Following the sale of 10,000+ units of the Phantom V1 and V2, Apollo has launched the V3 – a project that’s been in the making since 2020.
Back when the original Phantom was first released, it propelled electric scooter innovation to entirely new heights, so much so that the first batch of stock flew off the shelves faster than a group of bargain-hunters rushing through the sliding doors of a Best Buy store on Black Friday.
And now, Apollo is back at it again bringing ground-breaking features to a scooter whose blueprint was already a success.
However, the real question on everyone’s mind is whether the Apollo Phantom V3 is worth buying. And, how does it stack up against its most fierce competitors? Well, in this article, we’re going to explore the reasons for and against buying V3 to help you make the right decision.
Plus, we interviewed Apollo about the release of the new scooter to uncover some additional information that's exclusive to Electric Scooter Insider.
9 Reasons to Buy the Apollo Phantom V3
1. Newly Designed MACH1 Controller Unleashes High Performance
We’re used to seeing brands pigging backing off other companies to fulfill key components like controllers for their scooters, but in a first for an electric scooter company, Apollo has designed their own controller.
Named the MACH1, or M1 for short, we originally saw the announcement of the controller during our visit to the Micromobility Europe event back in June 2022. During this time, Apollo asked us to jump on the unreleased Apollo Pro (the Phantom’s big bro) which was equipped with the M1. We were the first to test the Pro and we experienced just how powerful, yet smooth the controller was.
However, it’s not just a smooth throttle response that the Phantom V3 will benefit from. Instead, this combination of circuits, sensors, and firmware has completely rewritten the rulebook on what the Phantom’s 52V 1200W motors can conjure up in terms of torque, acceleration, and top speed.
Previously, the 52V Phantom just about hit 38 mph, whilst speeds of 43 mph were achievable with the more expensive 60V variant. Now, the Phantom can reach a top speed of 41 mph (otherwise known as Ludo mode), hitting the sweet spot between the two.
A 3 mph improvement may not fill you with excitement, but with the addition of the new controller, Apollo has been able to release a higher-performing version of the Phantom at a lower price than what you would have had to pay for the old 60V variant. All of this leads us to the news that as well as releasing the new V3, Apollo has also retired the 60V model.
Plus, with the new controller’s capabilities, it will give you a heads-up via the app if the motors, battery, or controller itself start to overheat, and will automatically reduce performance until they return to normal temperature levels. This not only allows you to better manage your rides but ensures that the scooter remains safe.
2. First Performance Scooter to Feature a Dedicated Regen Brake
We’ve seen electric scooters with electromagnetic brakes, we’ve seen them with anti-locking braking systems, and we’ve seen them with regenerative brakes built-into mechanical braking systems, but we’ve never seen a dedicated regen brake paddle on a performance scooter…until now.
In many ways, the Phantom V3 takes learnings not just from its V2 predecessor, but also from the entire lineup of Apollo’s scooters. In this case, the regenerative braking capabilities that we praised so highly while testing the Apollo City 2022 have been integrated into the new Phantom.
To get nerdy, here’s how the regen brakes on Phantom V3 work. When the regenerative brake is applied, the flow of electricity from the battery to the motor is cut. However, because the wheels are still rotating and moving forward, kinetic energy is created. This creates electricity which is then drawn away from the motor and funneled to the battery so it can recharge. By drawing the kinetic energy away from the motor in the form of electricity, drag is created, thereby slowing the rotation of the wheels.
Aside from the fact that the regen brakes can re-charge the battery by up to 10%, the main benefit is that you can reduce the wear and tear on the mechanical brakes so that they remain sharp and responsive for scenarios where you need to go full white-knuckle on them. It also significantly reduces the amount of maintenance that the mechanical brakes need.
3. Mobile App Lets You Tailor the Ride To Your Preferences
This isn’t just a wishy-washy attempt at making you think that the Phantom is more technologically advanced than it is, though. No, this app adds value by unlocking customizable riding settings and providing dashboards of advanced insights. Most notably, you can use the app to:
- Dial in the strength of the regen brake and acceleration
- Adjust your top speed, as well as the speed of each riding mode
- Turn cruise control on/off, and set the time it takes before it automatically kicks in
- Turn the digital lock on and off, which immobilizes the scooter by applying the electronic brakes
- Turn the lights on and off
- Toggle between kick-to-start and zero-start modes
- Use it as a navigational device (i.e. follow the route to your destination like Google Maps)
- Record trips
- Get dynamic range estimates based on your most recent riding pattern
4. User-Friendly Display
Gone is the HEX display, enter the LX display.
So, aside from a new name, what does it have to offer? Well, not only is it bigger with double the refresh rate and anti-glare technology, but it now grants you access to the infamous Ludo mode where you can unlock a top speed of 41 mph (as discussed earlier).
Via the display, you can also check your speed, battery level, distance traveled, remaining mileage, riding mode, and as a new addition, view blinking turn signal icons on either side of the screen when they’re in use.
5. Refined Controls Enable More Ergonomic Riding
Once upon a time, the Apollo Phantom used a small, cheaply made plastic thumb throttle that was tightly packed between the key-start ignition and control pad. In its day, it seemed like an ergonomic setup, but on reflection, and in comparison to the new design, it looks cluttered.
As with many of the new design features seen on the Phantom V3, they seem to have come from the popular Apollo City 2022. And just like the City, the new Phantom shares the same 7th-generation paddles for both the accelerator and regen brake. The paddles are now larger, smoother to operate, and lined with a grippy rubber for greater control.
Similarly, the scooter controls – including the turn signals – have now been integrated into either side of the cockpit, allowing you to turn the scooter on/off, indicate, and select your riding mode within easy reach of your thumbs.
6. Powerful LED Lights & Turn Signals
In our review of the V2 Phantom, we praised it on its high-mounted 1000W lumen headlight that was almost blinding in its intensity, the full suite of deck lights, and the taillight at the rear that flashed while braking, but we felt something was missing.
We reported that we wanted to see front and rear turn signals and that it would be an excellent addition if these could also make an audible beep when engaged. Well, Apollo has delivered just that.
7. Multiple Iterations & 10,000+ Units Sold Influenced Its Design
The Phantom you see today is four different scooters combined into one. To refine what was an already successful blueprint of a scooter, Apollo gathered feedback from the 10,000+ units of the V1 and V2 that they sold to tweak, improve, and refresh the V3.
The result is a scooter that addresses real-world rider needs and concerns. It's been carefully designed with meticulous attention to detail to deliver a well-rounded balance of performance as requested by the riders.
8. Perfect For Riders of All Sizes
Not only can it support 300 lbs of rider weight, but thanks to the large reinforced frame, beefy handgrips, and quadruple suspension system, it becomes clear that the Phantom is a scooter that all riders love.
Adding to this are the super-wide 27-inch handlebars that offer excellent control, large beefy tires that provide stability, and a deck that measure a generous 20 x 8.5 inches, making it a similar size to that of the colossal Wolf King GT.
9. An Unmatched End-User Experience
From the improved performance that the new MACH1 controller delivers to the muscular geometry of its frame and refined riding controls that let you dial in your preferred ride settings, the Phantom V3 checks all the boxes that you could want from a performance scooter.
But, the experience of owning and riding a scooter from Apollo is like no other. Often, customer service, warranties, and the future-proofing of scooters are overlooked. Not with Apollo. This is their crowning glory.
As our friends from ESG say:
“Customers who go for the Phantom lineup are buying into a lot more than specs – they choose Apollo for the brand, community, end-to-end experience, and upgradeability. The Phantom 2023 brings many things we, and the riders, have been asking for.”
While there are scooters that give the Phantom a run for its money, none can offer up the same level of all-encompassing customer experience. It’s for this reason that we believe that the Phantom V3 will continue a lineage of highly-popular Apollo scooters.
3 Reasons NOT to Buy the Apollo Phantom V3
1. If You Have the V2, Buy the Upgrade Kit
If you’re already a fan of the Apollo brand and have the Phantom V2, you may be asking yourself whether or not you should buy the V3. The short answer is no.
Thanks to the V3 upgrade kit, you can more or less turn your Phantom into the V3 for a fraction of the cost. For $399, the kit enables you to future-proof your scooter by giving you the following components:
- New MACH1 Controller
- New LX Display
- New Regen & Accelerator Paddles (With Ergonomic Control Units i.e. Turn Signals Buttons)
After the installation of these components – which you can do at home with relative ease by following Apollo’s video guide – you’ll benefit from:
- Ludo mode, meaning your Phantom’s top speed will increase from 38 mph to 41 mph
- A dedicated regen brake
- Front turn signals (to match the V2’s rear signals)
- A new bigger display with double the refresh rate
- Mobile app connectivity that allows you to finetune the scooter’s ride settings to your preferences (i.e. adjust acceleration strength)
In brief, you’ll benefit from all of the performance upgrades that the V3 model offers. The only things that you don’t get with the V3 kit are a few minor improvements to the Phantom’s frame, including double-sided fender brackets which are more solid, and M14 bolts vs M12 ones for the V2 (slightly more durable).
2. All-Terrain Riding is a No-Go
The Phantom is one of the most comfortable scooters that you’ll ride – providing that you stick to streets, bike lanes, and sidewalks. For anything more challenging (i.e. off-road routes), we suggest opting for a similarly-priced all-terrain electric scooter like the Mantis King GT.
While the Phantom is equipped with beefy pneumatic tires and a quadruple spring suspension system, it struggles to smooth out the ride over unpredictable grassy knolls, forested trails, and craggy dirt tracks.
Unlike the Mantis King GT, you can’t alter the rebound damping to match your off-road riding needs. This is one area of the Phantom’s design that we’d like to see improved in the future, especially considering that the adjustable hydraulic shocks on the Mantis are a game-changer where ride quality is concerned. To put this into perspective, we scored the Mantis King GT a 9 out of 10 on our shock absorption scale vs 7.5 for the Phantom.
3. There Are Similarly-Priced Scooters With More Raw Power
There’s no getting around the fact that when comparing the Phantom V3 to the roster of models that sit within its price class, it’s outperformed in both top speed and mileage.
Now, the best way to address this is by going through the scooters one by one and addressing whether or not we would pick them over the Phantom.
To kick things off, here’s the speed comparison:
|Varla Eagle One Pro|| |
|Mantis King GT|| |
|Wolf Warrior X GT|| |
|Apollo Phantom V3|| |
|Dualtron Eagle Pro|| |
|Mantis V2 (24.5Ah)|| |
Here, the Varla Eagle One Pro, Mantis King GT, and Wolf Warrior X GT place higher than the Phantom and so we’ll focus our attention on these.
First up, the Varla takes the crown with a top speed of 45 mph, but as a result of its super stiff steering and mismatched geometry, its ride quality is subpar compared to the Phantom.
Next, we have the Mantis King GT and Wolf Warrior X GT. Both of these can reach top speeds of 43 mph. However, out of the two, the King GT is, without a doubt, the better option. We tested these scooters on the same day and were impressed with the King GT’s superior performance results, adjustable hydraulic shocks, and better overall build quality.
But, before we divulge how the Mantis stacks up against the Phantom, let’s take a look at the range comparison:
|Mantis King GT|| |
|Wolf Warrior X GT|| |
|Dualtron Eagle Pro|| |
|Mantis V2 (24.5Ah)|| |
|Varla Eagle One Pro|| |
|Apollo Phantom V3|| |
Again, the King GT and Wolf X GT beat the Phantom, placing 1st and 2nd respectively. They are followed by the Dualtron Eagle Pro, Varla Eagle One Pro, and Mantis V2.
As already discussed, we would choose the Phantom over the Varla, and we’d do the same over the Dualtron. The Dualtron Eagle Pro was, for a while, a popular performance scooter, but with the release of new scooters its build and ride quality has been left behind the pack – hence it can’t match the Phantom V3.
As for the Mantis V2, well the Mantis King GT is the new and improved titan of the Mantis range and has upped the ante in every conceivable way. All told, this means that the Phantom’s closest competitor is, as you may have guessed, the Mantis King GT.
So, what are the key differences between these two scooters? Well, besides the fact that the King GT can go faster and further, the main advantage it has over the Phantom is its ability to transition from urban to off-road terrain with barely a twitch. Winner of our prestigious Best All-Terrain Electric Scooter award, the Mantis King GT has sent shockwaves across the off-road landscape with its savage power, balletic agility, and rugged durability – something that the Phantom V3 can’t compete with.
This all comes down to two very special components – the King GT’s adjustable hydraulic shocks. By turning a small dial, you can adjust both the front and rear shock absorbers to either completely engulf bumps and vibrations from unpredictable terrain, or stiffen the springs for fast-paced, rubber-burning drag races.
But what does the Phantom have to offer over the Mantis? Well, herein lies Apollo’s greatest asset – its brand ecosystem. Sure, the Phantom may not be as fast, travel as far, or be as versatile as the Mantis, but it’s an Apollo scooter and that means a direct brand-to-consumer relationship that fosters future-proofing.
Apollo is one of few companies in the industry that has built an entire ecosystem that effectively facilitates an end-to-end consumer experience. When you buy an Apollo scooter, you buy it from Apollo, and that means excellent customer care throughout each stage of the buying process, including post-sale. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Apollo is able to learn about rider behaviors (i.e. what you like and don’t like about their scooters), and use this information to optimize their existing portfolio, as well as create new models that benefit you. Take, for example, the V2 upgrade kits that Apollo gave to all V1 owners for free. The kit included the most essential features of the V2 because they didn’t want the early adopters of the V1 version to miss out on the riding experience that the V2 model offered.
Apollo has always been a customer-centric business, and addressing the needs and wants of riders is what drives the business forward. Not only do you, the rider, get what you want from your scooter, but Apollo benefits from a loyal brand following. Together, this creates a cyclical process that consistently adds value to the experience of owning an Apollo scooter.
If we were to use two words to describe the Apollo Phantom V3, they would be forward-thinking.
From its plug-and-play connectors that allow you to upgrade your scooter's performance via future upgrade kits to its industry-first features, the V3 certainly makes its mark on the performance scooter landscape. Has it done enough to be considered a go-to model that’s worth buying? We think so.
If you value brand reputation, a community made up of thousands of riders, and an end-to-end experience that keeps improving with the passage of time and innovation, then the Apollo Phantom V3 is a no-brainer.
Interview With Apollo About the Phantom V3
We had some questions regarding the release of the new V3 Phantom, and here’s what Apollo had to say:
Q: How many iterations did the V3 go through before you were happy with the final product?
A: We went through 4 iterations before we were happy with the final product. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that this coupled with the 10,000+ units of the V1 and V2 that we’ve sold, is what allowed us to get incredible amounts of feedback to create, what we believe, is the best version of the Phantom to date.
Q: What was the most challenging part of the build and what is the result of completing it?
A: The most challenging part of this build was developing the MACH1 controller from the ground up. This was designed by Eloi and our Product Development Team in-house at our HQ in Montreal.
This controller is the most important feature of this upgrade as it allows the Phantom to run more efficiently and smoothly, and it enables LUDO mode (more torque/top speed).
The Phantom V3's tagline and focus is “Control is the new Power”, as the feel while riding this V3 is so incredibly smooth.
Additionally, the MACH1 controller is what enables us to connect the Phantom to our Apollo App. With rider diagnosis, allowing customers to see their rides, statistics, and even help during the repair process, the app allows for a flawless customer experience.
Q: The battery seems to be the same as the V2 model. What makes it best in class?
A: The battery is currently the same as the Phantom V2. They’ve been great on the V1 and V2s, and now with a smart controller, it allows the battery to operate more efficiently.
The focus here is the brain of the scooter (the MACH1), changing that can change everything about the scooter's behavior and ride. This coupled with the regenerative brake allows 10% of charge back into the battery, making the riding experience not only more smooth/fun, but also more economical.
Q: Aside from the new features, are there any other areas of the Phantom’s design that have changed/been improved?
A: The Phantom 2023 will also have yellow front turn signals, a double-sided fender bracket (more solid), M14 main direction bolts vs M12 for the V2 (more durable), and a better fit of the plastic covers.
Q: Any other cool things our readers should know?
A: Because the Phantom 2023 is now app-compatible, our users can expect to gain more functionality via app upgrades. A great example of this will be remote diagnostics. Our CX agents will eventually be able to remotely see the battery and motor health of a user’s scooter. This will help us provide more effective customer service to our users.