Okinawa Praise Review
We spent a couple of days with the PraisePro to find out how convenient, frugal and practical it is to live with.
Pros - Gets impressive features, Delivers decent range, Comes with detachable battery
Cons - Heavy battery pack, Stiff suspension setup, High-set footboard
Okinawa is one of the promising players in the nascent sector of electric two-wheelers in India. With six models in its portfolio and a strong retail network across the country, the company has already established a strong foothold. Now, to further widen its portfolio, the Gurugram-based manufacturer has introduced the PraisePro.
The Pro version is the third member of Praise family which consists of the premium I-Praise Plus with lithium-ion battery and, the more affordable Praise with lead acid battery. The Pro variant is here to sit in between the two for serving the customers with an efficient and modern Li-ion technology, but in a more affordable package than the Plus trim. While that might sound compelling to the prospective e-scooter buyers, we spent a couple of days with the PraisePro to find out how convenient, frugal and practical it is to live with.
The PraisePro boasts of a design which is typical of an electric two-wheeler - Futuristic! However, inch closer and you tend to get skeptical about its built quality. The overall plastic bodywork feels moderately substandard, if not entirely flimsy. Also, the aluminum-finished panels around the instrument cluster could have been more opulent. The overall body paint, however, appears to be a finished job. The switchgear is also built out of solid plastic and the buttons operate with a tactile feel.
Well, what the PraisePro mildly lacks in the quality department, it makes up for it with an eye-catchy styling. The sculpted body panels sport aggressive lines all around, while the stylish LED headlamp and tail lamp further accentuate the appeal. The faux air intake on the handlebar-cowl, aluminum-finished bar ends and angular grab rails make for some nice visual touches. Lastly, the 12-inch wheels shod with knobby tyres look rugged and ready for varying road surfaces.
While scooters are expected to offer a neutral riding stance, the PraisePro doesn’t meet the expectations. Courtesy the placement of electric motor underneath, the footboard is set too high resulting in awkwardly folded knees. Not only does this make the foot-down-foot-up action a task in busy traffic but also starts hurting the back even after half an hour of riding. However, considering the short spins the PraisePro is meant to be used for, this shouldn't pose a major problem. Besides that, the seat is wide and comfy and the handlebar is ideally placed, which overcomes the footboard problem to some extent.
Talking about the ride quality, the telescopic forks up front and dual rear shock absorbers are tuned on the stiffer side which evoke solid jolts on rough roads. Thus, going slow through patchy roads and speed breakers is an ideal option. The traffic maneuverability is impressive courtesy of the compact dimensions and light weight. However, reaching the horn switch is a hassle as it is placed above the turn indicator switch. But there’s a second horn button on the right side which is conventionally-placed.
The PraisePro packs a 2kW lithium-ion battery which powers a 1kW BLDC motor rated to produce 2.5kW of peak power. The whole setup works efficiently in favour of the PraisePro. The scooter delivers the traditional torquey experience of an electric two-wheeler, from the moment you wring the accelerator. The surge of torque can be felt from zero rpm which stays until it tops out. Although it is not fairly quick, overtaking slow-moving vehicles in traffic is easily doable.
However, that was about Sports mode. There’s an Eco mode too which delivers a top speed of around 40kmph in the pursuit of delivering longer range. The acceleration is also quite sluggish. Essentially, this mode is suitable only for quick errands while the Sports mode, with a top speed of about 70kmph, is suitable for slightly longer rides as well. The latter can also be boosted by engaging the Turbo mode which increases the top speed by 4-6kmph. Although the performance of the PraisePro is usable, the accelerator occasionally has a response lag while modulating it at low speeds in traffic. This results in the rider rocking back and forth during on-off acceleration at low speeds.
The e-scooter is equipped with disc brakes on both ends. While that sounds impressive, the rear brake does a poor job of sloughing off speed as it lacks feel and bite. Here, the front brake comes to rescue as it delivers the necessary stopping power with enough progression to avoid locking the front wheel.
A comprehensive list of features is a norm amongst electric two-wheelers and the PraisePro does fit the bill in that aspect. Accompanying the scooter key is a remote control sporting four buttons. One of them is the lock key which, once engaged, activates a high-pitched alarm if one switches ON the ignition with the key. You can deactivate this siren by pressing the ‘alarm’ button. However, for preventing the siren from blowing off the next time you start the scooter with the key, you need to ‘unlock’ this feature by the dedicated button when the scooter is off. The remote control also comes with an ignition button for starting the scooter remotely. Once ignited, turning it off requires you to press the ‘lock’ button on the controller while the mechanical key is off.
Fancy as it may sound, the controller-based features are equally confusing and take time to get used to. Also, nearly every button-press on the controller is accompanied by a loud beep sound which can neither be softened nor deactivated.
Now, let’s get down to the prime matter of concern with electric scooters - battery charging. The battery pack of the PraisePro is a 2kW removable unit which comes with an 84V/10A charger. While this allows for charging the battery safely inside the house, the 12kg weight of the pack makes for a labour-intensive task to remove and carry it around. Moving the battery for charging could be exhaustive for a majority of users. Also, the large battery eats up all the space under the seat and you’re left with just a tiny compartment for storage. Embedded within the key fob, the seat opening function is crude and takes quite an effort to function. However, the scooter gets a pair of large open glove boxes on the front, with USB charging port, while the large footboard is also useful.
The PraisePro sports a fully-digital instrument cluster which displays speed, RPM, battery level, riding time, odometer and trip meter which resets every time the ignition is turned off. It also displays the activated riding mode in the form of 1 (for ECO), 2 (for Sports) and 3 (for Turbo). The simple layout and clear fonts make the display profoundly legible. We may be asking for too much, but a Bluetooth-compatible console would have added brownie points.
The battery of the PraisePro takes around three to four hours to get fully charged. While the ARAI-claimed battery range in Eco mode stands at 110km, our test returned 87.5km which is acceptable. What’s impressive is that the acceleration was unaffected even after clocking 80km.
Fitness of Purpose
With the PraisePro, Okinawa has filled the wide price gap between the Praise and i-Praise Plus. It gets the convenience of a removable battery with Lithium-ion technology that is meant to have a longer life cycle, lesser charging time and longer range as compared to the lead acid batteries. Not to forget the nifty features it offers. Now, considering its price tag of Rs 71,990, the PraisePro is competitively priced amongst other electric scooters in India. To give you a perspective, the Ampere Zeal is closely priced at Rs 69,599 (ex-showroom, Delhi) but it gets a smaller battery pack, longer rated charging time, smaller motor and lesser features.
The PraisePro is fairly modern, packs in a decent performance and range and looks attention-grabbing. However, the excruciating task of moving the heavy battery pack majorly takes away the convenience factor. Yes, you can install a plug point in your parking area for charging the battery. But, does everyone have a garage secure enough to leave the battery charging for hours? On a different note, we may not spend long hours in the saddle of an electric scooter everyday, but better ergonomics and plusher suspension setup would always be welcome. In a nutshell, the PraisePro fits the bill of eco-friendly and new-age mobility, but there are plenty of rough edges which need to be smoothened for now.
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi
Full Review-Hide Review