Gemopai Astrid Lite Road Test Review
I have been concerned about electric drivetrains replacing the I.C engines. That's not much of a worry as much as the phasing out of I.C engines altogether. So far, we've been observing a top-down approach in the car industry with Hyundai Kona stepping in the market last year and the Tata Nexon EV and MG's ZS EV launching soon. However, the motorcycle and scooter industry saw a different approach. The manufacturers are offering a substitute commute for families who would usually opt for a petrol-powered small capacity scooter. Times have changed and products like Ather 450 and the recently launched Bajaj Chetak, and the most recent TVS iQube - are toe to toe with the I.C engine powered scooters.
The upper hand these electric scooters have is the subsidy from the government and absolutely nothing to worry about in terms of meeting the stringent emission norms that the Indian government will soon enforce. While the I.C engine scooters will be dearer to customers in the coming months, the electric scooters will not see a price hike.
One such manufacturer is Gemopai and they have been kind enough to send us their Astrid Lite electric scooter to test. We rode the scooter around the city, here is our experience.
To begin with the pricing, the Gemopai Astrid Lite retails at Rs 83,200 on-road in Mumbai. This currently puts it between the 110cc and 125cc scooter range in India. The Astrid Lite has a claimed range of 75km in Sport mode and the scooter can do up to 90km in the Economy mode. The range can be doubled with an extra battery pack that the company sells for Rs 35,000 and fits in the underseat storage. The power and torque figure for the Astrid Lite is rated at the 3.26PS and 57Nm.
Design and Build
At first glance, the scooter blends in traffic, thanks to its stealth colour scheme finished in matte. It also boasts of design elements such as a large headlamp that swoops all the way up to the length of the apron that cannot be missed. The LED-DRL that underlines the headlamp also adds to the sharp design language. The styling is enhanced by tastefully placed decals on the panels and especially on the apron with letters 'TDR360Z' which in my opinion ups the style quotient of the scooter considerably. The panels to cover the swingarm is a much-appreciated touch. The fit and finish of the panels are quite good and the scooter did not show any rattling issues for the duration we had it. However, minor touches such as the handlebar grips and the levers could have been better in quality.
The dashboard is plain and the readouts from the instrument cluster are easy to glance over while on the go. The design of the mirrors allows you to keep an eye out for incoming traffic from the rear from a longer distance and the length of the stalks are more than adequate, allowing for a wider spread of view. The handlebar is set relatively high but has an easy reach though the switchgear could have been placed better. Actuating the left switchgear while riding is a task and could be distracting for some riders.
The footwell has enough room to offer but the backward swooping design of the apron gets the panels close to the knees. The dashboard also has a cubby to hold your phones, wallets and other such belongings, however, we advise against it as the storage space isn't lockable.
The scooter gets a swappable battery should you wish to buy an extra one. The 8.5kg battery sits where we usually find the engine to be and powers the motor which is mounted in the rear-wheel hub. Removing the battery from the bay is fairly easy and can be strapped back in without much trouble. Though carrying it all the way up to your apartment is just cumbersome.
Performance and Rideability
Like every electric vehicle on the market, the electric drivetrain delivers torque from 1rpm. And that's the trick up its sleeve. The torque delivery is immediate which keeps you engaged and given the traffic conditions in Mumbai, a responsive scooter helps you in quick overtakes.
The different riding modes limit your top speed. The Economy mode allows the scooter to do not more than 35kmph while the City mode lets it run up to 45kmph. The Sport mode allows you to use its full potential and lets you take it up to 65kmph - but eats into the scooter's range. And with a pillion, the range tends to come down a little more.
Though the excitement is shortlived, as the battery runs out of juice, the performance of the scooter takes a hit. As mentioned earlier, the scooter has a limited top speed in other riding modes so I felt it is only safe to ride it in the Sports mode which allowed me to be at pace with the traffic. The Astrid Lite in the Sport mode returned a range of 71km.
The scooter comes equipped with telescopic suspensions in the front and dual-shock absorbers in the rear. The suspension set-up offered an adequate ride quality but bottomed out on most of the speed bumps and potholes. The brakes, on the other hand, were impressive and inspired confidence. The same can be credited to the tyres as well.
For a retail cost of Rs 82,300 on-road Mumbai, the package seems expensive in comparison to other electric scooters such as the Ather 450 that offers premium connected features for a price tag of Rs 1.12 lakh on-road. But with I.C engine scooters going close to the six-figure price tag with every update, the cost of the Astrid Lite stays in the same ballpark. Along with a three-year-long battery warranty and a two-year motor warranty, the manufacturer covers a decent timeline of your ownership.
This brings us back to the same concern I had in the beginning. Even with the regulation of stringent emission norms, the electric scooters have a long way to beat their nemesis. But the Gemopai Astrid Lite is a firm step in that direction.
Photography - Anis Shaikh
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