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Electric scooters have been around for over a decade but the Revolt RV 400 is India’s first electric motorcycle. Can it replace its petrol-powered counterparts is the question...
These days, every third LinkedIn connection is changing their job status to ‘self-employed’ and is looking for seed funding for his/her electric vehicles venture. The government has a big role to play in this, with the upcoming electric vehicle mandate. Amidst the big slump in the industry, an electric future sounds assuring, at least for now. And joining the bandwagon is Rahul Sharma, the co-founder of Micromax with Revolt Intellicorp. Back in the day, when Micromax was at its peak, Rahul managed to topple the giants, including Samsung, to emerge as the bestselling mobile phone brand in the country. The game has changed now though. Chinese players such as Xiaomi and OnePlus have stormed the Indian market, and Micromax is nowhere to be seen. But that’s because Rahul is focusing on his new electric vehicles venture Revolt, with debut of the RV 400, India’s first affordable, electric commuter motorcycle. But is it worth spending the extra money over a 125cc petrol-powered commuter?
The RV is powered by a modest 3.24kWh battery, mated to a 3kW motor that sends the power to the rear wheel via a belt. The range is adequate for urban conditions with an ARAI-certified figure of 156km. However, ARAI tests are conducted with the vehicle ridden constantly at 45kmph, so expect the numbers to drop drastically, especially in the full-power mode. Yes, the RV gets three riding modes as well, which can be selected via a toggle switch on the handlebar replacing the traditional engine kill switch. Mode 3 allows for a top speed of 85kmph, mode 2 is limited at 65kmph while the conservative, mode 1 limits the speed at 45kmph. But you need not stick to 1, for Revolt has multiple solutions for range anxiety, including swappable batteries which can also be delivered to your doorstep.
The all-digital cluster is quite informative, displaying the range, battery charge, selected riding mode and ambient temperature. You also get a ’bar-mounted USB port to charge a smartphone which plays host to a lot of features, such as starting the bike, geo-fencing it, selecting the exhaust note (played via a bike-mounted speaker), check battery status and even order a battery.
The RV is not very different from a 125cc when it comes to the dimensions. The headlamp resembles the 250 Duke’s while the panels reminded me of the Glamour. Similarly, when you swing a leg over the RV, you instantly feel at home except for the slightly taller-than-usual 814mm seat. The ground clearance is high, at 220mm, for hassle-free water wading during monsoons, leading to the high seat. Thankfully, the seat gets a narrow in-seam and the ’bar is tall and wide for a comfortable rider’s triangle. The surprising bit is the lack of foot lever for the brake. Yes, the RV functions like a scooter with both the brakes mounted on the bar.
Start the motor with the tank-mounted ‘Power’ switch and the RV comes to life with an inline-triple sound! When the ride began, all of us switched off the annoying speakers at the first instance so I really cannot comment on the ‘exhaust’ bit until we get the RV for a long-term test.
The RV is quick to get to 40, after which the progress struggles. On the go-kart track’s straight bit, I managed to hit 65kmph, while fellow journos with a lighter frame managed to hit 70kmph. The performance is comparable to a regular commuter and makes for a hassle-free experience over its petrol-powered counterparts. Revolt has employed a belt drive for smoother delivery,which could be an issue especially during monsoons. The throttle response is not smooth and even after riding the bike for over an hour, I couldn’t get accustomed to it.
The RV is very agile and easy to tip into corners thanks to its short wheelbase and 108kg weight. The end result is a super-light machine that offers no feedback in corners and the front-end doesn’t feel assuring as well. But again, this is meant for city commutes so you cannot really expect it to be sporty. There’s also the inclusion of CBS which again has been mandated by the GoI, but the brakes fell short of my expectations. And with no engine braking to watch your back, the 240mm disc at both ends failed to provide adequate stopping power.
The RV 400 is being rolled out starting with Delhi, followed by Pune in the first leg. The second leg will see it launched in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Ahmedabad and Chennai. But you can always order one over Amazon.in.
The prices have been revealed but instead of a lump sum amount, Revolt is selling it like in a EMI-format with monthly installments for 37 months. And there are three variants to choose from namely RV300, RV400 Base and RV 400 Premium. The RV300 will cost you Rs 2999 for 37 months which is Rs 1.11 lakh if you consider the total amount spent after three years. The RV 400 Base and Premium on the other hand will cost Rs 3499 and Rs 3999, respectively. The effective price turns out to be Rs 1.3 lakh for the base variant and Rs 1.48 for the top-of-the-line RV 400 Premium. That makes it more expensive that the current electric benchmark - the Ather 450.
The Ather feels like a well-finished, polished product while the RV feels more like it’s still in the nascent stage. Considering the amount of money saved on fuel and service, the RV makes for a great buy. But wouldn’t you rather have a scooter in scooter’s clothing, which is more practical, rather than having a scooter that is pretending to be a motorcycle?