We’ve just experienced the first wave of ‘advanced’ electric vehicles in India from mainstream companies (such as the Hyundai Kona, MG ZS EV, Bajaj Chetak, TVS iQube and the Tata Nexon EV) and we can expect more of these vehicles in the near future as India’s EV market continues to grow in volume and appeal with the support of the government.
While some eagerly wait for these vehicles to go on sale, others can’t resist the temptation and build one themselves, much like Hemank Dabhade. Hemank went ahead and built an electric scooter based on a Honda Activa. This is not the first time Hemank converted a regular IC powered vehicle to electric. He had converted a Chevrolet Beat to an electric car earlier on and it’s safe to say that Hemank is tired of waiting on India’s big names to launch an electric vehicle.
The best part about his electric Honda Activa is how subtle it looks. You’ll notice the difference only when it buzzes past you making an electric whine. Hemank achieved this by mounting the electrical system inside the crankcase. The motor shaft is custom made to fit in the original crankcase of the Activa. The motor has been mounted in a way that doesn’t affect the suspension geometry and alignment. The open sections have been sealed off to become dust-proof.
While traditional electric scooters don’t require a gearbox, this scooter retains the CVT that powered the petrol engine. Because an electric motor delivers torque in a different manner, this CVT has been modified to suit the electric motor.
The motor powering this scooter is a tiny 1 kW BLDC unit and though that may not sound powerful, it is enough to propel this scooter to a decent top speed of 65 kmph. Electric powertrains also give you instant acceleration and quick throttle responses which should make it a fun little scooter to explore the city.
Powering the motor is a 30 AH 48 V Lithium-ion cell pack placed in the under-seat storage area but Hemank plans to place it on the floor and front panels in the future. It takes 4 to 4.5 hours to charge from empty to full, enough to take you up to 45 km and if you wish to bring a friend along, that drops to 35 km.
Looking at people coming up with their innovative ideas to explore the world of electric mobility only tells us that an electric vehicle can be equally fascinating to the automotive buff. And don’t assume this is just a one-off project that would work for the sake of it, Hemank has put close to 2,000 km of testing into his electric Activa, so it’s safe to assume he is looking to perfect it.