EXPLAINING HOW TO SPOT A FAKE XIAOMI E-SCOOTER
Written by Ed Wiles, Scootered Founder
The new Xiaomi range was recently launched in China following the widespread success of the Xiaomi M365 and M365 Pro. Demand for the new scooters is expected to be high and, as there have been a large number of fake M365s on the market, there is expected to be a similar number of fake Essential, 1S and Pro 2 electric scooters out there (adding the fake M365s still in circulation).
This, unfortunately, is the world we live in. It is especially dangerous to buy directly from China as there is essentially no way to tell if a scooter is real or not before you receive it (companies selling fakes often use images from Xiaomi's own marketing on their sales pages). But I write this article to help you avoid buying a fake Xiaomi scooter, whether that is an M365 or a newer model.
Spot The Difference
The first thing to say is that, if a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. The profit margins in authentic Xiaomi scooters are small, so if a company were selling a Xiaomi 1S, say, for under £375 you would have to question its authenticity (although some companies do sometimes sell authentic scooters at a loss in an apparent effort to destroy the competition - a tactic which is essentially illegal).
However, it can be very hard to tell a fake Xiaomi and a real Xiaoim by looking at it. Indeed, the companies producing fake scooters go to great lengths to make their products look real. Often, a fake will be missing the Xiaomi serial number, which is one possible way to spot a fake. Yet this requires taking a close look at the scooter in person and fake serial numbers are sometimes added too. The image below shows the location/format of the serial number.
Some people believe that the box their scooter arrives in will tell them if their Xiaomi scooter is real or not, and this is true to a certain extent. Most fake scooters will come in a box that just reads "ELECTRIC SCOOTER" with no other information, whereas the authentic box has more detail, including the hazmat warning sign (for the battery). Below is the box for the M365. The global version of the new range is expected to have a similar box (the Chinese version looks very similar). However, it is reasonably easy to create a box that looks authentic and there are reports of fake scooters being placed in authentic packaging in China.
The innards (battery, motherboard etc) of a fake will be different but you are unlikely to see the innards of the scooter before purchase (if ever). However, there is one question you can ask to weed out a fake from a real Xiaomi before purchase, and that question is "What app works this scooter?". If the scooter does not work with the official Mi Home app, then it is a fake. More often than not, the app the fake scooters use is the MiniRobot, a generic scooter app. Thus, should you come across an Xiaomi scooter for sale - and why would you not buy from us? - at a suspiciously low price, be sure to ask about the app.
Mi Home App vs MiniRobot App
A fake scooter may work reasonably well but it is unlikely to have been built to the same standards as a real Xiaomi. Added to this, Li-ion batteries can be dangerous and you would not want to be riding or charging a scooter with a possibly unsafe battery component. Xiaomi, on the other hand, is a reputable company that has recalled scooters when a safety issue has been discovered.
I hope this article proves useful for those seeking to buy an authentic Xiaomi electric scooter. If you have any questions please feel free to email me. It would be unusual for a UK registered company to sell fake scooters as it is relatively easy to take court action against a company in Britain. However, outside of the UK/EU, and especially via China, the risk of buying a fake increases. Beyond the risk of buying a fake, it is also advisable to consider what warranty comes with your scooter and where you would have to send it should a problem arise. If you buy a through a company listing on Gearbest, there is a likelihood that you would have to send it abroad to be fixed.