Range, battery and charging
The first question that always pops up in a conversation on electric vehicles is about the range. Gemopai claims that the Astrid Lite can attain a max range of 90km on a single charge when driven in the Economy mode, and then goes down with increasing speed and driving patterns.
In our use (based on the inbuilt odometer), we were able to get 70kms of range when driving it across Mumbai, with over 90% of the journey in the Sports mode, which is in line with Gemopai’s estimates. Admittedly, we often rode at max acceleration to feel the instant torque. A more gradual ascend would have made the trips more efficient.
As for charging, the Astrid Lite has a removable 1.7kW lithium-ion battery. There’s a charging point on the scooter, but unless you have a charging point available at your parking, the home-charging option will be much more convenient. It takes about 3.5 hours to go from empty to full while using the included charger, which connects to any AC plug point. There’s a regulator box in the middle that has a cooling fan as well as the charging status indicator. It was very convenient to charge it one afternoon every couple of days.
What wasn’t convenient was the entire process of removing or installing the battery. Firstly you need to access the battery bay under the seat, remove the straps, which are the only things that hold the battery in place. Then you’ll need to remove the battery by yanking it out at the most awkward angle. The battery itself weighs a meaty 8.5kgs. Installing it is even more annoying as it enters the silo only vertically, but has to be placed horizontally and will thus require you to put your arm deep under the battery while avoiding the sharp metal on the sides.
Overall, we were pretty satisfied with the range of the Astrid Lite and is an easy recommendation for anyone whose daily commute is less than 50km. Factor in the fuel cost savings and the deal becomes sweeter. A full charge consumes less than two units of energy, which in my residential complex converts to less than Rs 10.
Safety and features
Let’s quickly touch upon the safety features on the Gemopai Astrid Lite before talking about the final verdict. Along with the regular key lock, the remote can be used to enable a second lock, which will restrict the scooter from being moved (by engaging the motor in the opposite direction) and turn on alarms in case someone touches it.
The engine will also stay disengaged when the side stand is propper, but an actual engine status indicator on the dashboard would have been appreciated. Remember, this is not an ICE vehicle, and will thus make no sound or vibration when it is turned on. An extra layer of information here will help avoid accidents. The Ather 450’s digital dashboard has a big section dedicated to just displaying the current engine status.
And for everyone who’s paranoid about having a fully charged box of energy in your scooter all the time, there’s the main switch breaker that can be turned off. Yes, it is precisely what you’d imagine it to be.
There are two ways to look at the Gemopai Astrid Lite if you are legitimately considering to buy one. If cost savings drive your decision, then the Rs 80,000 upfront cost will need more prolonged daily usage to offset the fuel cost savings. It’s definitely possible, and it will be a fun ride too.
Secondly, if you are just looking to get an electric scooter to get a feel of tomorrow, and are okay with the early adopter costs and risks, then the Astrid Lite is one of the safest options that we can recommend and is readily available. The Ather 450 is not only much more expensive, but it also a more polarizing vehicle (in the good way) overall that is sure to grab the attention of those around you. Basically, if you want your EV to feel advanced and smart, the Astrid Lite might not be the best choice. If your budget is a little flexible, the upcoming Ather 450X deserves consideration too.