The boring backstory
My Dad has never owned a motorised vehicle. He was comfortable riding a bicycle. He does not have a driving licence and at his age it may not be as easy to get it. I had coaxed him several times and he never opted for it.
I had heard about slow Electric bikes that don't require a licence. So to help him from the frequent leg pains he gets pedalling the cycle which he borrows from my niece, I decided to invest in one.
I had seen an Okinawa in our building estate and Google showed me that there is a dealer in town. The first thing I did, was contact @nikhilbirbhan140 for advice. He came back to me suggesting Hero Electric and PureEV.
I contacted the local dealer who has Hero vehicles, they didn't have the Hero Electric bikes. The local Honda dealer said, "Hum sirf petrol bechte he". So we visited the Okinawa dealer.
The Okinawa dealer had a small shop. He had just closed his other branch due to economic effects of the pandemic. They had 5 scooters on display and they said they have some more in the warehouse. We told the salesperson that we were in the market for an electric scooter that does not need a licence. He recommended the Tiranga over the Okinawa R30. We were given a thorough explanation of the scooter and it's features and they gave Dad a test drive. I had a go on it later too. Since Dad liked it, we ended up buying it.
The Tiranga Vyom is a local electric scooter made by Tiranga Autotech at their factory in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra. The company was incorporated in 2019 and as such is a relatively new startup on the market. Their website lists the Vyom as the only model available with the option of Lead Acid or Lithium Ion for the battery. However, only Lithium Ion option was available at the dealer. He said they no longer sell the Lead acid ones.
The website lists the Vyom as having a 60V28Ah battery, but what we got was 48V28Ah 1344Wh Li-Ion battery. The manual lists 4 options for the battery which includes the 48V28Ah Li-Ion and Lead acid. The dealer did tell us it's 48V and showed us the battery too.
The battery compartment lid seems to be manually cut through the luggage area below the seat and held together by a metal hinge. An orange piece of metal is provided to hold the battery in place. Most probably the injection moulding for the body is shared with other non EV scooters. Hopefully this changes in the future as Electric scooters gains more adoption in the market.
The luggage compartment however isn't great for heavy objects, because the plastic lid can slid below the compartment as the small metal stopper they have installed isn't very great. You can store light objects in there though. The capacity isn't much but should be enough for little amounts of groceries.
The scooter is equipped with a 250 Watt Brushless DC in-wheel motor powering the rear tires. For a slow speed scooter it's probably an alright spec. The scooter is rated to handle 175 Kg of load which should be good enough for 2 people. I and my dad total up 160Kg and the scooter was running very smoothly when we were driving.
The scooter has a 3 speed setting and has a reverse gear too. The speed setting allows the scooter to accelerate to a maximum of 45 Kmph. There is also a Park switch. The vehicle is usually in Park mode when turned on and the Park switch needs to be pressed to put in drive. I know, It should have been labelled D instead for drive, but the same switch can be used to put the bike back in Park mode.
The reverse gear is a switch on the left handle which you need to press to activate and the scooter will reverse, when you throttle, to a maximum of 5kmph.
Brakes & Suspension
The scooter comes with telescopic suspensions in the front and rear. The rear suspension is a bit too soft especially when riding double seat and you can feel the bike bouncing multiple times when it goes over the speed hump.
The brakes in the rear are standard drum brakes, but the front comes equipped with disc brakes. The scooter is supposed to have regen braking too, but I don't think it was set to strong nor does it have a setting for adjusting the regen strength. I feel the setting at which, it is right for slow speed scooter like this. You don't want it to slow down suddenly or stop when you are in slow moving traffic.
Safety and Security
The scooter comes with some safety features like the side stand. When the side stand is engaged, the bike will not accelerate until you disengage it. This does not work with main stand. The scooter can accelerate when on main stand.
The handles have LED indicators on the outside that glow white when the lights are on and yellow on the side you are indicating. This is helpful at night so the people around you are aware of your intent to turn left or right.
There is a built in anti-theft alarm system and the key comes with a wireless fob that you can use to activate/deactivate the alarm system, trigger the alarm or just beep. somewhat similar to what you have with cars. This is a good feature as it alerts you if anyone is messing with your scooter. The dealer did not mention this feature to us. We learnt about it when a kid who was playing nearby decided the scooter was a toy and got on it. Note that if the alarm system is armed it won't disable when you insert the key and will trigger the alarm. You need to disable it via the fob. That, I think is an oversight or a consequence of putting 2 systems from different vendors together.
The dash is a simple digital display which shows all the relevant information like the odometer, speed, gear selection, battery charge status, etc. The charge level isn't very granular. It just shows 4 quarters. From 100% it drops to 75% and then to 50% and so on. There is also no companion app like some high end scooters from Okinawa or Ather have.
The scooter comes with an option to charge with the battery in the scooter or detach the battery and charge it separately.
The onboard plug is located near the front of the seat. It's a standard kettle plug(IEC C14). There is a trip switch located under the seat that is recommended to be turned off when charging. You can do this when you get your charger out of the storage compartment. The charger does not have a charge level indicator. It only has 1 LED that glows red when charging and green when fully charged.
You can also charge your mobile phone or other USB devices when operating the vehicle via a USB Type A port provided near the front.
The vehicle comes with 1 year warranty on body and 2 years on battery. If you treat the battery well, it will definitely last longer than 5 or 10 years. The dealer recommends maintenance every 2000km, but having driven an Electric car, I feel that is an overkill for an EV. It's probably a rollover from the legacy era of dealerships that they are sticking to.
The price is INR 66,000 and for that amount it is a decent scooter considering the TCO and the cost savings on fuel and maintenance.
For a vehicle that can do 60-70km on a charge (depending on load and throttle), this is a good electric scooter for those who want to get one without having to worry about licence. It is lightweight and is capable of carrying 2 people and has enough luggage space for local shopping. It is meant to be an urban vehicle for short trips and it does the job perfectly. The anti-theft alarm is an added bonus that gives a peace of mind. The build quality is not bad and the scooter looks & feels sturdy as well as drives well too giving you a comfortable ride.
There is room for improvement though. It would be helpful to have a granular charge level indicator instead of the 4 quarters, both on the dash and the charger. The battery/storage compartment design needs to be improved so that the battery area can be made leak proof and the lid separating the storage area from the battery area could be made sturdy and given some kind of a rubber seal to prevent leakages.
Out of 10, I would give this 7 mainly for the things I mentioned in the above paragraph. Otherwise it's a good scooter and a good effort from by local startup.