Electric scooters seem to have become the new norm. After Bajaj, it's TVS that has entered into this space with its first fully-electric offering – the iQube. But does TVS stand a chance in what is rapidly becoming an intensely competitive space?
2020 certainly looks like the year of e-scooters. The year began with Bajaj reviving the iconic Chetak in an electric avatar, which was followed by Ather launching the new and improved 450X. And, now, what we have here is the TVS iQube Electric. Priced at ₹1.15 lakh, but currently only available in Bengaluru, TVS has slotted its new e-scooter between the 450X (₹1.13 lakh) and the Chetak (₹1.19 lakh). We spent an entire day with the iQube at TVS’ test track at Hosur to get an idea of what this new e-scooter is all about. So, here goes…
Unlike its rivals, TVS has opted for a combination of both classic and futuristic as far as the design is concerned. And honestly, this is a very smart move, since it has the potential of attracting customers from all age groups.
The front apron of the scooter has been beautifully sculpted with a gloss black panel, breaking the all-white monotony. With the LED DRLs are neatly tucked into the upper handlebar unit, the crystal-like all-LED headlamp strip, with LED indicators, adds a fresh design to the scooter. It actually looks like a hesitant smiley.
In profile, you can see some glimpses of Jupiter. TVS has stuck to its tried-and-tested scooter design. You can see a big unmistakable iQube Electric badge on the side panels. On the left-hand side, below the side footrest, it gets a blue illuminated ‘Electric’ badge, which is very catchy and doesn’t look tacky or over-the-top.
The rear end is slightly on the conservative side, but the all-LED taillights give it a contemporary look. Above the lamps sits a Q-park assist badge, but we’ll address that it a bit later.
Practical, yet tech-laden
The iQube sports a 5-inch TFT screen, which can be connected to the latest version of the TVS mobile connectivity platform, SmartXonnect, which first made its debut on the Ntorq. With the help of the TVS iQube app, available in both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, you can access over 50 features, like turn-by-turn navigation, access incoming calls and get SMS alerts, locate charging stations, see charging status, ride statistics, geo-fencing info and live location. The TFT screen also shows the battery’s status, distance-to-empty range, mobile phone’s battery life, network connectivity, and other standard information, like live average speed, battery range, ride mode – Eco or Sport – two trip metres, odometer, and, of course, a digital speedometer.
In terms of practicality, the iQube gets two hooks for handbags – one on the lower part of the dashboard and the other below the front seat. The storage beneath the seat is spacious enough to store an open-faced helmet and also has a nicely placed USB port.
Eager to please
Generally speaking, the Eco mode in most electric scooters can be quite lethargic at best, but this isn’t the case with the iQube. TVS has ensured that the 4.4kW motor, in both Eco and Power modes, offers strong initial acceleration. Of course, in Eco mode, the scooter stays within 50km/h, which is a pretty decent speed when all you have to do is negotiate bumper-to-bumper traffic in Bengaluru. The best part, however, is that in this mode, the e-scooter offers a claimed battery range of 75kms.
Now, coming to Power mode – something that I would call the fun mode – it takes the scooter all the way to 78km/h. I, however, managed to touch 82km/h, but that could be down to speedometer error. Nevertheless, the scooter feels zippy. At 118kgs, it feels light and stable at the same time, which is important. The flip side here is that that battery range plummets down to 55 kilometres and, once the range starts to dip further, you can feel the power slowly receding as well, and the scooter struggles to stay between 60 and 65km/h.
Now, while I do think that the battery range is slightly limited, thanks to regenerative braking, the iQube should add at least a couple of kilometres of range.
The iQube gets three 750Wh batteries, which are made in-house, although the cells are made by LG Korea. Two batteries are situated below the seat and one under the floor panel. The iQube offers a very decent ground clearance of 157mm, so you don’t have to worry about scraping the underbody.
The iQube is based on a brand-new frame and gets twin hydraulic shock-absorbers, which is rare in the scooter segment, and, of course, telescopic front forks. Since we were riding on the tarmac, we couldn’t really test the suspension setup, but it certainly did feel a lot more forgiving and softer than the Ather’s firm setup. The iQube sports 12-inch alloy wheels, which are similar to the Jupiter's, and a 220mm disc brake and a 130mm drum, which are quite effective and offer a decent bite.
Sadly, we couldn't test its handling capability thoroughly, as the test track has limited turns. Still, the scooter felt eager and confident all the time. But we’ll have to do a full road test to know more about its handling capability.
TVS will set up a 230V, 10A charging socket at your home or office free of cost. With the help of this setup, the iQube can be charged up to 80% of its capacity in 4 hours, and fully in 5 hours. Currently, there is no fast-charging option.
TVS has done a smart move by not compromising on throttle response, especially in Eco mode. With impressive build quality, top-notch fit-and-finish, a comfortable seat for both the rider and the pillion, and a lot of smart features, the iQube definitely seems to be a practical option to tackle your traffic nightmares in Bengaluru.
- TVS iQube
Battery: 2.25 kW Lithium-ion
Power: 4.4 kW
Peak Torque: 140Nm
Price: ₹1.15 lakh (On-road price)
X-factor: Classy design, combined with a punchy motor.
• Spirited throttle response
• Comfortable seat
• Feature laden
• Limited range in Power mode
• Only available in Bengaluru