Hero Optima HX Review

Road-test review of the Hero Optima HX 

Pros:

  • The beautiful design feels very close to a conventional scooter unlike some e-scooters which feel too unconventional
  • Extremely silent, just like the way e-scooter should be
  • Surprisingly, 2 full-sized adults can easily commute without any melodrama
  • LED headlight offers good illumination at night
  • Storage compartment in the front was quite useful and the USB charger adds to the convenience
  • Removable battery increases the portability by a significant margin, very helpful
  • Anti-theft feature – Alarm is loud. We can immobilise the scooter completely and can’t be mobilised even by pushing it 
  • Very competitively priced at 65k on road, Bangalore

Cons: 

  • The short-range of 80 km is a deal-breaker
  • Poor braking ability is a letdown
  • Top speed limited to 40 kmph cripples rideability
  • Quality of materials is average, significant room for improvement
  • Charge meter is very complex to understand in volts and acts finicky. A simple % display would have made a lot more sense
  • Not possible to store a full-size helmet under the seat
  • There is a minute lag between throttle input and the bike moving, bigger pain on steep inclines 
  • The limited dealer-service network has to lead to long waiting time for some of the customers even for essential spares

 

Technical Specifications:

Range: 110 km/ch.(claimed)

Battery Type: Advanced Lithium-Ion

Numbers of Battery: Single Battery

Battery Capacity/Rating : @c5 48V / 28Ah x 2

Battery Charging Time: 4-5 Hours

Max. Speed : 42 km/hr.

Motor Type: BLDC Motor

Motor Power: 550 W (Peak Power: 1200 W)

Charger: 6A with voltage and temperature protection”

Wheel Size/Tyre Size (F&R) : 90 x 90 x 12 TL CEAT/Continental

Kerb Weight 83 kg

Ground Clearance: 140 mm

Front & Rear Brake: Drum Brake

Chassis/Frame: Reinforced High Strength Steel Chassis

Key Features

Bag Hook, Round Charging Point, Glove Box, USB Port, Bold Styling, Maximum Comfort, Aerodynamic Body Design, Large & Comfortable Seat, Stylish Wheels, Reinforced High Strength Steel Chassis, front and rear suspension both are telescopic suspensions

The Optima HX is the city-speed variant of Hero Electric’s Optima range of electric scooters. It is capable of providing a realistic range of 80 km on a single charge if we take away the specs sheet for a moment. Its top speed is 42 km/h. It comes with the quick-charge feature which reduces the charging time by a good margin. Hero Electric says that the Optima HX will be a perfect option for customers who are looking for a reliable electric two-wheeler for city commutes that can offer good performance and comfort. Not just that, the removable battery is going to be a trump card for the blue lad as it bound to offer a lot of conveniences. 

Styling

The best part of the design of the Optima HX is it looks very similar to a conventional scooter. Optimistically, quite surprisingly considering EVs are known for the step-treatment by the design department. Kudos to the team for plonking in an LED headlamp that illuminates the road beautifully at night. More than adequate for the city ride. The lovely shade was surprisingly a head turner and 10/10 people loved the shade. There are 2 small dams housed below the headlamp which complements the modern theme of the electric scooter. The alloys complement the chic styling of the HX. The front storage space is a big plus considering that it will widely be used in the city for grocery runabout.  Moving to the rear of the Optima HX, the design language follows the conventional philosophy. The clear lens tail lamps are nothing home to write about. The rear grab handle provides extra support when needed, the. quality of which could be better. There is a decent storage space for a full-face helmet and the battery is removable by unplugging the main wire, however, we urge you to exercise extreme caution while doing so. The charging time for which should be around 6 hours in a conventional home charging. Once the battery is fully charged, the electric supply is cut off to prevent overcharging. This should be helpful as in most of the cases, the charging would pan overnight. 

LED Headlamps

Decent under-seat storage

The battery is removable

The battery is displayed in volts:

Drums for the front and rear:

Ride

Once you gently tap the throttle of the Optima HX, you realise that there’s a bit of lag, probably half a second to the time it starts to sprint, if you have experienced turbo lag in some of the cars, this should be familiar. Honestly, it was a concern when we were starting off the HX from steep inclines, say a flyover. A couple of seconds into the sprint, you realise the true essence of this electric scooter, thanks to the pin-drop silent electric motor. Probably, this is the best bit we found in the HX. It behaves exactly how an electric scooter is supposed to. In Fact, we were impressed with the dynamics on broken roads, something where the Ather 450x miserably failed at. It would be a crime to expect brisk acceleration from a mere electric scooter which has a threshold of 40 km. The Optima HX does most of the job well for the grocery rounds and daily errands, throw a couple of flyovers to it and it won’t complain much but we sincerely urge you not to get ambitious with its driveability, just like the way you would from an Anther after paying twitch the moolah! The blessing in disguise of the limited top speed is the brakes are mediocre, in fact, we were puzzled by the lack of bite from them. While we do understand that you would be doing minimal double-digit speeds with it, the braking ability should have at least been acceptable if not being ambitious with the brake pedal.  The handling of the Optima HX is just perfect, it’s neither an ardent task nor the handle is feather-light, this should be a boon to riders who are new to the world of riding scooters. The quality of the horn too was acceptable.  

Hero Electric has also partnered with Autovert Technologies to offer what is described as ‘alternative ownership models’ for Hero Electric’s new customers. Under the partnership, Autovert, a fintech start-up, will allow new customers of Hero Electric to opt for subscription-based plans for an all-inclusive price at the time of purchasing a new Hero Electric two-wheeler. The all-inclusive subscription plans will start for as low as ₹ 2,999 per month and will allow Hero Electric customers to avail of the electric two-wheeler, along with bundled services such as comprehensive insurance, service and maintenance, loyalty bonuses and upgrade options like every product under the Hero Electric umbrella, this too comes with a 3-year warranty.

Verdict 

In a nutshell, Hero Electric has managed to offer a bundled package of driveability, practicality, an extremely silent motor at a very affordable price. Honestly, we really think electric vehicles make more sense at this price range for their limited usability coupled with limited charging infrastructure. Of course, someone with deeper pockets can opt for the Ather 450x which offers a much more plush experience with its intuitive features but it’s not the most optimum bang for your buck. The hero does everything that the Ather can to fulfil your city touring needs, albeit in silence. Given a choice, we would pick the Optima HX over the Ather 450x 10/10 times. After all, the EV space is screaming for value for money proposition and the Optima HX is a very strong answer to it. 

One of the most untapped areas of doubts would be if you could ride in water because flooding is common in low slung and suburban areas, also will there be loss of warranty if the electric motor fails due to water entering the vehicle. Yes, we can drive in water but not in the flooded area. It’s alright if the water level is up to 6-8 inches from ground but anything beyond that would be ambitious.

After a long stint with the Hero Optima HX, we were fortunate enough to get our hands on the Ather 450X and the Ampere Magnus Pro, which completed our electric-trio experience. With many kilometres on the odo in all the 3 electric scooters, this is how it fared vs its arch-rivals.

Advantages of Hero Optima HX Vs Ather 450X:

  • Extremely silent motor aligns with the core characteristics of an EV
  • Lightweight, making it easy to manoeuvre in city 
  • Cheaper costs 65,000 on-road Bangalore which is less than half the price of Ather
  • Looks like a conventional scooter unlike the polarising design of Ather 450x
  • The battery is removable which makes it a very convenient proposition
  • Front storage  space will be very helpful in carrying bags for daily errands

Advantages of  Hero Optima HX Vs Ampere Magnus pro:

  • Cheaper at 65,000 INR Vs 90,000 INR of Ampere
  • Has a storage space in the front
  • Much better handling than the feather-light handle of the Ampere
  • Has a slightly higher top speed at 42 kmph vs the 35 kmph of Ampere Magnus in the low mode

 

With its relatively affordable cost compared to its rivals. the Hero Optima HX would be the electric scooter we would prefer to live with, just that the brakes could be improved, making it a stellar proposition for the experimental crowd who are ranting about the exorbitant fuel prices, of course helping to heal the world to make it a better place, for you and for me for the entire Human race. Go Green!

 

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