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The Greaves Ampere Zeal seems to be the first step in a million-mile journey
The Zeal electric scooter, from Ampere, Greaves Cotton’s EV arm, is here to change people’s perception of electric scooters as ‘slow’ and ‘whiny’. And right off the bat, the bright headlight, comfy seat and 55kmph top speed makes it feel like any contemporary scooter, until you feel the instant response from the wheel-mounted motor!
The adequate, scooter-like proportions, telescopic forks and conventional tyres, (not some spindly, low-friction jobby) means the Zeal filters through traffic nicely. Score one!
The brakes, too, are a trick, cutting off power when you touch the lever, with the combined (or ‘Harmonised’ as Ampere calls it) braking, keeping everything copacetic, despite the all-drum setup. The regeneration feature reroutes kinetic energy lost while coasting or braking back into the battery, which meant I still had two bars left on the meter after the 60km ride. Also, the lower of the two riding modes limits the top speed to 39kmph, making the claimed 75km range perfectly doable. Another convenient feature is the secondary charging point on the body that you can connect via cable to an outlet, and the switch under the seat can be turned off to avoid losing charge when parking the Zeal for extended periods.
The firm ride, coupled with the low 78kg kerb weight, makes the ride feel decidedly skittish on bad stretches. The battery, despite the admirable range, takes about six hours to top up, and its underseat location leaves precious little storage space. The chime every time you switch off the Zeal may help forgetful people, but it gets irritating very soon. And if you activate the ‘lock’ function on the key fob (yup!), the Zeal will let out a real cacophony when the wheels sense any movement at all, again an overkill.
Quirks aside, the Zeal has a lot going for it, at a price which, post the drop in GST rates for EVs, stands at Rs 66,949 (ex-showroom). Now, though it is a bit costlier than the Honda Activa 5G STD (Rs 55,829, ex-showroom), there’s also the small matter of almost negligible running costs (fuel, service/parts). And considering the fact that you’ll be not only be recouping your investment within a few years, but also slashing your carbon footprint, I’d call it a bargain