“If aliens did visit us, I’d be embarrassed to tell them we still dig up fossil fuels from the ground as a source of energy.” The internet went crazy after Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted this a few years back. And why would it not, fossil fuel is the major source of pollution in the world right now and on top of that, it is drying up at a fast pace. So, to tackle this issue, various manufacturers are launching electric vehicles around the world and here in Nepal too. And looking to pioneer the movement is Niu, a startup from 2015, which is turning a lot of heads right now. The company has already launched three scooters in Nepal with the Niu N1s leading the campaign.
The N1s is the first electric scooter that carries a number plate on its back, and it has already passed the “White Gumba” uphill test as well. Niu is currently offering the scooter at an initial price of Rs. 265,000 and a discounted price of Rs. 198,888. So, why is the scooter this expensive? And can it really change the ongoing trend of vehicles running on petroleum products here in Nepal? Let’s find it out.
The Niu N1s is a compact scooter with a futuristic look. The vehicle certainly has a unique design that can catch anyone’s eye. The front of the N1s has a curved and non-traditional look. There is a headlight on the front right below the company’s emblem. An official at Niu Nepal told me that the headlights have been specially made to signify the logo of Niu. It has dual smart LED bulbs which automatically light up sensing the environment a person is riding the vehicle around. There is a LCD display up front which shows the remaining battery charge, the speed you are riding the scooter in and the power mode you have chosen to ride it in.
Right under the seat is a storage compartment which is quite spacious considering how compact the N1s it. It can easily house your helmet and few other objects. There is also a lock that opens the battery compartment which is right below the footboard. One feature that got me confused at the start was the way you open the storage compartment lock. You will have to unlock it from the scooter’s primary lock itself.
Yes, this vehicle has three levels of power mode rather than gears. And basically, the higher the level you choose, the faster the scooter goes. It can easily speed up to 50-52 km/h in the city roads. However, this scooter suffers a little from the unfinished roads as the ride is bumpy due to its lightness and suspension. And continuing with the cons, the scooter lacks ample ground clearance, so its base constantly hits the bumps. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t handle Kathmandu’s roads. The N1s easily breezes through the roadway of the city and I also had no problem riding it on the muddy roads. It has double disc brakes, so you can trust the braking system at the time of need.
The Uphill Test
One of the frequently asked questions about the scooter is whether it passes the uphill test or not. Well, even when galloping through a busy steep uphill roadway, this scooter easily climbs up, and that too with a pillion behind me. The FOC in the scooter, which acts as the brain, monitors the electricity demand to power the BOSCH motor effectively whenever necessary.
The BOSCH Motor is powered by a portable 60V 29 Ah Lithium-Ion battery which alone costs a whopping Rs. 80,000. This battery is placed right below the footboard and is easy to carry around as it weighs 10kgs. It took me around 6 hours and Rs. 52 to fully charge it up. You can charge the scooter directly from the port placed at the under-seat storage or take out the battery and charge it wherever you want to. Niu has claimed that the N1s can provide a mileage of 80km. On my test, I got around 36 km of mileage when the battery consumption was down to 50%. However, a few days back, when I tried to go from 100 – 0%, the N1s ran only for around 60 km. So, even though you can travel a lot on a minimum price of Rs. 52, you cannot expect the N1s to be consistent with its mileage.
Now talking about the riding experience, the N1s is as smooth as silk and the seats are really comfortable. If you can ignore the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu City and focus on the ride, you will really enjoy it. Well, I did!
And the first thing you notice while riding the scooter is the lack of sound. The engine doesn’t make any sound at all, so it will take a few minutes to get used to the noise-less experience. Niu has not only focused on tackling air pollution but has also worked to minimize the noise pollution.
One of the best features of the Niu N1s is its app integration. There is a unique SIM number in the scooter which when entered into the Niu App, shows each and everything regarding the vehicle. I had a hard time registering my scooter though as the app still seems to be in a developmental phase. But once I got the registration, I was amazed at how useful the application is. It shows real-time battery life and the location of your Niu scooter. So, with the N1s, you will have that extra security if you ever happen to lose your vehicle. It also has a different tab to check the statistics of your travel in a single day.
Warranty and Customer Service
According to Eco Infinity, the NIU Bosch Motor and LG/Panasonic lithium ion carry two years warranty. The company offers free “Roadside Assistance” if you ever happen to need some help with your scooter. Also, the service centers and charging stations are attached to Niu’s showrooms as well. Eco Infinity has also installed free charging stations at Evo Store (Labim Mall, Sherpa Mall and Mercantile Plaza).
Currently, the following warranty offers are available on the Niu N1s (courtesy: Eco Infinity):
|Electronics||Charger||Performance failure and irreparable caused by defective product.||24 months|
|FOC Controller, Smart Controller, Dashboard, Throttle Handle, main Harness, Horn, Remote Immobilizer, Flasher, Ignition Lock (inc secondary lock and keys)||12 months|
|DC-DC Adaptor||9 months|
|Combination switches, USB charger assembly, Cable hall sensor, Turning signal lights, Front light, Rear light||6 months|
|Motor||Motor||Missing Phase, Burned, Demagnetization||24 months or 20000km|
|Battery||Lithium Battery Pack||Only use the battery pack under operational environment after charged (charging temperature range 0 degree Celsius to 35 degree Celsius. Operational environment).||24 months or 20000km|
At last, you’re probably wondering whether the Niu N1s is worth the huge price tag. Yes, maybe Niu Nepal will do better if considers decreasing the initial price of Rs. 265,000. But still, it is a comfortable and a powerful machine that can handle everything you throw at it. And on top of that, with everything going electric, and pollution already crossing WHO’s limit, it’s about time we switch to a vehicle that can actually help control the environmental issues. The Niu N1s is an elegant, powerful and unique device that is made up of state of the art products. So, if you want a scooter that offers quite a bit of mileage, and also want to go green, you should definitely get a new Niu N1s.
|No air and noise pollution||Minimum ground clearance|
|Smooth riding experience||Bumpy rides in Kathmandu’s unfinished roads|