO or THREE wheels make it a "Motorcycle" Motorcycles dont have seat belts and are dangerous, so leave it as a motorcycle! Less taxes, less cost. In Oregon if the "Motorcycle" has an enclosed cab, then no endorsement is required, nor a helmet. But this is open cockpit so Helmet and endorsement are required unless the 50cc model cant exceed 30mph. Dont want the danger of a motorcycle? then dont get one!
     
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