Ampere Primus electric scooter first ride review: An affordable premium commuter
Electric two-wheelers, especially scooters, have been experiencing increasing popularity across India amid many factors. These include skyrocketing petrol prices, growing demand for personal and affordable mobility, and the significantly lower cost of ownership compared to fossil fuel-powered scooters. While low-speed electric scooters have been finding a strong spot in the country’s bulging EV segment, high-speed ones, too, are seeing increasing market penetration.
Ampere, one of the segment's major players, launched its high-speed scooter Primus at the Auto Expo 2023 in January earlier this year. We rode the Ampere Primus around the EV manufacturer’s facility in Ranipet in Tamil Nadu. Here is what our thoughts and findings are.
Also Read : Ampere Primus to get disc variant in late 2023, next product to get touchscreen
Ampere Primus: Looks
In terms of design, the Ampere Primus comes with a pretty impressive visual appearance. It gets a bold front fascia with X-shaped lighting, which claims to have been influenced by a bird named Arctic Tern. The headlamp with integrated daytime running light sits at the top of the front cowl. In the middle of the front cowl, the turn indicators sit neatly on each side, divided by a black panel.
Also check these Bikes
Available in four different colours: Royal Bengal Orange, Havelock Blue, Buck Black and Himalayan White, the scooter claims to have been designed with influence from nature and its elements. While it is not strikingly designed as the Ola S1 Pro, the design is impressive. However, it can be mistaken for any other petrol-powered contemporary model. Hence, don't expect to grab attention on the road like the Ola S1 Pro or Ather 450X do.
Ampere Primus: Features
Speaking of features of Ampere Primus, the electric scooter gets an LCD display-enabled digital instrument cluster with mobile Bluetooth connectivity, a clock etc. It also shows important information like the distance to be covered with the remaining charge. There is a glovebox neatly tucked at the left side behind the front cowl, but the positioning is in such a manner that it doesn't appear ergonomic. The scooter has a USB charging port, while the handlebars' switches are ergonomically positioned.
The scooter gets three different riding modes: Eco, City and Power. Besides that, there is a reverse assist system with a dedicated button positioned at the left handle in the thumb's reach. Among other features, it gets a small lamp sitting neatly inside the 22-litre under-seat storage that helps with better visibility. The storage is enough to keep a standard-sized helmet or a backpack. The footboard area of the scooter is spacious, allowing comfort, while the seats are wide enough. Also, an LED taillight is there, and a thick and wide grab rail sits above that.
Ampere Primus: Ride and Handling
Speaking of riding comfort, coming with a kerb weight of 110 kg, the scooter didn't appear shaky even while running at 94 kmph speed, which is a thumbs up for the EV. However, there are thumbs-down points as well. The seat appeared a bit on the harder side, while the stiff suspension made it feel bumpier on rough patches. The Primus gets telescopic front forks and dual shock absorbers at the rear. For pillion riders, the foot pegs fitted to both sides and a footboard at the left side as a standard fitment is a practical solution, which is commendable. The Primus runs on 12-inch alloy wheels.
Ampere Primus: Performance
In terms of performance, the Ampere Primus claims a thumbs up. The permanent magnet synchronous motor mounted at the centre of the EV, paired with the LFP battery pack, sends enough power to the rear wheel through the belt drive system to enable the scooter to accelerate smoothly and quickly. The scooter easily hits the 40 kmph mark from a standstill in around five seconds. We tried riding the scooter on a highway with different elevations using all three modes. A light elevation in the road didn't appear troublesome for the scooter to propel it forward.
In the Eco mode, the scooter runs at a speed of 42 kmph flat out, which in the case of the City mode increases to 63 kmph. In the Power mode, the electric scooter is claimed to run at a speed of 77 kmph flat out, but we were able to clock 94 kmph, but it depends on the road surface and whether it is running downhill. As it comes with a reverse assist system, we tested it as well and found that in this mode, you can reverse the EV at a speed of 3 kmph.
Ampere Primus: Brakes
The biggest drawback, in our opinion, is the braking performance of the scooter. Despite being priced at ₹109,900 (ex-showroom, Delhi), Ampere Primus only has drum brakes with Combi Braking System (CBS). Even if it runs in Eco mode, coming to a full stop takes quite some time, even with both the front and rear braking levers pressed. It could be dangerous for the rider on a highway or in an emergency situation.
We feel a scooter like this should be offered with a disc brake, as it will help in better braking performance. In an interaction with HT Auto, Ampere's CTO Ram Rajappa said the Ampere Primus high-speed scooter would receive a disc brake variant later in 2023.
Ampere Primus: Battery and range
Ampere Primus is powered by a non-removable 3kWh Lithium Ferro Phosphate (LFP) battery pack paired with a 3.8 kW mid-mounted motor, which is claimed to offer enough juice to make the scooter run 107 km on a single charge in Power mode, but expect the real-life range to be around 80 km. The battery claims to take four hours to be charged fully using a 15 amps charger, while it also comes with fast charging capability, which allows the battery pack to be topped up in two hours.
Ampere Primus: Verdict
Ampere Primus is an affordable commuter electric scooter which can be a viable competitor against models like Ola S1 Pro, Ather 450X and TVS iQube. However, we faced a few snags with the review scooter, like a vanishing display on the instrument cluster, which was clearly a software glitch. Also, the braking performance should be improved significantly. At a time when much lower priced electric scooters and even the low-speed ones are coming equipped with disc brakes, Ampere should consider this option.
Overall, this electric scooter appears perfect for commuting in and around the city, with a punchy motor that can be useful for occasional small highway rides for a slightly longer distance.