TVS X review: Xploring new ground


A couple of months after TVS revealed its mould-breaking X EV in Dubai, we’ve been given a brief opportunity to ride it at the company’s Hosur test track and there’s a lot to talk about. TVS calls the X a crossover thanks to the motorcycle-like frame that denies you a conventional floorboard. But since it has 12-inch wheels and a fairly scooter-like riding experience, we’ll stick with calling it a scooter. 

TVS X design, quality

Regardless, you just can’t get enough of staring at this machine because there are so many details to take in. I think it's a smashing-looking thing and it's remarkable how close it remains to the wild and much loved Creon concept from 2018. With its exposed aluminium chassis and subframe, the slim headlamp and aggressively contoured rear section, the X will always turn heads. 

There are plenty of close up details to admire as well, every one of them is unique to this machine with no borrowed parts from existing products. You’ll find yourself admiring the stalk-mounted mirrors, the nicely detailed adjustable hand levers, the clever-folding pillion footpegs and those stylish-looking alloy wheels. There is a lot of focus on making the X feel like a special, expensive machine and the desirability factor here is undoubtedly high. It’s one of those machines that will create a real sense of pride when you look at it parked in your garage.

TVS X riding experience

But TVS intends for you to do much more than just look at the X on its sleek alloy side stand. This is designed to be a sporty machine and at the core of that is the superbike-style twin-spar chassis. Unlike a motorcycle, this chassis is centred around a battery pack, which at 4.4kWh of installed capacity (3.8kWh usable) is on the large side, but nothing out of the ordinary. Behind the pack lies TVS’ first in-house motor, which kicks out a peak of 11kW while nominal power is 7kW. Again, good numbers, but not something you can’t find anywhere else in the Indian EV market.

We had a very brief time to ride and while our four laps around TVS’ test track at Hosur revealed little about how the X will feel in city traffic, we now know where the performance boundaries lie. Acceleration from a standstill in the highest of the three riding modes feels strong, but memory suggests that an Ather launches off the line with more aggression in Warp mode. The X surges to about 80kph with ease, after which performance begins to plateau and it then slowly builds up to an indicated top speed of just over 100kph.

The accelerator response itself feels nice and smooth, but there is a small delay and slight subsequent jerk when opening the accelerator at low speeds. This is down to the sealed (maintenance free) silent chain that the X uses instead of a belt drive for the final drive system, and TVS says they can tweak the chain tension to smooth this out. 

When it comes to the riding experience, it's the chassis that stands out. You get a wonderfully solid feel that comes from having a stiff chassis, but the suspension was also able to handle the mid corner bumps on the track nicely. Handling was good fun, although the front end does feel a little light around high-speed curves. Overall, it's a stable machine, but doesn’t have quite the planted feel of a Yamaha Aerox on its 14-inch wheels.

On the road, I suspect the suspension might be on the firm side, but not to the extent of being uncomfortable, although we’ll have to confirm this. The riding position seems to be very nicely judged and both tall and short riders had nothing bad to report. 

As for the brakes, they’re set quite sharp at the front and too sharp at the rear. The single-channel ABS sorts out the front, but it takes little effort to lock up the rear tyre – TVS says that this will be re-tuned before deliveries begin. Regen is selectable by 5-levels, and we'll want to spend time experimenting with this on the road to see what it’s like.  

TVS X range, charging

While the overall performance experience is good, it’s not game changing and the same goes for the range. TVS claims an IDC range of 140km and we’ll have to fully test the scooter to see what that translates to in real world usage. Where the X stands out is in its chargers. The normal charger is a 950 watt portable unit, but you can also buy a 3kW fixed fast charger that can be installed at your home. The company claims a 0-80 percent charge time of 4.5hrs with the standard charger and 1hr20min with the fast charger. 

TVS X features, connectivity

What truly stands out on the X is its technology and connected features. It will take a separate review to fully cover everything, but this is easily the most tech-packed EV I have encountered so far. Beyond the lean sensitive cornering lights, the big talking points are the massive 10.25-inch tilt-adjustable TFT display and how it interfaces with both your smartphone and smartwatch. 

The entire OS is proprietary to TVS and there is an almost overwhelming amount of functionality built in. This goes far beyond the now usual hill-hold, cruise control, geofencing, location sharing, crash alerts and more that we’ve seen in many EVs.

For example, like the Ola, this scooter does not have a physical key and you can start it with a pin or through your phone, or with an NFC key card.  Also like the Ola, the X has a built-in speaker, but it takes things a step further by allowing you to browse videos and even surf the internet. This is not enabled on the move, but you can do so while stopped at a signal and I’m not convinced that this is a good idea.

Then again, there are some very nicely thought-out features and display widgets that will show you real time traffic updates, your ETA and even the expected weather on your commute. Map data is via Here Technologies and this as well as the real time traffic data is generated via the built-in 4G e-sim. However, the reels, videos and music data will be provided via your smartphone hotspot. TVS has not yet decided what its data charges will be or how long these connected services will be offered for free.

TVS X issues

It will take some time to wrap your head around the TVS X’s incredible features, but the scooter is not free from issues. We noticed that the screen response could be a little more fluid and that some things like the hazard lights and power button were slow and inconsistent in their response. 

The bigger issue was that the motor would suddenly shut off without warning on multiple scooters while on the move and it would have to be restarted using the brake and power button. It can be an unpleasant experience if it happens mid corner. TVS believes it could be down to the repeated fast charging followed by hard riding that the scooters were subjected to on the media ride event. This is the first time the company is developing its own EV powertrain as the iQube uses a Bosch setup. Nevertheless, it shouldn't be happening and the company says it will address the problem before the deliveries begin in December. It's something we will definitely look out for when we ride the scooter for our full road test. 

TVS X verdict

The TVS X has the potential to be a likeable, desirable and very unique EV, with that last factor being down to the price. At Rs 2.50 lakh, this is far more expensive than any other Indian EV scooter, and you’ll have to pay a further Rs 16,250 for the charger which is not bundled in since the X does not comply with the FAME 2 subsidy. Prices for the fast charger are not yet revealed. 

When you break it down to its very premium parts, the price is easier to understand. However, a simple comparison of range and performance parameters with other premium EVs makes it harder to digest. Nevertheless, it's great to see TVS try something bold and different. How well the X does in India will be a fascinating insight into what the new generation of young, premium customers value and how much they are willing to pay for it. 

Also See:

TVS X video review

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