NIU's SQi Electric Bike Manages To Emulate the Riding Experience of a Motorbike

Every day is a good day for innovation in the electric bike realm, and manufacturers across the globe are striving to offer riders outstanding designs by pushing the limits of e-bike construction. NIU is a leading company when it comes to smart urban mobility solutions, and its SQi two-wheeler has just won the Best of the Best accolade in the electric scooter category at the 2023 Red Dot Design Awards.
NIU's SQi electric moped 9 photos
Photo: NIU
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Founded by the former CTO of Baidu (the Chinese Google) and a former Microsoft employee, NIU designs and builds flashy high-end electric vehicles that are not only very fashionable but also meant to provide an improved and comfortable way to get around urban areas. The SQi is a futuristic-looking two-wheeler that is classified as an e-bike in China but combines design elements of both e-bikes and e-mopeds while also taking visual cues from motorbikes.

The electric bike was launched in August 2022, and two versions were made available: the entry-level SQi Urban Edition and the SQi Power Edition, the latter boasting a larger battery for an extended range. It was the first product in the light electric scooter class available on the Chinese market that managed to emulate the riding experience of a motorbike.

The NIU Design Team's aim with this e-moped was to redefine the standard classification in e-mobility and challenge the traditional layout of motorbikes. That's exactly what the jury at the Red Dot Award praised the SQi for. They were impressed by the model's "futuristic two-wheeler" design, which has the potential to set a new trend in the urban mobility industry. The judging panel also appreciated the e-bike's modern details and exceptional quality in design technology.

What makes the SQi stand out from the crowd is its eye-catching design, with the industrial exoskeleton-style frame crafted from ultra-light magnesium alloy and the signature halo headlight that seems to float in front of the handlebars and adjusts automatically based on detected light levels.

Though classified as an e-bike, it includes various components that are normally used in motorcycles, such as large brake discs (220mm at the front, 180mm at the rear), rear swingarm with monoshock suspension, and telescopic suspension at the front.

While the electric vehicle may have the menacing appearance of a motorbike with the bulky frame and elongated rider seat, the aggressiveness doesn't go skin deep, as the specs are more befitting of an electric bicycle.

The SQi is powered by a rear hub motor listed as a modest 400W and said to provide an assisted speed of up to 16 mph (25 kph). The side-opening battery compartment houses a 48V detachable lithium unit that is available in either a 20Ah (960 Wh) or 24Ah (1,152 Wh) option, providing 40 and 47 miles (65 and 75 km) of range, respectively. This range can be extended if the rider puts in some effort, as the model also has pedals.

Other notable features of the electric moped include smartphone connectivity, Bluetooth and NFC unlocking, a built-in display that shows the speed and battery charge level, and a USB charging port.

The NIU SQi was only made available for purchase in China, starting from RMB 8,999 (~US$1,243).
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About the author: Ancuta Iosub
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After spending a few years as a copy editor, Ancuta decided to put down the eraser and pick up the writer's pencil. Her favorites subjects are unusual car designs, travel trailers and everything related to the great outdoors.
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