K Shivraj
Friday, 25 January 2019

Promising more power, higher range, and more style, the Okinawa Praise, unlike other escooters, looks like a scooter

The Okinawa Praise adds to the growing crop of two-wheelers in India. Following the Ridge escooter that the company introduced some time ago, the Praise promises more power, higher range, and more style. Claimed to do up to 200 km on a single charge, the new escooter looks attractive. Unlike the poor substitute of styling and dimensions that many escooters present in comparison to conventional ones, the Praise looks like a scooter. What draws attention is the wedge-like motoscooter-inspired styling with that head lamp mounted lower down into the front apron; it forms an integral part of the tapering front appearance. The compact tail section adds to the design appeal. If it adds an amount of contemporariness to the design along with the front, there is one more bit that contributes — the wheels with disc brakes. In fact, the front has dual discs!

Riding on 90/90 12 tyres, the escooter features LED headlamp with DRLs, LED turn indicators, digital speedometer, central locking with anti-theft alarm, and keyless entry. Powered by a 1000-watt brushless DC motor with a maximum power output of 2500-watt, the Praise could be had with either a 72V/45Ah VRLA battery with six to eight hours of charging time or a 72V/45Ah Lithium-ion battery with just an hour of charging time. If the latter is yet to be launched, the escooter has its master switch under the seat. To access it, the key has to be turned right and then left. Upon mounting the Praise, it is apparent at once that the seat is wide enough to seat two comfortably. The switchgear has the horn and turn-indicator switch placed within easy reach on the left. The horn button is unusually placed above the indicator switch. The right headlamp controls are where they should be. Where the start button should ideally be, there’s another horn button. Sans a start switch, all that the escooter requires is the turning of the key. 

Laced with two modes — Eco and Sport, the escooter with an estimated weight of 150kg moves away from standstill smoothly. With no IC engine to account for, the Praise takes it easy in the Eco mode with the top speed limited to 40kmph. In the Sport mode, it performs a bit more sprightly and goes up to a top speed of 60kmph. The pull is reasonable and akin to an escooter. For those wanting more, there’s a small green button below the switchgear that activates what could be termed as a ‘turbo’ mode. In this mode, the escooter simply behaves like it is on steroids. Twist the throttle and the Praise does speeds as high as 75kmph. As far as ride comfort and riding position are concerned, the gap between the footboard and the seat is less than in a conventional scooter. This results in a somewhat ‘knees up’ riding posture and takes time getting used to. The ride over a variety of surfaces is stiff; the front telescopic suspension feels stiffer. The brakes offer good stopping power. The system cuts motor output when the brakes are applied. Given the traffic condition in most cities in India, this arrangement could be hazardous, and especially when manoeuvring considerably or taking a turn. If this speaks about manoeuvring the escooter a bit more carefully, the Praise comes with a charger with the auto cut-off; it plugs into a micro-charging slot. 

Laced with motor walking assist, forward and reverse, a sensor-enabled side-stand, the Okinawa Praise is priced at Rs 60,000 approximately, which is in the price range of most conventional scooters. However, its advantage lies in its low running costs and zero tailpipe emission. If this brings up the issue of whether the energy is coming from a clean source or lignite burning electric power generation centre, the Okinawa Praise scores well, by getting the premise of an escooter close to that of a conventional scooter in terms of mass and visual appeal. 

Pros: Low running costs, visual appeal, zero tailpipe emission
Cons: Initial acquisition cost, total ownership cost

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