TVS iQube Road Test Review
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Can TVS’s first all electric scooter be sensible enough to be your next scooter?
Even though the first electric scooters went on sale in India in the mid 2000s, there are few credible alternatives to petrol runabouts even today. However, the arrival of TVS’ electric iQube is a big moment, because it is a TVS. That is to say, a mainstream manufacturer is finally offering ICE and EV scooters under one roof. The trust and confidence of buying an EV from a brand you would have considered buying or already owned, adds a greater sense of confidence to EVs as a genuine alternative to ICE scooters. However, to convince you to go EV the iQube needs to prove to be just as capable, if not more, than the other scooters from Hosur. Does it?
- Super smooth and quiet
- Ultra low cost of running
- Peppy for city use
- Lacks fast charging option
- No combi-lock
- Slightly firm suspension
- Crisp and bright digital display
- Phone app for connected vehicle features
- You could say the iQube looks like the next-gen Jupiter would. It doesn’t have sharp lines or a racy stance. Instead, the uncomplicated, but handsome, robustness of the Jupiter can be seen here.
- It has futuristic elements, like the way the black sections contrast with the predominantly white scooter, like the small black windscreen sits on the handlebar shroud with the DRL under. We especially like the black surround used for the slim sections for the lights.
- The three pod LED headlamp unit sits in a very slim housing and is flanked by the turn indicators in the lower half of the apron. The tail lamps have a similar look too.
- For the “wow” effect the iQube has a blue “Electric” sign on the left that glows when you are stationary, letting by-standers know that it is an EV.
- In terms of dimensions, it is roughly the same size as the Jupiter too.TVS has shared only the wheelbase which is longer than the Jupiter by 15mm.
- The switch-gear feels a bit awkward, especially the oversized hazard switch on the right hand side. The clickiness of some switches doesn’t feel on par with the Jupiter, because of which engaging or changing the drive modes were a hit or a miss.
- The rectangular design for the mirrors looks very dated though.
- At 118kg the iQube is heavier than the Ather by 7kgs and 11 kgs heavier than the Jupiter. On its own the scooter feels very manageable as the weight sits low down. The weight difference can be felt when pulling it out of a parking spot, however the “Q-Assist” reversing function lets the electric motor help you to reverse, thereby even less effort with the iQube than with a regular scooter. Although engaging the modes through the switches feels fiddly.
- The 2.25 kWh of energy is stored in three batteries, one of which is stowed under the floorboard. But, you won’t realise it as the floor board is low and you sit in a comfortable upright manner. The iQube’sseat height at 770mm,is just a bit taller than the Jupiter, but it will be easy to hop on and off for riders under 5’6” too and it is 10mm lower than the Ather.
- The long and wide seat is comfy for two up riding and the seat cushioning is great for extended city trips too. Sturdy fold out pillion footrests feel premium, but, if your family members sit side-saddle do opt for the side step.
- The iQube is very practical, for carrying persons or packages. It offers upright seating and the wide floorboard provides decent foot room even when carrying a small carton. The rectangular and deep underseat storage is well shaped allowing you to pack in plenty of groceries or even a large laptop with ease.
- However, the iQube misses out on some conveniences. Compared to the Jupiter there is no combi-lock for remote seat opening, and the apron mounted phone holder is also absent on the iQube, because that space is occupied by the charging port for the drive batteries. So, to charge your phone on the go, you’ll need to place it in the underseat storage.
Engine & Performance
- The iQube has an unusual layout as the electric motor is mounted on the wheel. Don’t worry about splashing through puddles because the motor is IP67 rated. This means it can wade through flooded roads, although it should never be submerged for longer than thirty minutes.
- In our real world tests with a 75kg rider on board provided 83km of range in the city. Like with petrol vehicles, carrying a pillion or luggage will increase the energy consumption, thereby reducing range.
- This Bosch motor makes 3kW of power and for short bursts can develop 4.4kW too. This translates to 4PS and 6PS, much lower than regular scooters. But in the real world the performance of the iQube is as good, if not better than other petrol scooters. It is quicker and more responsive than the Jupiter despite being heavier. Overtaking can be done easily too as the peak power is also available for a duration of 60 seconds, very long by EV standards.
- The instantaneous torque on offer from the motor is strong even in Eco mode. This is a mode you can easily use in the city. There is enough punch for overtaking but it does cap speed at 45kmph.
- Power Mode increases the torque on offer and unlocks a top speed of 78kmph.
- Being an electric it has “regenerative braking” which uses the motor to slow you down while charging the batteries. This “regen” braking also reduces how much you brake and makes for smoother and more enjoyable commutes too.
- The TVS also packs connected vehicle technology to monitor the vehicle’s SOC remotely, set geo-fences and for navigation too. All of this is possible through an independent TVS iQube app.
- Incredibly even when battery percentage drops to 1% the iQube doesn't start limping like many other EVs. Instead it allows you to accelerate up to 30kmph, making every Watt-Hour of energy properly usable.
- TVS offers a 3 year 50,000km warranty on the battery which should be easily managed considering the iQube can only be slow charged. As a result, quick “top-ups” in case of an emergency are just not possible.
Ride & Handling
- The iQube is easy to ride around for commuting as the additional weight of the batteries is well managed.
- Like other TVS scooters it uses a telescopic fork at the front, but at the rear it uses dual shock absorbers, instead of a single shock absorber. This is needed to control the additional weight on the rear wheel.
- Overall comfort on the iQube is good too and it feels very composed over bumps. But there is a firmness which can be felt especially when going over broken roads.
- A Combined Braking System uses the disc brake at the front and the drum at the rear to provide confident braking too.
Just another scooter. That’s all the TVS iQube needs to be to become the EV champion for Indian families. And, it does! With a real-world range of 80km, the iQube easily be the family’s daily runabout. The smooth, silent and intuitive iQube quickly makes regular scooters seem gruff and more cumbersome. The way TVS has calibrated the performance character in the modes, and low battery scenarios strengthens its case as an everyday scooter. Its slightly firm suspension is something you can get used to, and the more conservative slow-charging system won’t hamper its role as a family scooter.
With the new Centre and State government subsidies on offer, the additional cost of buying an iQube over a petrol powered scooter has narrowed enough to convince us that EVs are the way to go. So, if you were looking for a no-nonsense scooter, iQube comes with the ability expected of a family scooter and the peace of mind you get with a mainstream manufacturer like TVS.