A trial by fire for our first performance motorcycle

After 54 days, the two Mantis – with their riders – successfully ended their record-breaking ride of 13,510km. This is that story.

A trial by fire for our first performance motorcycle

Wednesday March 29, 2023,

5 min Read

If the Mantis exists today, much of it is credited to ardent motorcycle enthusiasts who realised that no electric motorcycle currently sold in the Indian market excited them. Instead of resorting to ranting, , they went on to actually build an electric bike like no other – one that actually checked all the boxes. 

An electric motorcycle that has the performance to put a smile on the rider’s face, with the practicality and range that stops this smirk from turning into a frown. No matter how good a bike might seem imaginatively, on paper or even as a 3D render, it is the reality check of the tarmac – and a lack of it at times - that ascertains the prowess of a motorcycle. 

Orxa Mantis

Electric Bharatmala riders onboard Orxa Mantis

To see how our Mantis fared on roads across the length and breadth of the country, we wanted to be sure it was everything we wanted it to be before we went to market and got fellow motorcyclists onto it. . Our goal was to put the Mantis through the harshest rigours, making it endure whatever India’s roads and climatic conditions had to offer.  

This desire of ours to push the Mantis to its absolute breaking point resulted in the Electric Bharatmala—a  ride spanning 13,510 km, starting from Bengaluru, which crossed 20 states and 2 Union Territories, driving up the coast along the Bay of Bengal, over the foothills of Himalayas, through Thar desert and the Rann of Kutch, down the coast along the Arabian Sea, and the Western Ghats and finally reaching back at Bengaluru. 

Along the way we encountered sub-zero temperatures of -2°C in Manali, proceeding  to ride through a scorching 42°C in Rajasthan. Dust almost became a constant companion, but the rains offered respite only to throw slush and muck our way. 

Orxa Mantis

Orxa Mantis electric motorcycle tested at its facility in Bengaluru

Corners in the ghats were chased with great aplomb, while the seemingly endless roads through the plains tried their best to lull our senses into a dreary numbness. The snow-clad mountains made way for  forests which then changed to rolling fields that stretched all the way to the horizon. Crowded cities, bustling towns and sleepy villages rolled by. 

This ride was liberally interspaced with long desolate highways. To make sure Mantis riders were always alert and at the top of their game, we took turns riding the bikes at regular intervals. The two bikes, however, soldiered on without any respite.

The result

After 54 days, the two Mantis – with their riders – successfully ended their record-breaking ride of 13,510km. After traversing roads across the country, our bikes recorded a range of more than 200 km per charge in the city, and between 150-160 km when the throttle was wrung back for an average speed of 70-75 kph on the highways. 

Between the two Mantis’, the total energy consumption for the Bharatmala was about 2,000 kWh. Assuming a rather exaggerated electricity price of Rs. 7 per kWh, the total expenditure would come to about Rs. 15,000. This is a relatively paltry amount to spend on an expedition of such epic proportions especially when one assesses what it would have costed to have done the same ride on a comparative petrol-burning motorcycle – 500 litres of petrol for each of the two bikes, which with the current costs of fuel, would work out to about 1 lakh rupees. 

Orxa Mantis

The Electric Bharatmala ride spanned over 13,500km covering 20 states and 2 union territories across India

The successful completion of the Electric Bharatmala by both the Mantis’ was ample validation that an  electric motorcycle is ready to take on Indian roads. It helped alleviate concerns about the existence of the requisite infrastructure for performance electric mobility across the country. Working with our collaborators we rode our two Mantis’ through 17 small towns and set up an equal number of charging stations (with 68 new charging points) there in our wake. 

Because of these efforts, an electric motorcyclist can now ride from Jamshedpur all the way to Cherrapunji via Kolkata, Malda, Guwahati, Darjeeling, Cooch Behar and Dimapur. This is a distance of over 2200 km of roads running through varying terrain in the Northeast which can now be explored by avid electric motorcycle enthusiasts for whom range anxiety is a thing of the past.

The Electric Bharatmala has proven to us and fellow motorcyclists that the Mantis possesses what it takes to function as an efficient city commuter during the week and is capable of taking on the grunt of the highway. It also is testament to the fact that the requisite infrastructure for EVs is quickly gaining ground across the country and is no longer a pipe dream. 

The transition towards electric mobility in India is inevitable, and the Mantis showcases that this does not have to be at the cost of exhilarating performance and the joy of riding that motorcycle enthusiasts so desire.

Dr. Prajwal Sabnis Co-founded Orxa Energies in 2015 and conceived its flagship product –The Mantis,

a zero-emission electric performance motorcycle. He has been the architect behind building and

developing innovative products at Orxa.

Edited by Akanksha Sarma

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)