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Top eight electric scooters

  • Story Highlights
  • Electric scooters are one of the most popular buys of 2008
  • Go-Ped ESR 750's aircraft quality Chromyl frame will hold up to 400 pounds
  • Enertia software enables the rider to download info about their driving habits
  • Piaggio plans to release three-wheeled hybrid based on Vespa
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By Craig Howie
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(AOL Autos) -- Maybe you want to save the planet. Maybe you want to save a little more from your pocketbook each month.

The EVT R 20 is classic Italian vintage and comes in just three colors: black, red and silver.

The EVT R 20 is classic Italian vintage and comes in just three colors: black, red and silver.

Or maybe you just spent a romantic break in Paris or Rome and loved how good those stylish Europeans looked zipping about congested streets on their scooters.

Now, the electric variants of those once quirky, funny looking scooters have become one of the most popular buys of 2008, providing a largely hassle-free and cheap form of urban or commuting transport for many looking to minimize their carbon footprint and gas costs.

We've chosen eight popular electric scooter models to see what kind of fit they would be for you. So what are you waiting for? Jump on!

The hipster: Go-Ped ESR 750
MSRP: $999

The original step-on lo-fi motor scooter has been improved once again this year with a new electric motor that's capable of reaching a top speed of over 20mph. It uses four 12 volt SLA (sealed lead acid) batteries. Turbo mode allows faster travel in a five-mile range, which the economy setting allows eight miles.

It weighs 52 pounds and its aircraft quality Chromyl frame will hold up to 400 pounds. Its sister model, the Hoverboard, tips its hat to 'Back to the Future' with the board's retro yet futuristic appeal and raised independent suspension, while its cousin, the Trail Ripper 46, boasts a similarly cantilevered frame and rugged tires to smooth out the bumps and dips. A full recharge costs just 10 cents.

The eco-warrior: eGO Cycle 2 Classic
MSRP: $1,399

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This one's a perfect, stylish fit for an ecologically minded rider, though it's also great for RV or camping trips. The motor produces 2hp and is powered by 24 volt batteries. It's sturdy at 140 pounds and will carry a combined 250 pounds in rider and cargo weight.

Range is good at 25 miles and it will hit 18 mph at the top end. Large wheels at 20-inches make this one a pretty utilitarian ride. Recharge time is about six hours while running costs are about eight cents a mile.

Range includes the LX and silky SE, which comes with more luxurious trim including directional signals, speedometer and horn. Frame has 10-year warranty and batteries are covered for six months.

The highway patrol: Vectrix
MSRP: $9,395

Rhode Island police officers are putting these to the test in a three-month pilot program announced in July -- officers like them for their ability to maintain mobility and personal contact with residents.

This more substantial highway-legal scooter, with dimensions more akin to a regular full-size motorbike, will take about seven seconds to top out at 62 mph. Remarkably, it costs just one cent per mile to operate.

It takes between three and five hours to charge to its maximum range, which is 68 miles. It uses nickel-metal-hydride batteries -- common in hybrid autos -- which benefit from regenerative braking. Battery replacement cost is $3,000 but Vectrix says the battery will last 10 years or 1,500 charges. Two-year warranty covers entire bike for parts and labor. AOL Autos: Best new car deals

The street racer: Enertia
MSRP: $11,995-$14,995

Look out for this one at the UK's Isle of Man TT road race next year. The new event, called the TTXP, is open to two-wheeled "clean-emission" vehicles. The standard Enertia set for release later this year boasts a 13kW motor generates 18HP at 3,600 rpm, propelling the sculpted carbon fiber monocoque frame to a top speed of 50+ mph in about seven seconds.

Batteries are six Lithium Iron Phosphate modules lodged directly underneath the rider and give a range of 35-45 miles. The company promises low-maintenance, worry-free cruising at a cost of less than one cent per mile.

Onboard software enables the rider to download info about their driving habits and customize the bike's performance settings. Range includes upscale Limited model, with aluminum chassis and leather seat. AOL Autos: 10 safest small cars

The light commuter: HCF 737 Pacelite
MSRP: Approx. $699

The Pacelight is a combination step-on/ride-on scooter that folds for easy transportation or storage. All aluminum alloy frame is light at 60 pounds and will carry up to 240 pounds. It'll zoom to almost 15 mph and gets about 13 miles per charge.

It packs two 24 volt SLA batteries and favored by riders for its reliability. Its 12.5 inch wheels and dual suspension are ideal for rough ground. This one's super quiet, but you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Charge time is three to four hours. Range includes the Cute 002, which boasts a sturdier frame and basket at back and the sportier Pacelite 705. AOL Autos: Most popular fuel-efficient cars

The style conscious: Zap Zapino
MSRP: $3,495

So it looks great in pink, which may be a first, but this curvy number also comes in great-looking sky blue and lime green variants, perfect to match those Jimmy Choos. The name also evokes a just a touch of Italian élan.

It's a sturdy, storage-friendly ride-on model at 297 pounds that will climb a 25 percent gradient with a 177 pound rider onboard. It'll hit about 30 mph and gets about 30 miles per charge. Batteries are 60V while motor is a 3,000-watt brushless DC hub.

Range includes the Zappy 3 Pro, which is a rugged step-on tricycle perfect for a warehouse or construction yard and the Zappy 3, its road-going sister. The Zapino has a six-month warranty. AOL Autos: Best-selling small cars

Modern living: Vespa Hybrid
MSRP: Expect in the $10,000 range

So we're cheating a little as this is a hybrid that utilizes a gas-burning engine, but to our minds it's difficult to envision any scooter list without the legendary Italian marque. It's been long in development but Piaggio, Vespa's parent, plans to release the three-wheeled hybrid based on its current MP3 model later this year.

It may look cumbersome with two wheels up front, but the sturdy look and feel has proven popular and reports suggest the company is considering a four-wheel model. Piaggio says it'll wring 60 miles out of a liter of fuel and the electric motor, powered by a lithium battery, has a 20-mile range with a top speed of 20 mph.

Range will include a 500cc gas motor alongside a 125cc variant. AOL Autos: Cars with highest resale value

The classicist: EVT R 20
MSRP: $2,499

This retro-feeling classic is a study in scooter longevity, as this second-generation offering has had a loyal following since its release last year. Its design is classic Italian vintage and it comes in just three colors: black, red and silver.

This one emits neither sound nor pollutants and will travel 30 to 45 miles on one charge, depending on speeds driven, and can seat two riders or up to 270 pounds. It'll top out at 45 mph. It's powered by a 2500 Watt brushless 60V motor and its battery life is about 10 years. Two new models will be released this month, the more powerful Z-30 and R-30. Range also includes the two-tone classically styled EVT 168.

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