Carrera impel is-1 Electric Scooter Review

With an intelligent integrated lock, Halfords' first own-brand E Scooter is up to the task.

Carrera impel is-1 Electric Scooter Review
Carrera impel is-1 Electric Scooter (Image credit: halfords)

+  Solid build quality

+  Built-in lock

+  IPX5 splash and puddle-proof rating

+  Powerful front & rear disc brakes


-  It’s a big unit

-  Heavy to carry around

-  Small wheels

Halfords is well known for its Carrera brand of bicycles, with its Vengeance holding the title of "UK's most popular mountain bike," but up until now, it has been busy selling Segway's Ninebot and Xiaomi's Mi range to punters looking for electrical assistance on their daily scoot.

Given the current state of the personal electric scooter market, Halfords has decided to release its first Carrera-branded scooter in the form of the grammatically incorrect impel is-1 – an oversized adult scooter with 8.5-inch pneumatic tyres, a 15.5mph top speed, and an 18-mile range from its slender, below-deck battery packs.

At £399, it will compete with the Pure Air, Xiaomi Mi 1S, and the less expensive Ninebot Segway E22E - all excellent scooters in their own right, but only the Pure models can match the speed and range of Carrera's latest effort. Carrera impel is-1 Electric Scooter Review

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 (Image credit: halfords)


When it comes to sleek lines and clever touches, this debut electric scooter, like the larger Carrera range, will be unable to compete with its more expensive, design-led rivals. For example, the frame is made of lightweight but bulky alloy tubes, and much of the spot welding at the joins is still visible. There are no stylish angular lines or design flourishes here.

The buckle that secures the handlebar to the rear fender is enormous, and the metal finish looks like it came from a piece of industrial machinery. When paired with the diminutive and ultra-fashionable Ninebot Air T15E, the contrast is unmistakable.

However, the Carrera feels like a much beefier proposition and does everything you ask of it, with a crystal clear LCD screen providing speed and power level readouts and the ubiquitous thumb shift throttle being smooth and accurate. Even the rubber buttons used to turn on the machine and adjust the power level are overly rubberised and solid.

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On top of that, there's a clever (if slightly clumsy) integrated lock that consists of a wire that extends from the handlebars and loops back into a small clasp, which is operated by a small combination barrel. It's not big enough to deter determined thieves, but it's perfect for slinging around a lamppost while shopping.

 (Image credit: halfords)

The impel is-1 also has a rear light that acts as a brake light when the front or rear brake levers are pulled to ensure the safety of its riders. In addition, there is an always-on headlamp and two sets of reflectors on each flank.

The standing deck is significantly wider and longer than many of its competitors, allowing anyone with average shoe size to stand with feet side-by-side, which I believe is slightly easier on the quads than the typical scooter split stance.

While the handlebars are not height adjustable, they easily fold backwards and lock into a chunky loop on the rear fender, allowing you to carry it using the bars. Even when folded, it's not exactly small and will feel quite heavy to most people.

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Halfords has fitted fairly large disc brakes to the front and rear of the Carrera to bring it to a halt. Fortunately, these have been tuned so that they aren't particularly sharp in the front but have a little more bite in the back. It strikes a good balance. Carrera impel is-1 Electric Scooter Review

 (Image credit: halfords)


There is no accompanying app to fiddle with before setting off, unlike popular products from Ninebot Segway and Xiaomi. This is a blessing in disguise, as I find the three-minute safety videos condescending, and many of the app features are largely irrelevant anyway.

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With the Carrera impel is-1, all you have to do is flip the power switch and the scooter comes to life. There's also a default digital code to enter to keep thieves from stealing your pride and joy. It's a clever deterrent, as it beeps and slams on its brakes if you try to move it without first entering three numbers.

Thankfully, you can disable this setting with a bit of button holding, but it's definitely recommended if you're leaving the scooter in a public place for an extended period of time.

Like most other electric scooters, starting it up is as simple as giving it a small kick and then depressing the thumb throttle. The rear electric motor kicks in and takes over propulsion duties at around 2-3mph. With four different power levels, the Carrera scooter can be easily tailored to the conditions. Although I frequently turned it up to the highest setting and modulated the throttle. Probably not the best for battery life conservation, but definitely the most entertaining.

In terms of battery life, this is also quite good, though you won't get anywhere near the 18 miles if you cruise at a constant top speed or frequently ride at maximum power. The same is true for cold weather or a particularly hilly ride, as these conditions will drain the batteries more quickly.

I managed three or four days of short trips before needing to plug in during a week of local scooting, which is good in my book. It's very likely that you can eke out more with careful riding. Carrera impel is-1 Electric Scooter Review

The brakes are also very well-judged, providing plenty of stopping power even in bad weather. The 8.5-inch rims and pneumatic tyres are slightly smaller than competitors, but they feel stable underfoot. At higher speeds, however, there is a lot of vibration through the handlebars, and it can get a little bumpy.

Manufacturers plaster tyre pressure warnings all over their products, but I'd be tempted to let some air out to try to smooth out the ride a little. But then again, what do I know?

 (Image credit: halfords)


Because there is no smartphone app, there aren't many technological highlights to highlight, but there are a lot of analogue features that rival scooters lack. The built-in pin lock electronic immobiliser and combination cable lock combine to form a formidable security system that eliminates the need for owners to lug a separate chain around in a bag when parking.

The wheels also feature a split rim design that, according to the manufacturer, makes puncture repair less time-consuming - an area that frequently frustrates electric scooter owners who don't want to visit the retailer every time the tyres go flat.

Similarly, the LED display isn't the most technologically advanced (or attractive), but it does the job. Upon startup, two large rubber buttons cycle through the electronic immobiliser feature and then adjust the motor assistance level while riding. There are also speed and battery charge level readouts.

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The Carrera impel is-1 is a solid debut offering, with the same speed and range as its closest Pure competitor but arguably offering slightly more scooter for the money (in a physical sense) and more solid build quality. It can be driven off a kerb without incident, but its overall bulk may be off-putting to some.

However, while the folding mechanism on the Carrera may not be particularly appealing, it is far easier to use than, say, the Pure Air. Overall, the Carrera focuses on the essentials while failing to excite with its design. It's a case of function over form... which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Carrera impel is-1 Electric Scooter Review