The Vida V1 is Hero's first real stab at the electric scooter market
The Vida V1 is Hero's first real stab at the electric scooter marketShot by Avdhoot A Khole for evo India

Hero Vida V1 Pro first ride review | The new electric two-wheeler benchmark?

We ride Hero’s new Vida V1 Plus and the V1 Pro EV scooters to find out if they have what it takes to disrupt the market?

After much anticipation, world leading two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp has finally dipped its toes into the burgeoning EV market, launching their new Vida brand. The Vida umbrella covers Hero’s electric two-wheeler range, presently the Hero Vida V1 Plus and Pro. Pricing starts at Rs 1.45 lakh for the base model Plus and Rs 1.59 lakh for the Pro, making this pair the most pricey electric scooters today in our market. Leading up to this launch, Hero made it clear it didn’t matter that Vida was not amongst the first Indian electric scooters. Hero instead emphasized on wanting their scooter to be the best. So, does the Vida live up to all the hype and hoopla?

We’re just back from a test ride at Hero’s impressive Centre of Innovation and Technology (CIT) outside Jaipur, to pen this first ride review for you.

Hero Vida V1 Pro design

The Vida V1 is a sharp looking scooter
The Vida V1 is a sharp looking scooterShot by Avdhoot A Khole for evo India

The Hero Vida V1 Pro is a striking, decidedly contemporary scooter. It’s smartly proportioned, with a healthy blend of futuristic and conventional. In front, you’re greeted by a funky headlight, flanked by DRLs. Above which you get a windscreen that resembles the Yamaha RayZR.

Just behind, you have a bright 7-inch colour TFT touchscreen display that’s easy on the eyes, even when riding under harsh sunlight. The screen is Bluetooth, 4G and WiFi compatible, so features like geofencing, tracking and turn by turn navigation are all possible. Under the cluster, is a wide exposed handlebar, with its switchgear.

The Vida V1 Pro has a split seat, that opens as a single unit. The underseat storage is also split into two sections, the rear (bigger) half can tuck in a small full-face or half-face helmet and then some knick-knacks. The front (smaller) section holds two removable batteries which leaves precious little space to store small documents or something no larger than a smartphone. Moving to the rear, you see a similar design theme, with two LED strips intertwined into a sleek tail-light. A key differentiating factor between the V1 Pro and Plus are their tags. And if you take a look inside, the capacity of their batteries. The scooter speaks a nice design language, but build quality on our test example was not up to our expectations from such a legacy manufacturer. Some panel gaps were inconsistent, the switchgear felt a touch too flimsy and the lid to access the battery seemed like this was an afterthought.

This was perhaps a preproduction batch issue, that Hero could address before customers receive delivery. More so, because the Vida is set to stand eye-to-eye against the likes of the Bajaj Chetak EV, a direct rival that ticks all the right boxes in all these areas. Overall, the Vida V1 Pro isn’t polarizing, and with its lineup of pastel colour schemes looks handsome with enough panache to appeal to most riders.  

Hero Vida V1 Pro performance and range

The Vida V1 has headline grabbing figures
The Vida V1 has headline grabbing figuresShot by Avdhoot A Khole for evo India

The headline figures of the Hero Vida V1 Pro are 6kW peak power, 165km Indian Driving Conditions (IDC) range, a 3.94kWh battery capacity. 80kmph top-speed and 0-40kmph time of 3.2seconds. Impressive on paper yes, but what does all this translate to, in the real world?

The Vida V1 gets four riding modes, Eco, Ride, Sport and Custom, the last one you can configure through the app which was still not fully ready at the time of this test. In Eco mode, you feel a slight lag before power flows in, but thereafter it picks up pace smoothly. In Ride and Sport, throttle calibration feels spot on, and is very similar to that of a good ICE scooter. The performance track at the CIT consists of a long straight, which allowed us to test just how brisk this scooter is and here’s where the new Hero EV really shines, getting very close to the claimed top speed despite my heft and some heavy crosswind. The Vida V1 Pro gains momentum rather well till upto 50kmph, from whereon you experience a slower, more ‘scooter like’ climb to its top speed.

Which is perfectly acceptable considering that 30-60kmph is where most scooters spend the majority of their life. The CIT also has a few mini fly-overs, which allowed us to gradability test the Vida. And I’m happy to report, the Vida climbed up slopes effortlessly. There’s a two-way throttle system which when twisted beyond the stop position of the throttle in the opposite direction, engages the scooters regeneration setting. The regen felt very mild and never overly intrusive. Hero tells us we will be able to customise the level of regen in the Custom ride mode, which is something we look forward to testing when we receive the Vida for more comprehensive testing. 

In terms of range, the V1 Pro boasts of a larger 3.94kWh battery over the standard Plus variant’s 3.44kWh battery. The Pro claims 165km of IDC range on a full charge over the Plus’s 143km. 0-40kmph times claimed are 3.2seconds and 3.4seconds. Due to the limited time we spent with the Vida, I can’t comment on the range. What is however noteworthy, is that when we got the scooter, both batteries were fully-charged, yet the range calculator never read over 100km. So we don’t know whether this was accurate or due to some pre-production glitch. 

Hero Vida V1 Pro ride and handling

The Vida V1 is a comfortable scooter
The Vida V1 is a comfortable scooterShot by Avdhoot A Khole for evo India

The Vida V1 Pro, despite looking small in photos and even in person, is actually a very comfortable scooter that accommodated me nicely, even though I am a taller/ larger than average rider. The handlebar never got in the way of my knees, which is something that often happens to me on scooters.

The split seat design is roomy and keeps your bottom half well cushioned. The reach to the handlebar also feels extremely comfortable and natural. My opinions on the ride quality of the scooter aren’t however fully formed, as we have only ridden Vida on buttery smooth, well-paved CIT roads till now. But from initial impressions, I gather the suspension is setup on the plusher side, and that it should do a good job of ironing out road undulations, something that we will confirm in our road test.

What I can tell you about, is the way Vida handles. We got a chance to take a few laps around the handling track, and boy, the Vida really felt like a hoot and a half. The Vida V1 Pro is an agile scooter that responds well to steering inputs, and offers neutral handling. No, it doesn’t have the ‘hot knife through butter’ feel of the Ather 450X, but this is a sweet handling scooter in its own right too. I quite enjoyed riding the Vida around the handling track.

The 12-inch wheels and MRF tyres do a good job of providing good grip, even in the wet. Braking comes courtesy of a disc brake in front that’s chomped on by a Bybre calliper. Rear braking duties are handled by a drum. Braking performance is good, with adequate bite and progression. But at this price, as a customer I’d expect the Vida to have disc brakes at both ends and this, with the safety net of dual channel ABS. 

Hero Vida V1 Pro verdict

Should you buy the Vida V1 over its rivals?
Should you buy the Vida V1 over its rivals?Shot by Avdhoot A Khole for evo India

These are just our initial impressions and my full verdict will be all yours once we spend more time with the Hero Vida. But as it stands, we like the Hero Vida V1 Pro, which is a solid offering in the electric two-wheeler segment. Although, does it have what it takes to disrupt the current hierarchy?

Well, not really. The scooter is fine in its own right and the best part is just how conventional it feels. Meaning, it would be very easy for someone who’s been riding ICE scooters forever, to sit on this and instantly get familiar with the EV. Which is one side of the story. For the Vida V1 Pro does have a few shortcomings too.  Build quality is just not up to the mark for a company like Hero MotoCorp. The scooter also doesn’t offer dual-channel ABS. The instrument cluster, though touchscreen and plenty large at 7-inch, doesn’t offer full-fledged navigation, like the Ola S1 Pro or the Ather 450X.

Now normally, I wouldn’t think twice to look past all this, but that was provided the Vida was more competitively priced. The Hero Vida V1 Pro is today the most expensive electric scooter in India and this is where things somehow don’t really add up. We can’t pinpoint any extra kit or appeal for all this extra money the Vida demands. With such lofty pricing, it appears the Vida V1 Pro and Plus while certainly showing plenty of promise, might find themselves hard pressed to script the really grand success story, they actually deserved.

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