Exploring Electric Scooter Monthly Payments

Daniel Foley
Written By: Daniel Foley
Updated on: 6/24/2024
Published on: 6/20/2024

Did you know you could get an electric scooter without paying the full cost upfront? If you didn’t, this article is for you.

While buying your own scooter might seem like the most straightforward option, there are two main challenges to consider:

  1. Not everyone is ready to take the plunge—you might spend a lot of money only to discover that scooters aren’t for you.
  2. Scooters can be quite a considerable investment.

As a result, many riders opt for shared models, which come with their own set of challenges, including limited availability, poor maintenance, long-term cost, and quality issues, among others, which we’ll explore in more detail.

To address these challenges, monthly payment plans or membership plans offer a middle ground.

Companies like Unagi allow you to own a scooter by making small monthly payments that secure your subscription.

Let's find out more...

What are electric scooter monthly payment plans?

A monthly payment plan for your lightweight electric scooter should not be confused with electric scooter financing options, where a lender grants part of or the full cost of the scooter and works out a repayment schedule with the borrower.

In this context, monthly payment plans for electric scooters refer to structures where an electric scooter firm, like Unagi, offers its patrons the chance to own a scooter for fixed monthly payments.

We’ll highlight three firms that have curated plans where members pay these monthly fees and get to keep the scooter for the duration of the subscription.

electric scooter monthly payment

Unagi is the frontrunner in this space with one of the best value e-scooter membership plans, where you pay $79 a month for the Unagi Voyager lightweight electric scooter and $59 for the Unagi Model One Classic. We’ll get into the benefits briefly.

The other two companies in North America offering similar plans include Levy Electric Scooters and Äike via Tempo’s platform.

Scooter-sharing companies also want in on the action–and with the majority, you can now get a monthly rental plan. Monthly renters can take home their electric scooter or get unlimited access rides on different scooters within the month, depending on the firm’s terms and conditions.

Unagi All-Access Rental Cool Mist Electric Scooter

Why choose electric scooter monthly payments?

We’ll look at this from two different lenses.

  • Why make monthly payments for your electric scooter over paying the full cost upfront, i.e., the benefits of monthly plans over ownership?
  • Why go for a monthly plan over rental scooters?

Monthly plans vs. buying electric scooters

Purchasing an electric scooter upfront has its benefits. For instance, you get full, unrestricted access, you don’t have to worry about monthly financing, and you have total control over the state of your scooter.

However, ownership faces a few challenges, including:

  • Good scooters cost a small fortune that you might not have immediate access to or be willing to part with
  • You might be unsure about getting an electric scooter, its practicality, or return on investment
  • The burden of theft mitigation
  • Being solely responsible for repair and maintenance efforts
  • People who travel to different states for work won’t be able to carry it with them on a plane.

Scooters on a monthly plan offer most of the perks that come with ownership while mitigating many drawbacks. For instance, it is much more affordable to subscribe to a monthly plan than it is to make full payment at the onset; if it doesn’t work for you, you simply unsubscribe. Companies like Unagi offer theft protection and handle maintenance, and for people who travel, a program like Unagi's White Glove Love sends you a secondary scooter to your travel destination without paying additional costs.

Unagi All-Access Rental Cobalt Electric Scooter

E-scooter monthly payments vs. shared scooters/e-scooter rentals

Shared scooters, or what’s commonly known as scooter rentals, are a big part of most major cities’ transport networks. They are lauded as eco-friendly, cost-effective, and convenient last-mile transport solutions.

Rental scooter firms were the catalysts for the seemingly overnight adoption of electric scooters and continue to thrive in the ever-growing landscape. However, they’ve also been subject to heavy criticism from the public due to the mostly unregulated nature of their use.

Many cities and states are yet to enforce solid rules around the use of e-scooters in public spaces, which can lead to littering by the poorly parked scooters, accidents from said scooters knocking on the sheens of pedestrians and tripping kids and pets, congestion on sidewalks (where allowed), etc.

Check out our article on comprehensive laws governing electric scooter use in different states in the US.

That said, within regulated spaces, the benefits of these shared models cannot be overstated. They help ease congestion on the roads, get you to your destination faster, are more cost-effective and better for the environment than taking a cab, and are widely available, so you don’t struggle to get one.

How do they fair in comparison to scooters offered on monthly plans? Let’s find out.

Cost

While both models ease the financial burden of accessing an electric scooter; scooters on a monthly plan are definitely more affordable. Granted, you don't need to make a down payment on both, and you certainly won't need electric scooter financing; however, the cumulative cost of renting quickly tallies to a huge sum.

Here’s a practical illustration of how much riding 5 of the most popular scooters across both plans would cost.

electric scooter monthly payments

We’re going to assume that Ted lives near the New York City subway, which he takes to work across town. However, the office is about 3.5 miles from the station. Ted could take a bus that goes through the area, but with rush hour traffic, he’s more than likely to get fired from tardiness as he likes to sleep in. A taxi could take a few shortcuts, but with a $3 base charge and a meter that feels like it’s gunning for an Olympic medal, it’s just not practical.

So, Ted needs to compare the total fees he’d need to budget for on a scooter–assuming all the mentioned scooters hit the ideal 20 mph top speed required to make that last part of the commute a 10-minute ride.

Electric Scooter Base charge Charge Per Minute Total for a one-way ride (10 mins) Total for a two-way ride (20 mins) Budget for 30 days Budget for 3 months
Unagi Voyager $50 set up fee (one time) $79 / month ($67.25 for 3 months) $1.12* $2.24* $129 $251.75
Unagi Model One Classic $50 setup fee (one time) $59 / month ($50.15 for 3 months) $0.83* $1.67* $109 $200.45
Levy Plus - $90 / month $1.5* $3.0* $90 $270
Lime $1 unlock fee $0.30 / min $4 $8
$240 $720
Bird $1 unlock fee $0.39 / min $4.90 $9.80 $294 $882
Spin $1 unlock fee $0.40 / min $5 $10 $300 $900

* Note: Both Unagi and Levy charge monthly. To make prices more comparable with Lime, Bird, and Spin, the monthly charges are divided by 30 days for a two-way ride.

However, in all fairness, rental models have become more accommodating of monthly rental plans. We'll compare what Ted would pay for his 20-minute two-way commute from the office to the subway against the shared scooters' monthly plans.

Electric Scooter 30 Days on a Daily Rental Plan Monthly Charge Plan
Unagi Voyager $79 $79
Unagi Model One Classic $59 $59
Levy Plus $90 $90
Lime $240 $280
Bird $294 N/A
Spin $300 $59

Accessibility

Scooters are only convenient if they are accessible. You might be in a rush to get somewhere only to discover an empty rack–or worse, that the scooters available are only at half charge or that the only scooters left are the ones that look like they might not safely make it through a mile of your journey.

Scooters on monthly plans are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; therefore, you can plan your journeys accordingly, charge your scooter ahead of time, and know that it will be ready for you when it’s time to dash.

Maintenance

Maintenance

Although briefly mentioned above, this challenge deserves a highlight of its own. Renters (in whatever space) have a reputation for being reckless with their units. It’s no different with scooters. Finding a shared scooter in pristine condition is like finding a unicorn. It doesn’t help that rental firms play fast and loose with repair and maintenance schedules–culminating in fleets of barely road-legal scooters for their renters.

With plans like Unagi’s membership, you get a fully serviced scooter, and in case yours breaks down, they send you a replacement scooter and handle repairs on the broken one. In addition, you can opt for the $ 89-a-month option that gives you a brand-new Unagi Voyager that beats the need for frequent repairs.

Build and ride quality

Shared scooters are designed with durability as a top priority. They are built to be rugged enough to handle the rough and often reckless nature of their use. However, you can’t compare the keenness in design with that of a scooter meant for a single user.

For instance, the Unagi Model One and Voyager lightweight scooters are made from some of the most expensive materials used in scooter design–magnesium alloy on the handlebars, carbon fiber on the stem, and air-grade forged aluminum on the chassis. The combination of these materials helps make the Unagis, not only the best lightweight electric scooters but also some of the most durable.

Ride quality is also not highly prioritized on shared scooter models. Some of the scooters roll on solid tires, lack suspension, and due to infrequent repairs, do not feel as solid riding at higher speeds.

Alternatively, with monthly payment plan scooters like the Unagis, the design is quite intricate and suited for daily riding. From the single-piece machined aluminum deck to the honeycomb tires to the smooth engaging motors, and the app for superior control over the Voyager’s setting–the Unagi monthly plan beats shared scooter plans by far.

Parking

Parking in cities is a joke that writes itself. You might save a lot of time by weaving through traffic on your scooter, only to lose it trying to find appropriate parking and making your way back to your destination. Monthly payment plan scooters allow you to own your scooter for the duration, giving you the luxury to bring it with you to your office or appointments—easing the parking burden.

As scooters become more mainstream, states, cities, and local jurisdictions are getting stricter on e-scooter parking laws. We’re working on comprehensive guides for electric scooter use in different cities to help you understand ordinances surrounding legal riding age, where to ride your scooter, permitted speeds, parking, riding prohibitions, and scenic routes to take on your scooter. Currently, you can browse through our guides for Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, and California, with many more to come. So, check those out.

How to sign up for Unagi’s monthly plan

By now, it’s apparent that monthly plans present a lot of practical and economical value to their patrons, and we’ll show you how easy it is to sign on for Unagi’s monthly plan.

Step 1: Select a scooter

On the Unagi website, locate the Rent Now section to get started.

But first, you need to know the Unagi model that suits you–so here’s a quick highlight:

Unagi Voyager lightweight electric scooter

Unagi Voyager lightweight electric scooter

The Unagi Voyager is the best lightweight electric scooter, weighing a mere 29.6 lbs. It is also the lightest dual-motor electric scooter, featuring two 500 W motors, front and rear with a peak output of 1000 W.

As the name suggests, the Voyager has the longer range of the two models, with a 10 Ah, 360 Wh rated to go up to 25 miles. Additionally, you get a top speed of 20 mph with zippy acceleration from the dual motor setup and excellent hill climbing courtesy of the same.

The scooter is highly portable, has a safe braking mechanism from the dual electronic brake setup, comes with an app that allows you to check things like riding stats, remaining battery, and your scooter’s health, etc, is IPX4 rated, and is packaged as one of the most aesthetic scooters we have.

Unagi Model One Classic lightweight electric scooter

Unagi Model One Classic lightweight electric scooter

The Model One Classic is the original Unagi–a 28.5 lb, 20 mph dual motor electric scooter. It has two 500 W motors, with a peak power of 800 W, which marginally affects its hill-climbing power and acceleration in comparison to the Voyager.

The Model One is the Unagi for a short daily commute. You can do 12 miles on a full charge courtesy of the 9 Ah, 259 Wh battery. But with its 4.5-hour charge time, and 1 hour to 50% capacity, there’s no reason why you can’t quickly power up and be back on the road.

The rest of the specs are similar to the Voyager’s; however, don’t expect app compatibility with the Classic.

What do you get with your Unagi subscription?

image

If you’re satisfied with the value, then proceed with your order. A successful subscription accords you the following:

  • Free shipping for your order
  • No hidden fees or service fees
  • Delivery within 72 hours of successful order placement
  • A fully serviced, ready-to-hit-the-road scooter
  • Theft and damage insurance. Unagi will send a replacement scooter should yours get stolen.
  • Membership perks like

1. White Glove Love: a special program that allows you to keep riding when visiting different cities. Members can schedule to have an Unagi scooter delivered to their place of residence during an out-of-town visit. Unagi delivers the scooter before your arrival and collects it once you’ve left, guaranteeing convenience. The program is currently available in the following cities Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, and San Francisco.

2. U-Nite: a monthly event allowing riders to come together and explore their city on their Unagis. Look out for upcoming rides in your city.

3. Quick and effortless upgrade from your current model.

Step 2: Select a payment plan

Once you’ve settled on the specific model, you also get to decide whether you want a brand-new scooter or a refurb for the Voyager lightweight electric scooter. With the Classic Model One, however, you can only get a refurbished (mint condition) model.

The model you choose determines the monthly charge. Here’s a table highlighting the different models available, monthly charges, and the discounts for bundled pricing.

Model Monthly Plan 3 Months Plan 6 Months Plan Annual Plan
Unagi Voyager (New) $89 $75.65 / Month $71.20 / Month $62.30 / Month
Unagi Voyager (Refurb) $79 $67.15 / Month $63.20 / Month $55.30 / Month
Unagi Model One Classic $59 $50.15 / Month $47.20 / Month $41.30 / Month

Unagi also offers a special discount for students that grants them a free trial month and a subsequent 10% off for any additional month.

Step 3: Fill in your information

The next step is selecting the color of the scooter you’d prefer, and right afterward you get to fill in a small section where Unagi asks for your name, email, and phone number.

Note: Ensure to put in the right phone number to receive a verification code that allows you to proceed to the next step.

Step 4: Confirm the order

You will need to provide a valid credit or debit card. Upon confirmation, you authorize Unagi to continue billing on said card i.e., the payment method you input will be used to make future automatic payments unless you choose to cancel your subscription.

Unagi

Unagi will require a valid, government-issued ID, which is standard for all vehicle rentals. If you’re unwilling or unable to provide one, shipping cannot be processed, and you should contact the customer service team to get a refund issued.

Unagi ships nationwide to the lower 48 states but cannot ship to Hawaii, Alaska, or US territories. Shipping is done via UPS and FedEx to both commercial and residential addresses.

If you live outside the US, you do not qualify to get the Unagi scooters on the All-Access monthly payment plan. You should instead consider buying the Voyager or Model One Classic scooter. Scroll here to find out if Unagi delivers to your current location.

Unagi All-Access Rental Latte Electric Scooter

The downside of electric scooter monthly payment plans

There are many benefits of acquiring a scooter on a monthly plan. However, we’ll highlight three potential drawbacks to ensure you’re armed with all the information you need before making a decision.

Long term cost

Monthly payment plans on a scooter are only great if the period you intend to do it is not overdrawn. Like the cost of rental scooters, monthly payment plans have the potential to rack up quite a bill.

The Unagi Model One Classic has a retail price of $990. This is equivalent to two years of subscription on the 12-month bundled discount. The same goes for the $1490 Voyager.

Therefore, have a plan for the length of time you’d need to keep subscribing and ensure you’re not losing value by settling for monthly payments over purchasing.

Limited ownership

Despite owning the scooter for the duration of your plan, the scooter is not exactly yours. Therefore, there are limitations to what you can legally do with the scooter.

For instance, the terms in your Unagi contract dictate that you can't:

  • Use the Unagi scooter commercially
  • Make major modifications
  • Lend or transfer ownership of the scooter
  • Use the scooter for sporty activities like racing, mountain riding, or stunt/trick riding
  • Go off-road or play splash in a pool of water
  • Transport the scooter outside the US
  • Leverage the Unagi as collateral

Reliability of the provider

Unagi members are privileged to have one of the best and most responsive customer service teams. The action and response time are proven–the quality is tried and tested–and Unagi pretty much bears the brunt of any mishap with the scooter, which is the true value of the All-Access monthly payment plan.

Before settling on this, or any other plan, check with the rider community (if one exists) to find out whether the reliability claims posed match the action on the ground.

In a nutshell

Electric scooter monthly payment plans present a practical and economical alternative to both purchasing and renting electric scooters. By spreading the cost over a manageable period, riders can access high-quality scooters without the burden of a significant upfront investment. This option bridges the gap between ownership and rental, providing flexibility, convenience, and additional benefits such as maintenance and theft insurance.

Monthly plans, such as those offered by Unagi, Levy Electric Scooters, and Äike via Tempo, offer significant advantages. They provide the freedom of ownership without the full financial commitment, making them ideal for those unsure about long-term scooter use or who frequently travel. Compared to shared scooter rentals, these plans ensure consistent availability, better maintenance, and superior build and ride quality.

However, potential subscribers should be mindful of the long-term costs and the limited ownership rights associated with these plans. It’s essential to assess the duration of usage to avoid exceeding the cost of outright purchase. Additionally, the reliability of the provider is crucial; hence, checking customer reviews and community feedback is recommended.

In essence, electric scooter monthly payment plans offer a balanced solution, combining the benefits of ownership with the flexibility of rentals. They cater to a wide range of users, from daily commuters to occasional riders, providing an accessible and efficient means of urban transportation.


Daniel Foley
Daniel Foley

Daniel tests all the latest e-scooters and currently enjoys the Unagi Voyager as a daily driver for it's light weight, good range, and stylish look.

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