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TVS had recently announced their foray into the world of electric mobility solutions when they launched the iQube Electric scooter about a month ago in Bengaluru in a star-studded affair with the chief guest being none other than the Union Transport Minister Mr Nitin Gadkari and the Karnataka State Chief Minister Mr Y.S. Yeddyyurappa themselves. All the details about the scooter including price and tech specs were made known at the time of the launch itself, and the only thing remaining to be known was to see how it feels to ride this scooter. Finally, we had a chance to ride it a day before yesterday at TVS’s Hosur plant test track and here’s what we could learn from that outing.
Design-wise, the iQube Electric offers an elegant overall persona without trying to look too ambitious. Clearly, no drama here. It is a very neat design that should appeal to people of all ages. There is only one colour option available as of now though. It features an LED headlamp along with LED DRLs, as well as full LED tail lamp as well. And there is an illuminated iQube logo with blue backlight as well on the left swingarm. Then you have a 5-inch full color TFT screen at the instrument panel that displays a host of information including all tell-tale lights and basic and advanced info like speedometer, battery level, distance to empty, etc. Pair it with your smartphone with the help of TVS iQube app (android and ios) and it would show you call and SMS alerts, trip telemetry, turn by turn navigation, over-speed alert, etc. You could also monitor battery charge status on your phone while the scooter is being charged, parked away from you.
At the heart of the TVS iQube sits a 3 kW hub-mounted motor sourced from Bosch, which gives a peak power output of 4.4 kW. This motor is powered by 3 battery packs, the cells of which are sourced from LG. One of these battery packs sits under the floorboard, one under the pillion seat, and the last one a little behind it. Rest all the components of the scooter including the chassis, the BMS, the controller, the TFT panel have all been developed by TVS themselves. These batteries would take about 5 hours for a full charge and would take approximately 4 hours for 75% charge. They can be charged with the home charger being supplied with the scooter. TVS has also installed 10 chargers for public charging at 10 different TVS dealerships across Bangalore only as of now. There is no fast charger available yet for this scooter; however, TVS says that they are developing one. The maximum range is 75 kms on one full charge but that is only when you ride it in economy mode. Riding in Sport mode would bring the range down considerably to about 55 km. Also needless to say that the range would depend on your riding style as well as riding conditions. The iQube can attain a top speed of 78 kmph in Sport mode, which will be further restricted to about 45 kmph if you are riding in Economy mode. The basic difference between these two riding modes is that of top speed only. The iQube also features a Park-Assist mode, which when engaged allows you to ride in reverse at a max speed of 3 kmph, and also in the forward direction with a max speed of around 10 kmph.
Sitting on the iQube doesn’t give you any different feeling than what you would get from a conventional scooter. It feels no different unless you twist the throttle, and you’d immediately feel a jerk as the motor unleashes all the torque in one go without hesitation. But before that, once you turn on the ignition key, the scooter would come to life in a neutral position, meaning it won’t move even if you twist the accelerator. It would engage into riding mode only when you press either of the brakes along with the riding mode selector button. This is a safety feature that TVS has incorporated into this scooter to prevent unintentional rolling of the scooter. Also it won’t buzz if you have the side stand engaged. As should be the case with any electric vehicle, the iQube is a silent operator, which is very unnerving if you are riding an electric vehicle for the first time. There are no vibrations felt from anywhere in the scooter and it attains its claimed top speed of 78 kmph quickly and without any drama. Then you have regenerative braking bundled with the package, which recharges the batteries every time you roll off the throttle. With the 90/90 tyres and 12-inch wheels at both front and rear, and also telescopic front suspension at the front and dual suspension set up at the rear, it handles beautifully and takes everything that is thrown at it with much ease, though the main test track at the TVS plant offers very little variation and we would prefer a longer road test to properly assess its capabilities. There is a 220 mm disk at the front and drum brake at the rear coupled with the CBS system to take care of braking duties. The CBS is actuated if you press the rear brake lever only.
Now, the TVS iQube can be yours at price tag of 1.15 lakh on-road Bengaluru, which puts it in roughly the same price range as its competitors, namely the Bajaj Chetak and the Ather 450. This scooter looks well proportioned and has a very likeable overall persona. The performance in terms of range and top speed, etc., are also at par with the competitors. Handling and overall ride quality also offer very little to complain about. And this makes the TVS iQube tick all the right boxes. And then you have the assurance of a brand like TVS backing it with all its might. So if the salespeople at TVS dealerships are able to convince a prospective customer to switch to electric from an IC vehicle (and take a significant financial hit over a conventional scooter), it should prove to be a very good product that would take care of most of the day to day mobility-related needs while also taking care of environment. Availability of a fast charger and a wider public charging system would be an added advantage to woo the customers.