This article is highly recommended for children going through secondary/sr. secondary education and parents of such teenagers.
Gentle Warning: - The experience and opinions are solely personal and are not generalized claims. If you relate to my opinion or had a different experience in a similar scenario, do let me know in comments.
Hi, My name is Nikhil Gupta and I am an Electrical Engineer from IIT Delhi. My association with Greendzine Technologies dates to 2016 when I did my first summer internship with them. It went so well that since then I am in touch with Anjan and Karthik.
When I first heard the news that the Greendzine team was coming up with an electric bike, immediately it reminded me of days when I also had an Electric 2-wheeler. I owned the vehicle from a popular brand during 2008-14. I used the vehicle for the regular commute to school & coaching during my secondary and sr. secondary.
Yes, It's a 10 years old story! That puts me among the very small group of early adopters of the electric 2-wheeler technology, which does make my opinion worth considering. My family had some solid reasons to go for it, topmost of which includes low cost of ownership and limited mobility requirement (max. 5-6 Km radii from home). On a personal note, I liked the vehicle and considered it as an investment that went very well. The vehicle did its job well, but it had its fair share of problems too. I have discussed in the piece below, firstly the features that made the EV a good fit, secondly problems I faced as a student owner, and lastly about Quark U promises that will add value to student life.
Several things made the EV a good choice for me as a student owner at that time. I’ll try to go into details of some of the major ones here.
Cost: The particular vehicle I bought was under Rs. 30K (in 2008) for the initial purchase and we got its battery replaced once for a price of Rs. 8K. The other cost of servicing and electricity accounted for approx. Rs. 20K for the duration of 5yrs. This makes the total cost of ownership to be around Rs 60K (in 2008), approximately the cost of the average petrol scooter currently in India.
Top Speed: The max speed of the vehicle was 40Km/hr. My parents were happier than me about this feature. Unlike most Indian parents, they did not want their children to go speeding over the streets.
Range: The overall range of the vehicle was above 25Km, which was always more than sufficient for my daily commute requirement, with usually some juice left at the end of the day.
The vehicle had a good balance of price and value. But it did come with its fair share of problems. Many of them were battery related which starts to surface as the battery decays after some years of use. I went through a battery replacement once when the first battery started to grossly underperform, reducing its range and speed to a mere 10-15%. The major problems with the vehicle are mentioned below.
Max Speed: I thought the max speed of the vehicle was low, sometimes when you have to overtake another vehicle, it does create some challenges driving. Though I would say I got habitual of that style of driving very soon.
Don't worry that was the least annoying of its problems.
Charging: Although it becomes a regular habit to plug it in, the consequences of forgetting it to charge lead you either to postpone the visit or use other means of transport. This did lead to increased frustration sometimes.
Time to charge: It wasn’t a fast-charging vehicle, just like our current smartphones. Charging the vehicle at night was the only possible solution for that.
Parking: Since I was living in a rented property, and had a shared parking space it was a huge inconvenience for others as the EV needed to be parked at a specific place with an available charging socket.
Poor service centers: The vehicle was new in the market with poor availability of spare parts.
Battery Gauge: The vehicle came with a fuel tank type battery gauge which was of no use at all. As the indicator showing 50% battery, did not translate linearly to KM with reducing battery life.
Loading capacity: The recommended weight capacity of the vehicle was around 120Kg, which was not sufficient for a two-person commute.
Charging Indicator: Only 1 way to know about the charging status of the battery, which was a small LED on the adapter, I usually left it charging for hours.
The vehicle had other issues that are common to a two-wheeler but I have stuck to those that were exclusive due to it being an electric vehicle.
Finally, Quark U - India’s First Electric Moped
There is a lot that has been released by GDT about the vehicle in their virtual launch event, marketing material, and here on the forum. While I do have some knowledge of plans and announcements. For the piece below, I have strictly stayed to the information available about Quark U in public to date 23-06-2020. I am a bit skeptical about the number of features that will be part of the 1st production launch model, but having known the founders personally, I think it's fair to assume right now that everything promised will be delivered.
Here, I'll discuss only the Quark U features that I think could have improved my experience as a Student EV owner. I’ll go feature by feature and discuss whether they solve any of the pains I have experienced or add value to a student owner's life.
The most important feature of Quark U is its battery swapping technology. This seemingly simple feature can add real great benefits to a student owner.
Repairability: - Battery is the most critical part of EV and that can go wrong very easily, going to a service to get it replaced just additional service cost. Quark U's ability to quickly swap in a new battery saves users from spending this extra time, money, and frustration.
Parking: - In a shared parking area with limited availability of sockets at the desired location, Quark U's ability to swap out the battery and carry it to the desired location provides the user with an added control over the vehicle. Many times, it can also save you from annoyed uncle's, whose parking you acquired for charging.
Range Options: - The ability to replace batteries adds another benefit of providing multiple range options, that take into account different user requirements, which could potentially provide the right price for consumers.
Spare Battery: - During those unfortunate circumstances, when you forget to charge the battery, an individual's ability to swap batteries at their own gives them the option to keep a spare battery.
The second biggest feature of Quark U is its connectivity and an App with it.
comfort: - when you stay on 12the level of the apartment, the ability to get basic info from the vehicle without moving an inch from the sofa feels like you are controlling curiosity rover on mars.
KM range: - it might sound a little obvious, but a lot goes behind the scene when considering how the battery range decreases over time. This feature will help make faster and quicker decisions about their commute.
We are still waiting for Greendzine to release more technical information about the vehicle, so I cannot comment on the fast charging, top speed, and loading capacity of the vehicle. While about the range we know from Karthik's video that they do have a battery suited for student owners.
A lot has been promised by now from Greendzine, and many more will come. Once the vehicle comes on the street, how well Greendzine delivers on to these promises only time will tell. But one thing that stands out very clearly from details released so far is that the way the design aspect of Quark U has been built is commendable. It shows to what extent the Greendzine team has put its effort into comprehending the real problems of its customers rather than rushing towards range numbers.
I would like to give my best wishes to the entire team of Greendzine and hope that Quark U delivers to its expectations and touches the hearts of its users.
If you want to learn more about the product, check out Quark U launch video - https://youtu.be/LH7bQIBJNxE