All charged up

K SHIVRAJ
Saturday, 15 July 2017

The electric two-wheeler Okinawa Ridge, which is better ridden in E mode, is light and nimble

More than 40,000 electric two-wheelers were sold under the FAME scheme promoted by the Indian Government after it came to power in 2014. The second phase of the programme is expected to roll out in September as the current one ends. On the eve of this change, the Okinawa Ridge scooter makes for an interesting ride. Named after a Japanese military island that has a US military base, Okinawa specialises in the manufacture of electric two-wheelers.

Weighing 96 kg, the Ridge looks like a conventional scooter rather than a poor alternative. Least to say, the Ridge is well designed; sharp curves and flowing lines define the styling. They also provide a substantial mass. Structured on a wheelbase of 1235mm, the Ridge, like a conventional scooter, offers an upright riding position. The foot board is spacious, the build quality is decent, and the keys of this electric scooter are unique. The pair is a shape of key-blades. There’s a pair of fobs too. An alarm can be armed with the use of key fob. The key-blade is required to open the seat and turn on the ignition. Under the switch is an electric fuse that turns on the bike for use. Sharp beeps later, the Ridge is ready to roll.

Three ride modes
The handlebars of the well-designed scooter with contrasting shades is wide and high. In comparison, the seat padding is soft. Instrument is all digital, and indicates speed and charge, among others. Switch-gear takes an amount of time to get used to and is unusual in its layout.

Taking off in near silence, the Ridge gets up to double-digit speed quite quickly and it does not matter what mode one is riding in. While instant torque provides good traction, in the E mode, the scooter quickly climbs past 20kmph. In the S mode, the scooter makes faster progress.

Reaching top speed of 50-51kmph does not take intense effort. Turn the throttle in S for quicker getaway and the battery charge indicator, after some time, starts to show that the battery is draining quickly. The drain light also starts to flash.

Change over to the E mode, and the battery indicator displays two or three bars. Perhaps a way of discouraging excess use of the battery, the 80-watt hub mounted motor of the Ridge, for most part, provides silent propulsion force. Its source of power is a 60-volt battery pack, made up of five batteries, and placed under the seat. The charging point is located under the seat, and at the front.

Zero emission
The Ridge feels light and nimble to ride. The telescopic front forks and twin-damped coil springs at the rear form the suspension of the scooter. There is a stiff edge to the ride, but irregularities are tackled well. An unmarked speed hump could however bottom out the suspension; it may have to do because of a heavy-weight rider.

Offering a range of 70 to 90km on a full charge, the Ridge is better ridden in E mode for most part. Some inclines will call for engaging the S mode. Priced at Rs 42,000 ex-showroom Maharashtra, the Ridge makes a good zero emission runabout. A 70 to 90km range on a full charge, which takes 6 to 8 hours of charging, are the limiting factors.

Pros: Looks conventional, zero emission, nimble
Cons: Limited range, top speed

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