By the end of this year, Benling India Energy & Technology is expected to release their high-speed Aura electric scooter.
The Aura has received approval from various government-approved certification agencies like the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT), and manufacturing has already begun at Benling’s plant in Manesar, Haryana.
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Here are some of its features, that are tailor-made for the average Indian consumer:
1) Powered by a 1200W BLDC electric motor and detachable 72V/40Ah lithium-ion battery, the scooter will give you a range of 110-120 km on a single charge with a top speed of 60 km/hour.
2) The detachable battery can be fully charged via a conventional household power socket anywhere, and it will take four hours to charge it to 100%.
3) Weighing at a light 95 kg, it will offer a ground clearance of 165 mm, which is better than the 130-150 mm offered by another fossil fuel-powered and electric scooters as well.
4) The Aura is also equipped with a remote keyless system, which means that within a few yards of the scooter, you can press a button on the remote and start and stop the vehicle.
5) It is also equipped with an anti-theft alarm, an additional rear-wheel integrated locking system, and a USB mobile charging facility. Reports indicate that the Benling Aura is expected to be priced around Rs 90,000 (ex-showroom).
6) “A major feature of our scooter is the Breakdown Smart Assistance System (BSAS). Today, if any electrical component of a scooter suffers minimal damage, it will more often than not break down. But we are offering a feature whereby if there are small problems with the controller, battery, motor or BMS, which can cause the scooter to stop, you can press the BSAS button, and the vehicle will continue to run. Only the speed will come down to 15-20 km/hour, and mileage will be affected,” said Paritosh Dey, Executive Director of Benling India to The Better India.
“Essentially, this system allows the scooter to travel 15-20 km with a simple push of a button in the case of a breakdown,” says Bike Dekho, although Dey argues that the distance will depend on the battery charge available.
Benling India Energy & Technology started operations in May 2019. In the last few months, the firm has already successfully launched three low-speed models, including the Kriti, Falcon and Icon.
With a battery range of 70-75 km after a single charge, their features are more or less the same as the Aura in terms of push buttons, smart key, anti-theft alarms, USB charging ports, etc. The difference is that Aura has better battery life, speed and BSAS.
One exciting feature of these electric scooters that deserves mention is the smart parking assistance.
What is it?
“When we stop our EV on the side of the street to say have a quick chat with a friend, we don’t usually stop our engine. For EVs, this has become an issue. On the touch of a smart parking assistance button, the scooter will not move forward irrespective if you press the accelerator or not,” says Dey.
How does he see the current EV market in India?
“Compared to China, which is the biggest electric two-wheeler market, India still has some way to go. However, governments can play a major role. In China, towards the end of the last decade, the government imposed a whole set of tough regulations against ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles. While I’m not seeking the same here, we need to establish a thriving ecosystem for electric vehicles, comprising of the vehicle, its specific components and charging infrastructure,” explains Dey.
While China has around 3 lakh charging stations, India has about 150. The difference is massive.
Elaborating on this, Dey states, “Before buying an electric vehicle, consumers will look for basic charging infrastructure, and we need to work with the government and different stakeholders to make sure that it is in place. Meanwhile, localization of components will enhance the cost-effectiveness of the vehicle and bring in variety to existing models. For greater localization to happen, we need more investment by companies making these components for and in India.”
The government is planning to order manufacturers to sell only electric three-wheelers from April 2023 and electric two-wheelers under 150cc from April 2025 onwards.
This step, announced earlier this year, is an attempt to reduce pollution and promote EVs, giving companies an excellent opportunity to further electric two-wheelers production.
“I can see the market expand 20 times by 2025,” claims a hopeful Dey.
“In FY2019, total EV sales in India crossed the 7,50,000-units mark and reached a total of 7,59,600 units. This includes electric two-wheelers (1,26,000), electric three-wheelers (6,30,000) and electric passenger vehicles (3,600), which translates into electric two-wheelers witnessing triple-digit growth (130 per cent) year-on-year (YoY). Interestingly, while the FY2019 statistics reveal a significant year-on-year jump, the ground reality – after the government’s announcement of the much-awaited FAME II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles) scheme in early April –looks to be quite shocking,” says this report in Autocar India.
In other words, this is just a drop in the ocean compared to the ICE-powered vehicle industry.
There is a lot of catching up to do, but we are getting there.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)
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