The next tick box is acceleration and speed. 3 kW is about the maximum rating that you can get on a hub motor. The copper is on the inside - and so there are issues of heat evacuation as power increases. The peak power is 5 kW - and that is enough to set the adrenalin racing through the arteries. You can easily match city traffic. Did not do a highway ride - but would be interesting to see its performance on longer drives.
The bike dies have a fleeting resemblance to the eighties heartthrob, the Yamaha RX 100. The rear tyre is Bullet territory. One Motors sells more of these bikes in Africa than in India. Road conditions there are worse than what we have here. As road conditions improve, the share of scooters in two wheelers starts going up. We have seen that happen in Indian cities - and also at a country level in places like Sri Lanka. Coming back to Africa, ruggedness has to be built into the design. The suspension can take some beating - and larger wheels and stiff springs do handle most potholes without too much trouble. I do worry about whether a sustained beating can be taken - because in hub motors the shaft is the most vulnerable item. You could end up with a wobble after some time.
The ergonomics of the bike is good for the driver. The pillion rider does not have too much to grip - so it’s good for some romance. On a more serious note, there should be a grip as the vehicle can really zip through traffic - and there is a fear to the passenger of toppling over. Though power is more than adequate for double or even triple seat rides, the suspension works better without pillions.
Am not too impressed with the high speed ride quality. You can't predict the deceleration. The throttle takes some getting used to. The return spring is weak - and so it kind of acts as a manual cruise control. It has its advantages in highway rides - but you have to tweak around constantly for the bike to maintain its speed in city traffic. Just realized that a throttle controls current. I set it at a 10 A setting. And the speed dropped from 40 to 25 kmph as I climbed a flyover. Throttle setting was unchanged. So the math fits. A 700 W (72 V into 10 A) motor can't do any better.
The bike that I was testing has a NMC battery. The SoC would fluctuate as the throttle position changed. What I did like was the speedometer menu that offered you options of seeing voltage and current on the cluster. The current tells you of the power that you are actually using in real time. Would have preferred a multiplier function - where you multiply it by voltage to show the real time power. And then convert that to a bar input which you find on most 4 wheeler EVs and also I think the Chetak. The fits and finishes are again something that needs to be worked on. The battery cover looks a bit rudimentary. The cluster seemed shaky on its mounting. Would have been happy if the currently empty fuel tank can become a frunk for storing the charger.
Methinks that a commuter version of the bike would also be appreciated. With a lighter, maybe smaller motor. The unsprung mass of the rear tyre currently is too high. Ride comfort is inversely proportional to the unsprung mass. And looking at the motor size - my guess is that it must be definitely weighing north of 15 kg.
Another thing that I would want in the commuter version is more EV friendly thinner tyres - with better treads. MRF has developed a special tread for Ather 450X - and I hope they can come up with one for EV motorcycles too. Our friend Raphae is a big fan of the TPMS, which again the Ather 450X has. I wonder will it be too big an ask to have a visual indication of tyre pressure on the side wall. A kind of tattoo that gets exposed only when the air pressure is above a certain threshold value.
The bike does not currently qualify for FAME subsidy, but I am told that it is WIP. As a result: no DRL in the vehicle. Good for range, but at the cost of safety. Btw, headlamps are quite mediocre. Could be definitely improved. At Rs. 1.5 lakh I think it is Value for Money. The company does need to scale up fast - as currently they have very limited production at the small-ish Noida factory. And also amp up the localisation.
Note: The company is working with multiple manufacturers on a new LFP chemistry based battery pack. That version of the motorcycle will be ready in few months and we will again do a rest report. Stay tuned.
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