Those who have already heard of home-grown electric moped company Fonzarelli would already be aware of the quiet, zippy, all-electric mopeds developed by Michelle Nazzari and her team of bike engineers.
Fonzarelli’s current S1 and FZ models, made to tackle heavy city traffic and allow versatile charging options, are both robust yet lightweight offerings from the Redfern-based company.
This year, Nazzari is taking it up a notch, crossing the line from eco-friendly urban scooter to agile performance motorbike with the introduction of its X1 model.
The X1, fully engineered with sports shocks and performance brakes, is Fonzarelli’s answer to requests from customers for something that is not only agile in urban traffic but can also hold its own on the highway.
Its power is something I can personally attest to: when the X1 prototype came to town recently I jumped at the opportunity to take it for a spin, and it did not disappoint.
It zipped up the hilly back roads of Byron Bay, and while I did almost topple off as it sped off (despite being aware of the instant torque), it didn’t skip a beat navigating curves in what felt like a safe but spirited ride.
Speaking with The Driven, Nazzari says the X1 is for those who love performance, and want to have the option of riding on highways and motorways.
“When I started Fonzarelli the idea was to build a sustainable bike that would be suitable for what I was doing, which is riding from the Cross to Sydney Uni,” she says.
“The X1 came out of demand from customers…they’re wanting to go into high speed zones,” she says, and with that in mind Nazzari and her team designed the X1 – which has a top speed of 90km/hr, a range of 80km, 13kW output and torque of 24.5Nm – for speed, performance, and adrenaline.
At the same time, it stays true to Fonzarelli’s core principle of sustainability, building on a philosophy of reducing waste.
“With the new model X1 we’ve also rolled out new features – a circular economy, not producing more crap,” Nazzari says.
“We’ve invested into high quality raw materials – it’s first scooter in world to have full stainless steel frame as far as I know – that gives a lot more longevity.”
The X1 is built from more Australian-made parts than its predecessors: the frame is made in Sydney’s Brookvale, for example.
There is one trade-off for the X1 – while the first models were built with apartment dwellers in mind with lighter, portable batteries that can be charged in the home or office straight off the wall – due to extra range, the battery in the X1 is heavier, although still portable:
“It’s 21kg, I don’t recommend you carry it too often,” she says with a laugh.
But environmentally-conscious riders would no doubt be pleased that the 3.5kWh standard battery can be upgraded pretty easily – the Panasonic pack can simply be added to rather than needing to be entirely replaced.
In fact, of Fonzarelli’s bikes are also upgradable, and not just the battery (the bikemaker offers an increased range of 100km as an option on the X1, for example).
“You can update the technology within it, [keeping it] relevant and not going into landfill,” Nazzari says.
Completing the circular philosophy of Fonzarelli is a trade-in guarantee; for previous customers wanting to upgrade, the bikemaker offers an option to buy back the old model.
How to get your hands on one? Fonzarelli started delivering its first orders this week, but word is that there is already a wait – so if you’re keen, better be quick.
(Note: We are hoping to have Michelle Nazzari on our Driven Podcast sometime soon, so please look (listen) out for that).
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.