The combination of “electricity” and “life” usually elicits the third word, “Frankenstein.” No, this is not that sort of tale. Honestly, I’ve been following the competition to create India’s top motorcycle app with considerable interest. Everyone is looking for the best possible pricing on the best available screen, range, and charging options. Several businesses have attempted to solve this enviable problem with variable degrees of success (and the other thing), in light of India’s recent hesitant love with electric vehicles. And everyone is waiting expectantly for the behemoth to join the fray over their shoulders. The mammoth has arrived, but it goes by a brand new moniker: Vida is Hero MotoCorp’s electric forearm.
In Spanish, “vida” means “life,” thus the goal of this brand is clear: to change the way people all over the world experience life on two wheels. It’s important to take note whenever a Hero makes a public declaration of intent. A new electric scooter called the Vida V1 awaits us when we get there. The Plus and the Pro versions exist, and their distinctions are described for your perusal on the web. My goal here is simply to provide a quick first impression and shed some light on the decisions Hero made in developing the V1.
Hero Vida V1 Looks
With regards to its physical design, the V1 combines both intriguing and unusual features. The LED headlight and tail-light have LED DRLs that seem like horizontal palms facing each other, as if they’re defending something, and the floating slats on the apron and flanks look great, too. Maybe it’s life. The wheels are beautifully designed as well, and a tiny fairing sits atop the massive screen mounted to the handlebar. The tail is meant to be a modular item, and a future model will remove the pillion seat to make room for extra storage, but these design choices seem to prioritise function over form. Indeed, the preview image seemed far more appealing than the actual vehicle I rode. I understand that my opinion may not be shared by others, but the V1’s cheap plastic and uninspired layout left me cold. There will be more on that later). Another great concept is to have removable batteries that can be charged via a plug-in, although my aching back would disagree after having to remove the 11.5-kg packs from under the seat on multiple occasions.
Hero Vida V1 Features
The V1’s 7-inch touchscreen is well-designed and simple to use, and it comes packed with enough capabilities to compete with your smartphone. I was able to navigate its settings and functions with ease while wearing gloves. One of the most useful features is keyless entry, and many other conveniences have emerged because of the ease with which an electric scooter enables them. Tablets that can be mounted on handlebars open up a world of possibilities, including cruise control, reverse gear, a two-way throttle, and a variety of “connected” capabilities, as well as an emergency stop button. Okay, the anti-theft alarm could be useful, but I wonder how long its battery would live if left alone in a neighbourhood full of kids who know the scooter hoots if prodded.
Hero Vida V1 Battery & Power
The V1 Pro’s battery has a 3.94 kWh capacity, its motor has a peak output of 6 kW (8 bhp) and a constant output of 3.9 kW (5.23 bhp), and its maximum torque is 2.55 Nm. The Hero R&D team also told us that the WOT range is roughly 70 km in Sport mode, 115 km in Eco mode, and something in between with Ride mode. In passing, I’d like to say that “wide open throttle,” or “WOT,” is my favourite condition type. Expect the maximum range to be significantly better than those estimates, closer to the promised 165 km, as that is not actually practical all of the time in the real world. However, if you prefer to make your own adjustments in Custom mode, you can do it with the help of an app (of course).
The V1 Pro’s pleasant whine prevented it from sounding like a kitchen appliance while on the run. At least that’s how I felt after racing around one of the test tracks at Hero’s state-of-the-art CIT centre during a downpour. Hero advertises an 80 kph top speed, and after hitting the wall of electronic confinement, I cruised over the narrow roads at an indicated 83 kph with little effort. I just drove in Sport mode to get a feel for the scooter, but I’ve heard that the other settings tone things down a bit to increase the scooter’s range. Accordingly, the V1 Pro’s performance is about par for the course for electric vehicles; I couldn’t determine if it was better or worse than any of its natural competitors, and any changes are likely to be tiny.
The welcome surge of electric torque was generated by twisting the regulator, but it diminished after 45 kilometres per hour. The hero’s claimed acceleration of 0 to 40 kilometres per hour in 3.2 seconds is entirely plausible. However, there are no unexpected surprises in the immediate and linear response from a stop of the regulator. Since there are no discernible vibrations, genuine noise, or sensations when riding an electric scooter, there isn’t much else to say about the experience. That’s right, the V1 Pro’s body didn’t make a peep or a squeak, so it should be fine on the bumpy roads of India. But the V1 Pro’s manoeuvrability is what made it fun to ride.
Hero Vida V1 Ride Quality
On the test track, the V1 Pro’s 125-kilogram frame didn’t show any signs of weakness in its ability to manoeuvre. Similar to making a comment on the ride quality, claiming to have captured a unicorn would be a stretch, given the complete lack of imperfections on both of the tracks we travelled. Even though the track was wet, the V1 Pro handled the high-speed banking with ease and inspired a great deal of confidence in me. When I took the scooter for a spin, it was just as ready to travel any route I chose as it had been before, and it never once grew uneasy. The V1 Pro’s powerful brakes allowed it to bite into dry lines on damp turns, its 12-inch wheels ensured it remained stable at extreme leans, and its surge of electric power propelled it out of one corner and into the next. I have to say it’s a lot of fun. But given that it’s a scooter from Hero, an electric scooter manufacturer, does it live up to our high expectations.
Hero Vida V1 Price
I guess we’ll find out how serious Indians are about being green when we consider the scope and reach of Hero. The room became silent when the V1 pair’s pricing was revealed (in a dome in the shape of the Earth, no less), suggesting that the audience had assumed that Hero’s well-known reputation for reasonably priced items would carry over to Vida. As taxes and government aid vary from one region to the next, cost is a major issue. It goes without saying that living in a state with favourable EV policies is preferable. In its current form, a price of Rs 1.65 lakh (about $2,300) sounds steep for a Hero, even after factoring in FAME-II incentives. At least, that’s how the aforementioned radio silence made everyone feel.
It’s worth noting that even Hero has said it will only ship to three cities beginning in mid-December: Delhi, Bangalore, and Jaipur. Do you really think the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, which currently sells millions of two-wheelers in India thanks to its fantastic network, would make such a rookie mistake?
It’s worth noting that even Hero has said it will only ship to three cities beginning in mid-December: Delhi, Bangalore, and Jaipur. Do you really think the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, which currently sells millions of two-wheelers in India thanks to its fantastic network, would make such a rookie mistake? Probably the fact that Hero had to make these decisions shows how limited the market for electric scooters is in India. Since Hero has learned to harness electricity, the EV monster is probably more active than ever. We’ll have to see what type of story Vida ends up becoming.