TVS iQube first ride review
A scooter is lightweight, nimble to handle and you can cruise on it all day long. You can do daily commutes, run errands and at times you can ride it just for the joy of riding. With manufacturers busy shifting their BSIV vehicles to BSVI, they are also focused on hybrids and EVs. And since we are at the cusp of these transitions, scooters are not far behind when it comes to the EV wave. I had the opportunity to ride the TVS iQube which is an electric scooter. The question was if it can take on the old streets and roads with new batteries instead of petrol. We have the answers. Also, it was my first electric scooter so I was quite excited.
How does it look?
The iQube doesn't look any different from any of the ICE or EV scooters out there. The overall design approach is very simple. It has a very contemporary touch to it with a hint of futuristic style. The theme of the scooter is black and white and that is the only option available. If you have seen the movie "I, Robot" starring Will Smith, the iQube looks like it jumped straight out of it.
In front you get LED headlamps and above it is a black gloss finished panel which can also be seen on the top of the handlebar as well. You get larger than usual rearview mirrors in an almost square shape which does a good job in terms of clear visibility. In the middle, you have a long seat for the pillion and rider.
It is soft and comfortable and it has red colour double stitching on it, the stitching is only visible when you look for it but it still looks nice when noticed. There is a grab rail for pillion riders and that also has a black panel in the middle of it. It kind of keeps things interesting in terms of colour contrast.
The belly of the scooter is plain and simple with the iQube badging at the centre and at the rear you get LED tail lamps that look neat. Like I said before, the scooter looks nice and simple, nothing exciting but nothing to nitpick either.
The iQube comes with plenty of toys to play with. It comes with a connected feature, a feature that TVS boasts a lot about. SmartXonnect is an app developed by TVS that keeps your phone connected to the scooter and it offers quite a lot in terms of information and functionality. It is android and iOS friendly and its badging can be seen all over the scooter.
The app helps with turn-by-turn navigation, geo-fencing, remote charge status, incoming call and message alerts. It also helps you in tracking your vehicle and gives directions to reach it. The app provides information about how much charge the scooter has and how far it can go.
A feature that impressed me was the position sensor of the scooter, which detects if it is lying 180 degrees on the ground for more than a minute, it surmises that the scooter has been in an accident and sends out a message to your emergency contacts regarding the situation.
All the vital information like speed, odometer, range, mode and battery percentage is clearly displayed on a five-inch TFT instrument cluster which is auto-ambient adjusting and waterproof. You get ample amount of space under the seat to store a helmet and along with that is a USB port to charge your phone.
There is also a park assist feature which provides reverse motion for better parking at tricky places. The scooter also has a gradeability of 10 degrees which is pretty impressive. The scooter comes with tubeless tyres, and a front disc brake of 220mm, rear wheel has a drum brake of 130mm.
There is regenerative braking that charges the battery on the go and there is an "electric" badging on the hub motor at the rear wheel which is illuminated and turns off when you start riding. It also comes with a fancy car like key with a small light, that allows you to find the key fob in the dark. A minor miss would be the switchgear as it could have been a little better in terms of fit and finish.
This is where things get interesting, as I started the scooter and was clocking 40kmph one thing that I could notice was that there was not a sound. Now, I know that EVs are usually quiet but, I have heard a humm on many vehicles that run on batteries. This one did impress me with its absolute silence. All I could hear was the wind blast and the tyres on the road.
And this does not come at a cost of performance, the iQube goes up to 84kmph on power mode and this was when the battery was 100 percent, I rode the bike at 50 percent battery and it still did a good 81 kmph. But when it comes to Evs, top speed or performance is the least of concerns. The first question that worries everyone is the range, nobody wants to be stuck in the middle of the road with a scooter that has no juice in it.
Firstly, the SmartXonnect feature tells you beforehand about the range you can cover. Secondly, a full charge takes five hours and gives you a range of 75km. In my opinion, the range could have been a little more than 80 kms because the average daily commute is usually over that and it also gives you a safe buffer for those extra kilometres.
There are two modes on offer and both modes have a different purpose, and accordingly the range changes as well. You can switch between the modes while riding at a push of a button. The eco mode gives you a range of 75kms and a top speed of 50kmph. It is the best mode to cruise around the city and for the daily commute. The power mode gives a range of 50km and a top speed of 80kmph. This mode is essentially for those days when you are in a hurry or you want to give it the beans. There is enough power in the mid-range to make a quick overtake in both modes.
Now, we come at what is at the heart of the iQube, it's propulsion unit. The iQube runs on three lithium-ion batteries that power the hub motor on the wheel. The batteries are resistant to water and dust because of the high strength aluminium casing. One battery is placed on the footboard and the other two are placed on the left side stacked parallelly against each other. The battery output amounts to 2.25kWh and it powers the hub motor to make a peak power of 6PS and a rated torque of 33Nm. It still has enough pull to take on any inclined surface or flyovers on the road.
If you are worried about not using it after a full charge, you don't need to fret. The scooter's charge won't deplete even after a month. It also has water wading capability and you won't have to worry if the footboard comes in contact with water, the battery is well protected. Scoot over those puddles without a worry. There are little air vents on the body of the scooter which allows airflow around the battery pack for ventilation. The ground clearance is 150mm, so you might have to be a little careful with potholes and rough roads. The scooter weighs only 118kg which makes it pretty light and rider friendly for everyone.
Riding and handling
The iQube offers a supple ride at all times. It is fun to flick around corners and very friendly for newbie riders too. The low set handlebars and the footboard height seats you comfortably, keeping your thighs parallel to the road and your arms at ease. The seating posture is erect and doesn't stress your back or arms. There is enough knee room in the middle for a taller rider as well. I am 5 ft 9 inches and there was enough room for my knees. The brakes are effective and do a wonderful job. The feedback from the brakes is very progressive and it gives a very close idea of where the vehicle will stop. My sudden braking at 80kmph doesn't rile the iQube at all, it comes at a halt seamlessly without alarming the rider. The suspension was something that could have been better, it was on the stiffer side. Since my stint was on a track, the ride was supposed to be smooth. On the contrary, I felt undulations on the corners and even on straights.
The TVS iQube is priced at 1.15 lakh and it squares up against the likes of the Bajaj Chetak and Ather 450. The price includes charging cable, adapter and installation. At the moment there is no subscription for the SmatXonnect features but in future, there will be and it may alter the structure of features on offer. The TVS iQube presents itself as an everyday electric scooter that will ride you to work and will also help do your errands in fun. It is a very rider-friendly scooter and everyone in the family, from teenagers to grandparents will have a fun time on it. But, if you are looking for an electric scooter that brings a little more excitement to the ride and not just the usual day to day commute, along with different style options and design choices. The iQube may leave you wanting for more.