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Asian e-scooter race heats up on chilly German streets

Rival suppliers battle for pole position in promising European markets

Chinese-made Niu scooters being tested by Berlin’s Coup sharing program (Photo by Jens Kastner)

BERLIN -- Germany is a relatively cold place, where motorcycles are mostly seen as summertime toys rather than a serious transport option. So it is all the more surprising that the country has become a market battleground for the latest generation of Asian-branded electric scooters, laden with smartphone-linked technology

These e-scooters represent a huge advance from their gasoline-powered cousins in terms of environmental friendliness. The latest "smart" versions can also connect to a driver's smartphone via an internet app that facilitates easier battery charging, range control, and anti-theft and billing functions, among other features.

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