In complete honesty, it was only after we got a call from Gemopai that we heard about them at all. A quick Google search revealed that this was yet another player among the hordes of electric scooter companies with a strong Chinese connection. Surprisingly though, unlike the rest, Gemopai is proud of its Chinese connection and has even adopted the latter’s name in its own. Gemopai claims quite openly on its website that its Chinese partner, Opai Electric, has over 15 years of experience in the field, with a total of 25 international patents for its line-up of 70 electric two-wheelers and three electric car models.
Gemopai’s honest approach is quite refreshing, but let’s see if the company’s Astrid Lite has what it takes to come across as a commendable product. At first glance, the Astrid Lite looks like any other Chinese electric scooter, with its comparably smaller and narrower design. When you get a little closer, you begin noticing the design highlights, and while the materials still feel low quality, the paint finish and styling itself are very nice. The blue, black and white three-tone colour scheme on the Astrid Lite is very unique and something I found attractive. What we also liked is the legroom on the footboard and large rear view mirrors. Another useful touch is the deep pocket on the apron that can easily swallow a pair of riding gloves.
As for other storage spaces, the Astrid Lite’s underseat capacity isn’t the largest but is on par with some petrol scooters. Quality leaves much to be desired though and this underseat space has a crude bare-plastic finish to it, which looks and feels quite cheap. At the bottom of this space is a rather flimsy flap that opens up to reveal the removable 72V/24Ah lithium-ion battery. That said, the low-quality strap that came with it broke rather quickly on our scooter and the battery couldn’t be securely tied down anymore – it would make a loud clattering sound over big potholes or speed breakers. This battery takes 3 hours and 53 minutes to fully charge with the provided charger, which fits comfortably under the seat.
The Astrid Lite uses LEDs all around and the headlight unit is also decent; the DRL strips do help the scooter stand out. However, we are unsure about the function of the white DRLs that sit above the tail-lights, from a safety standpoint. Usually white lights are only seen at the rear in cars for their reverse gear.
Something we really liked about the Gemopai was its simple, no-nonsense digital instrument cluster. It’s bright, laid out well and features a regular battery gauge. The Okinawa and Ampere electric scooter we rode a few months ago feature real-time battery level gauges that fluctuate wildly, but luckily, that’s not the case here and the Gemopai’s gauge is quite accurate as well.
On our range run, the Gemopai ran for 61km (in City mode) after which the battery was completely exhausted. That’s not bad, but it’s important to note that the scooter didn’t cross 15kph in the last 10km of range, so the effective usable range is around 50km when ridden at about 30-40kph in City mode. This is quite far off the company’s claimed 75-90km range.
Moving on to performance figures, the 2,400W BLDC motor allows it to go from 0-40kph in 7.39sec. Our Vbox indicated a top speed of 45kph, while the digital speedo was claiming 61kph. That translates to a massive speedo error of 26.03 percent. This was recorded in the scooter’s maximum-performance Sport mode and it only gets slower in City and Eco modes.
On the move, the scooter gets along quite nicely and just about manages to keep up with traffic, as long as you aren’t on a fast and flowing main road. I even found myself overtaking other two-wheelers a few times. It's not too bad on inclines and manages flyovers without stress when it’s got enough charge. The ride quality is decent as well and a little better than the other two aforementioned electric scooters. What also helps the comfort level of the scooter is the soft seat that’s nice over shorter distances. On the flipside, the riding position is slightly awkward due to the high-set floorboard, although this is still vastly better than the Okinawa Praise Pro’s and is not a deal breaker.
As far as how it handles, it's not the most stable electric scooter and leans over a little too quickly, resulting in a nervous feel. This isn’t a surprise as the scooter rides on 10-inch wheels at both ends, although the Continental Conti Grip tyres are quite nice. Another thing that makes low-speed manoeuvres, like U-turns, very cumbersome is how touching the brakes, even a little, cuts off the accelerator.
Gemopai is asking for Rs 80,000 for the Astrid Lite. It’s not eligible for the FAME II subsidy and sells out of around 50 dealerships (in India and Nepal), according to the company. At that price, it’s around Rs 10,000 pricier than the Ampere Zeal and around Rs 7,000 more expensive than the Okinawa Ridge Plus. While it may fit in with the Chinese-origin EV crowd in terms of how it feels, it is still too expensive for what it offers and there is also the concern that this is a completely new and unknown company with no history to fall back on.