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Photos By Shubham Khade

I have memories of a neighbour long ago who used to own a Luna. He started his day by religiously polishing the moped, starting it up with gusto, and puttering off to work on the little thing. Even though it was taken off the market more than two decades ago, the original Kinetic Luna was a cheap and practical workhorse that has since become somewhat of a collector’s item among a select group of vintage aficionados. When Kinetic Green launched the E-Luna, it was probably a well-meaning attempt at resurrecting a brand that was dear to many.

At first glance, one thing is glaringly obvious. The new E-Luna cannot really be deemed a moped, considering that it has no pedal assist feature (it would have been cool to have it, though). Secondly, while the overall silhouette follows similar lines as the old Luna, the dimensions are more or less along the lines of the TVS XL100. I noticed that the majority of the attention it received was from auto drivers and last-mile delivery personnel, considering the presumed utilitarian nature of the E-Luna, which is expected. What did take me by surprise was the fact that a lot of elderly passersby approached me and quizzed me about the EV. A recurring question was as to why it didn’t come with pedals, to which I didn’t have an answer.

Now, to get a proper feel of how different the two are, the most sensible thing to do was to put them side by side and pinpoint the contrasts. I got the chance to experience what it felt like to start (technically bump-start) the Luna: put it on the centre stand, pull in the decompression lever, pedal till it feels right, and release the lever with a gentle twist of the throttle. That should start it right up; if not, just try it all again. The process on the E-Luna is as simple as turning a key and riding away. The former has more character, I say.

Talking about comfort, neither of the two fared too well in that department. Sure, in the Luna’s defence, it was pretty decent in comparison with other vehicles from its time period, but considering that the E-Luna is a new launch, I would have expected a little better from the EV. The suspension does just about enough, so as not to be redundant, but not much more than that.

In terms of power, again, the numbers aren’t exactly impressive, but more along the lines of just enough to do the job. Talk about what is common between the two other than the name, and you’re left with a pretty small list. Drum brakes on both ends, a chain drive, spoke rims, and a few other components, but on the inside, they are totally different. The component and build quality on the E-Luna are a little inconsistent, with a good mix of sturdy and classy-looking bits and quite a few tacky parts for good measure. I mean, the badging on the instrumentation itself looks like something out of a DIY crafts kit, while the dash itself is quite a decent LCD unit.

It, unfortunately, pales in comparison to the build quality of the Luna, which still  looks like it could handle another decade or more without starting to fall apart. The variant that we had was the X2 variant with a 2kWh battery, which takes about 4 hours for a full charge, with a real-world range of just about 70 km. What about the OG Luna? It’ll go as far as you are willing to pedal it after the fuel tank is emptied. Okay, that was a bad joke on my part, but you see what I’m getting at.

The E-Luna gets a mode switch that restricts top speed depending on which position it is in, regulating it to 35 kph, 45 kph, and 50 kph in the three settings, respectively. The Luna has only one speed setting, somewhere right between ‘gone’ and ‘getting there’. In terms of handling and stopping power, both machines seem to get the bare minimum, with thin, tubed tyres and drum brakes that need a good tug to come to a halt. As I have mentioned before, they will do the job — not exactly with poise and finesse, but just about enough.

The one thing that bothers me though is that, unlike the Luna, the E-Luna is not exactly the most affordable in its range, and with Chinese EVs in the market that sell for cheaper, it may be a hard sell, but maybe that is where the ‘Luna’ brand name comes into play. That’s a lot riding on faith, by the looks of it. Apart from all of that, it is a fun little machine, as is the Luna, so maybe it’s not entirely different after all.