Evolution is never rapid nor linear. That first fish plopping out of the water to Usain Bolt running the 100m in 9.58 seconds took almost half a billion years. We can somehow correlate this to electric scooters. That is because despite being around for a while now, they still have a long way to go before the youth choose them over ICE-powered runabouts. Sure, there are a few flashes in the pan, like the Ather 450. But the average Joe can choose from a range of motorcycles (and conventionally powerful ones at that) at the asking price of an Ather. And lastly, the chief grouse of a limited distance on a full charge remains. So how well does the Avan Motors Xero+ rise to the challenge?
Let’s talk aesthetics first. The Avan Motors Xero+ looks quite like a run-of-the-mill scooter, but with all its dimensions uniformly reduced. It looks positively anaemic and elicited a few chuckles from people what with six-foot me astride it. But all things considered, I’m nit-picking here. Electric scooters are targeted at the early teen crowd. So the average 15 or 16-year-old won’t look out of place riding it.
“It looks positively anaemic, and elicited a few chuckles from people what with six-foot me astride it”
So what does the Xero+ offer?
As for the kit on offer, the Avan Motors Xero+ hasn’t much worth writing home about. While the motorcycles of today have migrated to brighter (and energy-saving) LED headlights, the Xero+ still makes do with conventional halogen bulbs. These are neither particularly bright nor do they have a wide enough beam spread. But it does have some redeeming factors. The sensor-enabled side stand means the scooter won’t budge till the stand is raised. The Xero+ also lets out a helpful chime when the ignition is shut with the battery still connected. It also cuts all drive to the wheel when the rider engages the brakes. The Xero+ gets telescopic shocks and a disc up front. This gives it a setup that’s on par with a few conventional options.
What’s the motor like?
Not surprisingly, there’s no motor here. An 800W battery with 48V/24Ah capacity powers the Xero+. This battery has a charging time of approximately four hours. The scooter easily achieves its 45kmph top speed. A helpful feature of the Xero is the inclusion of three ‘gears’ which are ‘shifted’ via a switch, which limits the top speed to 35 in the first gear and 41 in the second.
However, there is one small flaw. The gears cycle through and the rider cannot toggle through them. This means that if you’re in third gear at 45kmph and press the shift switch, the scooter hits a flat spot before gradually slowing down to 35. Nothing disconcerting, as the retardation is far from sudden, but I still think an up-and-down knob would have made a lot more sense. That said, being an EV, there are no vibrations whatsoever. Acceleration is slower than your average 110cc scoot, but that’s not a problem. Maxing out at 45kmph when there is room to go faster can get annoying.
The Xero+ seems to be a sprightly ride as its low-down mass and sharp front end makes flicking it from side to side in rush hour traffic an absolute breeze. But, there are chinks in its armour, one of them being a stiff suspension. A lot of the bumps filter up to your backside, and not just that, it leads to a fair bit of rattling on the bike primarily from the stand which keeps whacking the bodywork. The tyres too, don’t really help though they’re grippy enough to handle sudden changes in direction, the measly 3-inch section causes them to tramline a fair bit. Lastly, the brakes do their part but one needs to really coax them to bring the scooter to a standstill.
“The tyres too, don’t really help though they’re grippy enough to handle sudden changes in direction, the measly 3-inch section causes them to tramline a fair bit”
We got the single battery variant of the Xero Plus, which the company claims is good for about 60km on a full charge. However, there is no real way to judge that, as the battery charge meter in the instrument gauge seems to show full even after a 30km trip despite battery needing to be charged for a good hour before the light on its charger flashes green.
Should you buy the Avan Motors Xero+?
Avan Motors has built the Xero+ for eco-friendly intra-city travel. However, it has quite a lot going against it. It’s not the most comfortable, fast or feature-rich. At the price point it’s at Rs 46,900 for the single-battery variant and Rs 56,900 for the dual-battery variant), it is pitted against competitors like the Okinawa Ridge and the Hero Electric Photon, both of which have some features, like a faster charging battery (Photon), tubeless tyres (Ridge), which surpass the Xero+. It remains a convenient option with a fair amount of range but faces strong competition from these better-equipped electric rivals.