Motor Vehicle Company, the authorised distributor of NIU scooters in Nepal had launched the NIU N1s electric scooter back at NADA Auto Show 2017. It’s been months and we can see a few of them in the streets.The company is doing some aggressive marketing on their products and I really think it’s impressive. The company also happened to come to Apex College with a couple of NIU N1s (where I study) and I got a chance to ride it. And here’s what I think of the NIU N1s.
At first glance, the NIU N1s looks like any other regular gasoline driven scooter. But that is until you get close to it. The front design of the scooter is appealing and the Always-on circular DRL adds to the charm. The side profile of the scooter is also quite attractive. The design is minimalistic and clean-looking until… you have a look at the back. The tail-light design is not the most attractive and the scooter would look way better if the tail-light housing was a bit small.
Since the NIU N1s is an electric scooter, it is also smart. Before checking out all the features of the NIU electric scooter, let’s have a look at the specs:
- Driving Range (city): 80 km @20kmph
- Max Speed: 45 kmph
- Transmission: Automatic
- Battery capacity: 29 Ah
- Charge time from 0-100: 5-6hr using 220v outlet
- Rated Power: 1500w
- Passenger Weight: 155kg (max)
- Color options: white, red, blue, black and grey
- Special Features: USB Charging port, Smartphone connectivity, Anti-Theft feature
The NIU N1s has a top speed of 45km/hr and it reaches the top speed extremely fast! If you have been following EVs, you will know that they produce their peak torque immediately. So, as soon as you turn the throttle, there’s instant torque available to you.
In the NIU N1s, there are three driving modes labelled “1,2 and 3” and you will want to be in the “Mode 3” if you want to feel the pulling power of the scooter. If you turn the throttle really hard, you will find yourself being pulled back! And that kind of torque coming from a scooter is really exciting. The last time I experienced such pull was when I was riding the KTM Duke 390! Keep in mind though, riding the scooter in mode 3 will drain the battery a lot quicker.
The scooter was good and it did impress me, more than what I thought it would. But when I asked myself, if I was in a market for a new scooter, would I get one? That was a tough question for me to answer especially since it is priced quite a bit more than the competition. The NIU M1s is priced at 2,65,000 and that’s a lot of money to pay for a scooter.
Then, there’s a question about the reliability of the scooter. It doesn’t come from a known brand. Automobiles are an expensive investment and after-sales service is a major concern for most of the buyers. The after-sales of the NIU N1s is a big question mark.
The other thing that has me worried is the battery endurance in a period of years. Sure, the company provides ample 2-year warranty on the battery but what after that? If taken care of, our gasoline powered scooters can go on and on for years. That’s clearly not the case with the NIU N1s. The company itself claims that the battery has a span of 600 cycles. And that’s roughly 45,000kms. And the scary part it, the battery replacement costs whopping $800 (roughly Rs. 83,000) in the international market. We are yet to know how much it will cost in Nepal.
Does Electric Scooter make sense in Nepal?
My analysis really made me wonder if Electric Scooters make sense in Nepal or not. And here’s what I think. If you are a geek and are willing to accept anything that has more features and can connect to your smartphone, you might be in for an electric scooter. Also, someone who is ready to try something new will be onboard. However, electric scooters aren’t for everyone. It hasn’t gone mainstream yet and not everyone is a risk taker.
The fact that you are reading this article means that you are in some way interested in the NIU N1s. Electric scooters have generated a lot of curiosity recently. People understand that electric vehicles are the future and for people who travel less than 40km a day, electric scooters like the N1s is a gem.
The EV brands have to somehow make the customers trust in their products. Companies who are selling electric vehicles should offer extended warranties to their customers. In fact, they should offer better after-sales support to the customers which gives them a competitive advantage over other two-wheeler manufacturers.
People love the idea of driving electric vehicles around, we just need good reasons now! If an electric scooter is cheaper to run, easier to maintain and saves the environment all at the same time, there’s really no question on whether people will adapt to the change or not, they definitely will!