Today I went to the nearby Hero Electric showroom and had the pleasure of driving an electric bike for the first time in my life. Since Hero is already prominent in the two wheeler market along with Honda partnership, in my opinion, if you want an electric bike, go with Hero Electric.
The bike I drove today was called the Hero Electric Optima. The company has nearly 3-4 models and Optima is the only one worth considering. It has good looks and you can have a high quality feel with this bike comparatively.
The bike has no starter. All you need to do is just twist the key and the bike is on. Twist the throttle and you can move forward. Just like a toy… no wonder you don’t need driving license. You need not register the bike, no number plates, you can pay the money and walk out of the showroom with your bike instantly.
Now lets get into the main point… Are these electric bikes really practical? Definitely not. The pickup is so low that it is risky on the road. If you are crossing the road in a hurry and if you are a little overweight, the bike is going to betray you. My main concern with the electric bikes is the lack of safety. When I got back to the showroom after a half kilometer test ride, the bike struggled to get up the ramp. If the road is situated a little below your portico, you are going to have a hard time pushing the bike up the slope.
The sales man told me that the cost of travel is just 25p per kilometer and the battery lasts for 22,000 kms. Well, they say it and they expect us to believe it but no one can be so sure until we actually push it to the limits. If you want to replace the battery, it will cost a lot and your wallet will be weak for a few months.
Electric bikes have a long way to go. So far there is no high powered electric motors and no hybrid engines for 2-wheelers. Perhaps in the future these bikes can pull better. For now, just go with the TVS Scooty, Honda Activa or Hero Honda Pleasure. May be your son or daughter can have the pride of saving the environment with smoke free machines.