Which one? The Simple One. Pardon the lack of good humor but this is perhaps what the brand had in mind. Our first encounter with the Simple One electric scooter was when it was far from production-ready in September 2021. One thing we thought back then what that it could be quick. Now, we know it. Only a couple of months from production, the One electric scooter has been tinkered inside and out. The end result is that it looks better and rides better. Here’s what we found in the short spin we had with the Simple One in Bengaluru.
The very first concept images that were released of the One had a very space-age appeal in the design of the scooter. In the flesh though, the overall design is simple as you’d expect from a scooter you’d use every day. But even so, Simple Energy has put back a lot of sharp edges and lines back into the design with this update.
The front appears much sharper with indicators that have now been integrated into the body. The tail end, even more so. The scooter now appears slimmer than its initial design and with that, the rear wheel looks much neater as well. The body panels, paint finish on the edges, and the fit and finish so far call for improvement but we’re very well considering the fact that the one we rode this time was not the final production version.
One aspect of the scooter that does not come across as pre-production is the powertrain. The 4.8 kWh battery pack delivers a torque of 72 Nm which is quite a lot for a scooter that weighs in at 115 kg. Simple One is quick off the line and continues to be so way into the quarter-mile (not that we use drag strip terminology during daily commutes). Point is that the scooter never feels lazy even in Eco mode which is the lowest of the four modes.
The One offers Eco, City, Dash and Sonic ride modes with a top speed of 105 km/h that’s available in the Sonic mode. A mode lower, Dash delivers 90 km/h of top speed which is still faster than Simple One’s competition like the Ather 450X which tops at 80 km/h. The 0-40 km/h time is 2.77 seconds which is very impressive and is .2 seconds quicker than before. In fact, the Eco and City modes are rather plenty for riding around in the city. So, the response on the throttle is smooth and precise.
The scooter offers regenerative braking as well. Thing is that this feature could use some work. For now, each time the throttle is twisted off, there’s a tiny burst of energy that accelerates the scooter before it starts to slow down. This can be a problem, especially in the Dash and Sonic modes but we’ve been assured that this is to do with the calibration of the regenerative braking and that this issue will not make it to the final production model.
The suspension, which comprises telescopic forks and a monoshock, is set up to the softer side. It offers comfortable ride while maintaining a sporty handling character. The scooter remains civilized even at speeds of 80-90 km/h and beyond. There are options for rear tire size – 100 and 110 section. It’d probably not be a bad idea to go for the bigger tire size for it can promise better stability on corners. Plus, it looks better. It gets discs at both ends which promise a very progressive stopping performance but hard braking conditions could be upsetting.
It has to be noted that the first ride experience was a very short one far from the realities of city roads or highways, so this review is rather limited to a first impression for now.
This is about the features on board the Simple One. The highlight is the seven-inch touchscreen instrument panel. The software one we saw was in a beta test mode but even so the touch screen worked very well like you’d expect from a smartphone. It is equipped with a Jio e-SIM which means the scooter does not depend on the user’s smartphone’s network for the Internet.
Features are plenty, including onboard navigation, document storage, SOS setup. remote access, OTA (over the air) updates, smartphone connectivity, calls and messages alerts, and a lot more.
The most important aspect of an electric scooter, at least for now, is the range. And the Simple One has very impressive numbers to boast for it – 203 km in Eco mode in real-world tests. The numbers claimed if delivered upon can make the one a winner. It has to be considered that the range can be different for different people depending on their riding style which will include acceleration and braking and the mix of ride modes they use.
We will refrain from commenting upon the range before we spend more time with the scooter or hear user stories. But Simple’s idea of splitting the battery in two – a 3.3 kWh fixed and a 1.5 kWh portable – might actually work. The One will be able to use home charging and public fast charging, and not be fazed by the struggles of the high rise apartment buildings or ever have to depend on battery swapping. The company now also offers a home charger at Rs 15,499 that promises faster charging at 2 km per minute.
Simple but complicated?
Simple Energy’s story of launching and delivering their first electric scooter which is also their flagship has been full of ups and downs. There have been delays owing to several reasons like the pandemic and supply chain constraints. But the company remains calm and confident about its product which it says has been tested extensively, adding that special attention has been paid to the thermal management system – something that’s very welcome after the slew of unfortunate fire incidents that have occurred lately.
Simple One has grown during this time into an electric scooter that is now much more ready to be rolled out in the market. It looks great, offers comfort and speed, tech and connectivity, ease of charging, a range that will satisfy a daily commuter, and a sensitive price tag of Rs 1.1 lakh (ex-showroom). Test rides are ongoing and deliveries are expected to begin in October if no further delays happen. We hope not because considering where the One was just a few months ago to what it’s come to now, we have positive things to say about it. Granted there rough edges that need attention but the Simple One makes a very good promise and we’re eagerly awaiting the final version.