More from Motoring

Photos shot by Kartik Gilatar

Journeys are wonderful things. To travel, to make use of the fact that we are not trees rooted in one place for the rest of our lives, and to have the freedom to traverse the length and breadth of the world. To experience, to enjoy, to escape — there are a hundred and more reasons to pack your bags and set out. That being said, a journey doesn’t have to be a world tour; it could be a short trek up the hillock near your house or even an expedition to an elusive food joint on the other end of town.

I believe distance does not define the journey, nor does the destination; the act of travel in itself is more than enough. Now, in our case, the preferred means of travel is on two wheels. And with a major chunk of working people taking to EV scooters as their primary means of transport, it really got me thinking: could we practically attempt a weekend getaway with a limited range of about 100 km and no access to charging infrastructure in between? Ideally, if you plan the route, calculate everything meticulously, and most importantly, have enough faith in your EV, it should be a breeze, right?

Determined to put our theory to the test, I enlisted the River Indie EV scooter as our trusty steed, charged it up to full capacity, packed all my camping gear in its under-seat storage (which is massive), and set out to a camping spot around 35
km away in Titwala. With regard to our choice, we decided on the Indie because the trip was charted out to be a mix of city roads, highways, and a few off-road trails, and with the ‘SUV of Scooters’ tag, it seemed to be the most suitable candidate.

Setting out in the wee morning hours, we navigated through the sea of trucks on the highway, and most of the distance was covered in Eco mode, save for the quick shifts to Rush mode to overtake slow-moving traffic. This was to conserve as much of the Indie’s battery as possible so that we could put it to better use elsewhere, and by that, I meant on the trails. It took us a little more than an hour to get to the splendid location, which is Lewis Farms, Titwala. Owned and run by Rahul Richard and Cynthia Lewis, there is a lovely pottery studio, two artificial lakes, a river, and quite a few intermediate off-road trails spread in and around the property. Oh, and quite a few furry companions, ranging from dogs and cats to even water buffalos, goats, and sheep.

A quick exchange of pleasantries, and we were soon off to explore the trails. Adventure awaited us, and it would just be downright rude to keep it waiting, am I right? With about 70 km of range left on Eco mode, I switched to Ride mode, reducing the projected range to 59 km. A decent barter, considering that what I get is more power to the belt-driven rear wheel for a little more fun on the trails. A little bit of slipping and sliding here and there, if you get my drift. The Indie’s low centre of gravity and the gas-charged suspension made manoeuvring it across the uneven terrain very enjoyable. Another thing that I loved about it was its gradeability — climbing up 45-degree slopes without breaking a sweat.

A good few hours later, having explored as much as we could, we narrowed down a spot to set up camp by the lakeside and pitched our tents. Having sorted out shelter, the next objective was food. Feeling rather optimistic, we cast our fishing lines and waited for the fish to bite. Hours passed and the sun started its westward descent, but the fish still seemed uninterested in our bait. I decided that I would rather use whatever remaining sunlight was left to gather some firewood, so I hopped onto the Indie and set out on my quest. I collected as much firewood as I could find, piled it onto the floorboard of the Indie, and went back to the campsite determined to get a nice fire going.

I generally don’t claim to be capable of things that I am not skilled in, and I can’t light a fire by rubbing sticks together or striking rocks. I am but a simple man, and hence I carry around a lighter for such occasions. Given the right tools, I can make myself pretty useful. So far, the Indie seems to have been making it evident that it is quite capable of a lot of fun stuff, not just the daily commute to and from your workplace. A quick glance at the display indicated a range of 40 km remaining, so I wasn’t really worried about the trip back home. There was no sign of range anxiety anywhere in sight yet.

As night fell, our futile attempts to fish saw to it that we fished out a packet of instant noodles and quickly made a meal out of it. We sat around the fire for a little while longer and marvelled at the fact that we could actually see the stars
out there, unlike in the city, where the light pollution is terrible. We soon called it a night and retired to our tents, but I lay awake for a little while more with quite a few thoughts running through my head. I would never have thought that I could have this much fun with an EV. And a scooter at that!

The next morning saw us waking just as the sun began to rise, and as responsible campers, we packed up and left no waste behind. It is our duty to leave the place exactly as we found it if we expect to see it again. Leave it as it was so that the next people who chance upon it get to enjoy it just as much as we did. We then set off on the short journey back home, and I found myself at the realisation that EVs aren’t that bad after all and that, with the right amount of planning, we can squeeze every ounce of fun out of them. Just as I thought that, my eyes wandered to the range indicator on the dash. It showed a range of 11 km remaining, and we had 10 km left to go. Hello, range anxiety, old buddy — how have you been?