With the traditional fuel sources coming to an end and pollution levels wrecking all the records, an alternate mode of mobility must be promoted and adopted. The automobile industry is already in the action mode and a number of international and home-grown manufacturers have launched their electric vehicles. But, the majority of those products are pretty much capable of burning a hole in our pockets and they do not address the daily urban commuting.
The electric two-wheeler segment is still evolving and only a few two-wheeler manufacturers have launched their full-fledged electric vehicles. Hero Electric is one of those manufacturers who pioneered the e-bike/e-scooter segment in India and launched a number of products showcasing that EVs can be an accessible segment. The Hero Electric Optima is the highest selling e-bike of India for over six years now. Hero Electric has two range of products - the High-Speed Series and the Low-Speed Series. Hero Electric Optima HS500-ER is the 2019 facelift version of the Optima which lies in the Hero Electric's High-Speed Series. We took the soon-to-be-launched Hero Electric Optima HS500-ER for a test ride and tried to check what the facelift version of Hero Electric's popular e-bike has to offer.
The Hero Electric Optima HS500-ER boasts of aerodynamic design and looks like a conventional scooter. The large headlamp consisting of the LED bulb has adequate brightness. The tail lamp and side indicators are equipped with conventional bulbs. The Optima HS500-ER runs on 16-inch alloy wheels at both front and back and look very stylish. The single-piece seat has got a good amount of cushioning and it is very comfortable for both the rider and the pillion. The Optima HS500 also has a small luggage rack. The tail of the e-scooter is a bit pointy and looks sporty. The switches on the Optima HS500 are neatly moulded and look quite premium. The Optima HS500 will be made available in three colour options - Cyan, Matte Red and Matte Grey. The Hero Electric Optima HS500-ER sports great fit and finish.
The Hero Electric Optima HS500-ER is powered by an efficient 600-watt motor, capable of churning out 1300 watt of peak power. The Optima has a top speed of 42 kmph but we majorly rode it at 35 kmph amidst the bumper to bumper city traffic. This e-scooter has two high performance, portable lithium-ion batteries. The secondary battery acts as a distance range expander and the Optima HS500-ER has a combined distance range of 110 Km per charge. Both the batteries are placed in different compartments under the seat. While both the batteries are connected to the e-scooter simultaneously, only one is in the active usage form. To select a battery, the rider has to use the toggle switch placed near the under seat storage box. Both the batteries take around 4 hours each to get completely charged.
The Hero Optima HS500-ER agile, light and peppy to ride. The e-scooter will add all the fun in your daily commute. The Optima HS500 easily climbs the flyover, you just need to wide open the throttle and the Optima will do its job. Although, the stored battery power takes the count for doing so and ultimately it decreases the distance range. The telescopic suspension setup takes on the potholes and bad road conditions quite easily without impacting the rider's lower back. If you are a user of a conventional petrol-driven vehicle, it would take some time for you to get used to the electric-scooter. Also, the Optima HS500 has no mechanical sound, so the rider needs to be a bit careful to avoid accidental throttling. There's no ignition button and you just have to turn the key to switch on the e-scooter.
The Optima HS500-ER sports an all-digital instrument panel. The instrument panel consists of an Odometer, speedometer, trip meter and battery power status indicator. The digital instrument cluster misses out on a distance range reminder and the rider has to gauge the distance range from the battery power indicator. The Optima HS500-ER has got a 3-year warranty on both the e-scooter and the battery pack. This ultimately brings down the overall running cost and it becomes almost negligible. The e-scooter also has a USB charging port, which comes handy when you want to charge your mobile or wireless earphones.