Okinawa Cruiser Electric Maxiscooter Launch Timeline Revealed
Our interaction with the brand’s Managing Director gave us a fair idea about the company’s future plans as well
We recently caught up with Okinawa’s Managing Director, Jeetender Sharma, and gained quite a few interesting insights about the brand’s upcoming Oki100 electric motorcycle. You can read all about it here. In addition, we’ve also come to know that the Okinawa Cruiser, an electric maxiscooter that was unveiled at the 2020 Auto Expo, will be launched next year.
Sharma said that the maxiscooter is still in its development stage and that we could expect it to be launched early next year. The scooter was originally planned to be launched in mid-2020 but it seems like the pandemic has delayed things a bit. It is expected to be priced between Rs 1.1 lakh and Rs 1.2 lakh, making it the flagship scooter from the brand. At present, the top-of-the-line Okinawa iPraise costs Rs 1.08 lakh (all ex-showroom India, including FAME II subsidy).
Like the production-spec Oki100, the Cruiser is also likely to get additional features like smartphone connectivity, which should considerably enhance its appeal. While the prototype version shown at the Auto Expo had a semi-digital instrument cluster, we wouldn’t be surprised if the production-spec scooter is launched with a fully digital unit.
The prototype scooter was powered by a 3kW hub motor linked to a 4kWh lithium-ion battery. It offered a claimed range of 120km, with a charging time of 2 to 3 hours using a fast charger. Expect a similar claimed range in the production-spec model too, but the real-world range is likely to be lesser than the claimed figures. Underpinnings like the telescopic front fork, twin gas-charged rear shock absorbers and disc brake on both ends are likely to be retained.
When launched, the Okinawa Cruiser will go up against the TVS iQube and the Bajaj Chetak Electric. Sharma also revealed that the brand will inaugurate another manufacturing facility in Rajasthan next year.
Even though a lot of businesses have moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic, Okinawa still believes in having physical stores as it has found out that Indian customers still believe in the concept of inspecting a vehicle physically before putting down money on it. Sharma also revealed the company's intentions to set up 150 new dealerships to expand its current network of 350 dealers across the country. This should be advantageous for Okinawa as its rivals, the TVS iQube Electric and Bajaj Chetak, have very limited reach in the country.
Make in India
When asked about improving the EV infrastructure in India, Sharma was optimistic about swappable lithium-ion battery technology as it negates the need for expensive charging stations. Given the dicey political situation with China, Okinawa says India is already on its way to becoming a hub (likely in the southern part of the country) for manufacturing battery cells, but that is still some time away. Sharma believes it will take around 2-3 years, which honestly isn’t too far off we feel. What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments below.
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