The Honda Insight was the first mainstream gas-electric hybrid sold in the United States. The Toyota Prius was second. There’s an advantage to being a second-mover and Veo’s Astro 3 scooter is a good example of what happens when you learn from the mistakes of others.
VEO ASTRO A3 SCOOTER SCORECARD
|DESIGN (how does this thing look?)||7/10|
|BUILD QUALITY (will this thing last?)||9/10|
|ENDURANCE (will this thing go far enough?)||9/10|
|PERFORMANCE (how fast and maneuverable is it?)||8/10|
|COMFORT (does it feel nice to use?)||7/10|
|VALUE (Is it a good price?)||7/10|
Veo is a Chicago-based startup created by entrepreneur Candice Xie to address the growing mobility market with a mix of scooters and bikes.
What’s their distinguishing factor that separates them from their competition and gives them a fast-follower advantage? There’s two that strike me right away.
First, they’re not dickheads. Veo is rolling out slowly and in markets where they can partner with local governments as opposed to the “flood-the-market-with-scooters-until-city-councils-get-made” approach favored initially by companies like Lime.
Second, the Veo scooters are designed and built by the company, so they are purpose-built for the types of markets they’re hoping to enter and this allows for clever designs. For example, Veo uses swappable batteries, which avoids the issue of trucks having to roll around picking up and replacing entire scooters.
Veo bikes and scooters are being introduced in the New York City metro area and so I picked up one in New Rochelle, New York to test out. Overall, I was fairly happy with the scooter and found the system mostly straightforward (more on that later).
DESIGN – 7/10
Veo has designed a fourth generation version of this scooter called the Astro 4, but the Astro 3 is what’s currently available in New Rochelle and that’s what I rode on a cold January day.
The first impression that you get from the Astro 3 is that it’s not small. It dwarfs the HiBoy S2 we bought and stands out with its 10.5-inch airless front tire and large frame (50 inches long/48 inches tall). The Astro 3 is slightly larger than the Segway-built Lyft Max and much larger than the older Lime scooters.
With its black-and-hot-teal color scheme the scooter is noticeable but blends nicely with wherever it’s located. The glowing teal light is a tad Pimp My Ride and would be a major detraction if the light didn’t also help you avoid being crushed by a city bus. The brakelight is also a great touch and I’m looking forward to trying the new version with turn signals.
BUILD QUALITY – 9/10
From a design standpoint, the in-floor battery pack is its best feature, and it also provides a rigid frame for the scooter. This thing is not light. Even if this wasn’t geo-fenced you’d be hard-pressed to lift this into a subway.
It’s incredibly stout and every piece seems to be machined and designed to take maximum abuse. The max load for the scooter is marketed at 650 pounds, which is way more than you’d want to put on here.
ENDURANCE – 9/10
Did I mention it was cold the morning I took the scooter out? Nik, Mishka, and I all spent time with the Veo and it didn’t sweat the two hours. Veo says this will travel a max range of 43 miles per charge, which puts it above most city scooters and only below expensive personal scooter like the NAMI BURN-E 2 MAX.
PERFORMANCE – 8/10
Like most scooters in this class, the Astro 3 features a rear-mounted motor (350W for the Astro 3) that spins the rear wheel. In spite of its weight, this scooter has no problem getting up to close to its 15 mph top speed (there’s a digital display showing speed and battery charge state, which is a nice touch). Power delivery is predictable for a scooter, though it’s like most scooters in that there’s a lot of torque right off the line.
The front-and-rear suspension is probably the deciding factor from a performance perspective and helps it both absorb abusive terrain and give the user more control. In front is what they call a “mountain bike suspension” with shocks in the front forks to absorb abuse. Out back is a large coil spring in what could best be described as a trailing-arm design.
The turning radius of the Veo is good considering the length and I found it maneuverable over a variety of surfaces. This is not an off-road scooter, but it’ll handle a little dirt just fine. The front and rear brakes are excellent and give you the option of more progressive braking or a harder stop. Even under hard braking I avoided the flip-over-the-handlebar moment.
COMFORT – 7/10
The size of the Veo works for the scooter and against it. The over-sprung suspension means the scooter maintains stability over even rough surfaces and lowers vibration and harshness through the aluminum frame. In slow-speed operation, like trying to move it on low power, the weight can be a problem. A normal adult human shouldn’t have an issue getting it to change direction but it does take some force.
VALUE – 7/10
Veo charges the industry standard $1.00 to start a ride and $0.39-per-minute. So expect about $25 for an hour of use. Veos have to be returned to specific locations (in New Rochelle there are plenty of return locations), which is great for people in the community who don’t want scooters everywhere. This also means that you’re probably only going to use the Veo for your commute and then drop it off somewhere.
While testing I did have an issue where I could not get the scooter and app to recognize that the scooter was in a return zone, even though it was exactly where I picked it up. I tried multiple times and even moved it to another return spot nearby. Eventually, the app recognized the bike was returned and stopped my ride. I contacted customer service and they quickly refunded me for the difference in the ride.
TOTAL SCORE – 47/60
Veo initially wanted to sell e-scooters, but my guess is the pandemic and supply chain issues probably slowed the rollout of that program. Their smaller Astro Go scooter was going to be $599 and seemed like a great deal. Hopefully, the brand can get back into the game because I was impressed with what they’ve built.
This is Motive Future’s first review so the 47/60 score doesn’t mean much, but from my perspective its sets a high bar for what we expect out of a scooter. Once we have more data from other vehicles we may update this.