Okinawa has been teasing a new maxi scooter for a few days now, and they just took the wraps off their new Cruiser electric maxi scooter at the 2020 Auto Expo. The scooter is expected to launch later this year, and we’ve been given a glimpse at what the scooter looks like as well as a few specification details.
However, before we go any further, it is worth noting that while Okinawa claims the Cruiser is a complete in-house development, there is an almost identical scooter that is already on sale in China, called the Luyuan LEV018. While there are a few small differences in terms of the paint scheme, tyres, disc brakes, design of the wheels, and the hand grips, the overall bodywork appears to be identical.
This doesn’t come as a surprise because we broke the story two years ago that Okinawa was, in fact, selling rebadged Luyuan scooters in India, and stating that they were designed and engineered in the country. The entire Okinawa range available today, including the recently launched Lite scooter, can be found on the Luyuan website. In fact, almost every electric two-wheeler brand that was present at the 2020 Auto Expo seemed to be following this format. While many seemed to share similar looking body panels, others took the similarities even further – the new Hero Electric AE-29 looks identical to the EeVee Go Sport, aside from the colour scheme.
It would appear that Chinese EVs are being purchased in bulk (the Luyuan LEV018 is listed at $650 each if you procure over 100 units) and being rebadged for sale in our market. We also assume these scooters are manufactured keeping in mind the rules and regulations for selling in India, with locally manufactured components like tyres, braking systems and other bits installed, once they get to India, to help the companies avail government subsidy benefits.
Given the similarities in some body panels across multiple EV brands in India, we imagine that purchasing these Chinese EVs must be similar to ordering a pizza. You select your base and then decide the toppings to go with it. The Okinawa Cruiser, for example, claims a 3kW electric motor and a 4kWh detachable lithium-ion battery. In comparison, the Luyuan LEV018 claims a 1.5kW motor and a different battery as well. But under the product details page on the Chinese website is an option to customise the vehicle with whatever the buyer’s requirements are.
At the Auto Expo unveil event, we met Okinawa MD Jeetender Sharma. We showed him the product listing on the Okinawa website and asked him how the similarities could be explained. Sharma said the products were not the same and that the wheels and other details are different. When we pursued the matter, he told us that we are the ones seeing the similarity and that the two products were not similar at all. This was as far as our conversation went, but you can look at the Okinawa and Luyuan images on this page and be the judge yourself.
For those of you interested in purchasing the EV, Okinawa plans to launch it in mid-2020, with the prices being announced closer to the date.