Why buy it?
- Stylish design
- Good battery range and performance
- Well tuned throttle calibration
Why avoid it?
- Uncomfortable rider's triangle
- Firm ride quality
- Misses centre stand
It’s been nearly 11 months since we last saw the Simple One electric scooter in flesh, but that product was far from ready. Recently, however, we got our hands on a near production-ready scooter to test its performance and features. Do note that these were trial-production models and thus the overall fit and finish weren’t up to the mark.
The folks at Simple Energy assured us that the issues around the fit and finish will be ironed out on the delivery-ready scooters but we will hold our thoughts until we see the final product, most likely in September this year. The main motive behind the media ride, then, was to give us a taste of Simple One’s performance. Here’s what we gauged from the few hours that we spent with the new Simple One.
The Simple One takes a modern approach when it comes to styling. ‘Aggressive’ would be an apt term to describe the design of the scooter, and it features sharp character lines across the bodywork. The front packs an apron-mounted LED headlight and LED turn indicators while the LED DRLs sit on the handlebar. Then, the dual-tone finish to the apron and the body panels enhance the aesthetics and make the scooter look instantly desirable. At the back, the Simple One features a split-style taillight and a stylish pillion grabrail. In fact, the forward-slanting seat design looks aggressive too, but it comes at the cost of comfort. More on that in the latter part of the review.
This product from Simple Energy will be offered in at least four colours while a fifth paint option was under development when we tested the electric scooter. The paint quality of the base colour looked promising but we cannot say the same about the black parts on the scooter. The uneven panel gaps, too, do not help Simple One’s case, but as mentioned in the introduction, these are trial-production scooters. The switchgear quality, too, wasn’t something to write home about.
Keeping aside the fit and finish issues, the Simple One is a very desirable electric scooter by the looks of it. Its styling should appeal to young buyers and the performance will keep even the experienced riders engaged. How much? Let us explain.
Let’s discuss the interesting bits that would appeal to young buyers. The feature list on the Simple One is at par with its rivals, and the electric scooter comes equipped with full-LED lighting and a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-enabled colour-TFT display with touchscreen function. The operations are smooth too, thanks to the 2GB RAM that powers the console.
The software was under BETA test and the first scooter that we received didn’t display the riding modes changes on the screen. The replacement scooter, however, worked better and displayed all the correct information. Apart from the ride-related data, such as modes, range, and speed, the console also stored the scooter’s documents and displayed a map powered by Map My India’s software. There are customisation options too, and the rider can play around with the screen background and the font colour. Further, the production-spec model will be equipped with a cruise-control function, but that wasn’t ready on the units that we tested.
The hardware, too, is at par with the rivals and the Simple One uses telescopic front forks and a rear mono-shock to handle the suspension tasks. The braking setup includes disc brakes on both wheels while the safety net comprises a combined braking system. There’s also the 30-litre under-seat storage that can take in a full-face helmet. Closing the lid, however, takes a slight nudge and it may scratch the paint of the helmet.
The software is still in the Beta mode, which means not all the features worked when we tested the Simple One. What did work though, and pretty impressively, was the chassis, and the electric motor it contained. The Simple One feels properly fast and climbs the speed ladder with a striking pace. It gets four ride modes – Eco, Ride, Dash, and Sonic.
The Eco is the tamest with maximum range while Sonic aims to give all the power that the electric motor can deliver. Not to mention, the Eco mode, despite its economical name, is fairly fast. You can still venture into the high 40s on the speedometer in this mode. Then, the Ride and Dash modes make things even more interesting while reducing the range as compared to the Eco. But it’s the Sonic that hits things out of the park, along with the range. Even with a pillion on board, the electric scooter felt stress-free and properly fast. Simple Energy claims a 0-40kmph acceleration time of 2.77 seconds.
Another good thing is that the Simple One packs two battery packs. The combined range in Eco mode stands at 236km under IDC conditions while the company’s internal tests claim a range of 203km. With almost the entire test ride spent in the Sonic mode and riding with generous throttle input, the battery range dropped from 94 per cent to 38 per cent for a distance of 40km.
Moreover, the chassis complements the performance and the Simple One feels planted at high speeds (read 80kmph and above) and around the corners. For my weight of 68kg (including the riding gear), the suspension felt firm without being too harsh. Heavier riders may find the setup to be a lot plusher. Plus, the braking setup has been tuned for an average scooter rider. Thus, the 190mm rear disc packs a lot more bite than the 200mm front rotor and the setup brings the scooter to a halt at a commendably short distance.
But it isn’t without flaws. Remember the bit where we spoke about the seat in the design part of the review? The forward leaning angle of the saddle makes things uncomfortable while the aggressive design of the apron leaves very little knee room. On the upside, the seat height of just 775mm and a kerb weight of 115kg make it accessible to a wide range of riders and easy to manoeuvre without getting off the scooter. The reverse mode comes in handy too. So, does the Simple One make a strong case?
Should you buy it?
Definitely! The Simple One impresses with its performance and handling characteristics, and it is among the most enjoyable electric scooters I have ridden over the last few years. Its styling is appealing while the technology is promising. The optional 1.4kW home charger, which boasts a charging time of just two hours and is sold for an additional cost of Rs 15,499, further boosts the utility value and gives it an edge over the competition.
The company also plans to have a charging infrastructure called the Simple Loop that will be available at over 300 locations in the first phase. The fast charger can recharge the battery pack at the rate of 2.5km per minute. With a normal charger, the fixed battery pack can be recharged in 2 hours and 45 minutes. The removable battery will fully charge in 75 minutes via a normal charger.
Now, the build quality wasn’t at par with its rivals and these trial-production scooters made some heavy rattling noises during the media rides. We would like to see how the final products turn out and expect to see one in flesh around September this year. Simple Energy is also promising to introduce the electric scooter at the same prices that were announced last year, i.e. Rs 1.10 lakh onwards, which puts it against the big guns like Ather Energy, Bajaj Auto (Chetak), and TVS Motor Company. But given our experience with the Simple One, we can confirm that it packs enough firepower for the battle.
Photography by Kapil Angane