Words: Ganesh Murthy
Re-defining the scooter segment in India
Before Honda decided to present the Activa to India 16 years ago, the word Scooter conjured up images of your dad’s or your uncle’s old Bajaj Chetak or the Kinetic Honda which were slowly ageing away. The first generation of the Activa was a humble 4-stroke 102cc CVT driven scooter when launched in 2001. The then president and CEO of HMSI, Haruo Takiguchi said that they were looking at 40,000 sales a year with the Activa. Little did Honda know that it would be rewarded by the people so much that the Activa would usher a new era in the scooter segment.
The scooter went on to create history as the highest selling scooter in India as well as the world, selling over 1.5 crore units by 2017. And not to mention that in India, it became a household name and the country’s most loved scooter, making way for other manufacturers to follow Honda as it set the benchmark for reliability with the Activa in the scooter segment.
But why is the Activa brought in the limelight now? Because an all-electric scooter named ‘Praise’ from a little known Gurgaon based manufacturer called ‘Okinawa’ was launched in the country yesterday. And it stirred emotions that were similar when the Activa was launched. Of course it is too early and also unfair to pit a segment leader with a new entrant and that too in the electric scooter segment which is just finding its foothold in India. We haven’t ridden the Praise yet and hence we have put the specifications of both these scooters on paper to see how they fare. It’s not petrol vs electric war we are initiating at, it’s the rise of sustainable electric mobility for future we want to throw some light on.
Let’s begin with the Okinawa Praise. This is not their first scooter and they are learning from their past experiences with the Ridge which reflects in the way the Praise has evolved in terms of design and styling. The Praise gets all LED headlamps with DRLs, LED taillamps, LED turn indicators, keyless start, three riding modes, alloy wheels, innovative dual disc setup at the front and a segment first single disc unit at the rear.
The centre panel mounted headlamp, DRLs, boomerang type rear indicators enhance it with a funky look, which is sure to grab attention. The Praise gets a 1000 watt BLDC motor that gives a peak power of 2500 watt. Okinawa claims a one hour charging time with the 72V/45Ah Li-ion battery, 170-200 km range and a maximum speed of 75kmph in turbo mode, which is a first in the e-scooter segment in India.
Reigning king of the segment –
The Activa 4G is powered by a single cylinder air cooled 109.19cc engine that pumps out 7.85bhp at 7500rpm and produces a peak torque of 9Nm at 5500rpm. It gets trailing arm suspensions in the front and a single coiled spring setup at the rear. The scooter gets 130mm drum brakes in the front and rear combined with CBS with a top speed of 83kmph. It gets the AHO feature but misses out on the LEDs. The Activa is one sturdy built scooter with its full metal body construction.
The bottom line?
The Praise surely is the most loaded electric scooter available in the Indian market right now. At Rs 59,899 (ex-showroom, Delhi) and with the plethora of features on offer, the Praise surely makes a cracking deal for itself. The Activa on the other hand is offered at Rs 51,324 (ex-showroom, Delhi). It is more affordable than the Praise, but electric scooters also have superb tax benefits compared to their petrol counterparts. The Praise also gets benefits of running costs, and with the claimed 10paisa/km, it is far superior than petrol powered scooters which run at Rs 1.5-2/km.
We will be only able to tell about how good the scooter feels in real world conditions after we ride one. Stay tuned for the first ride review coming soon.