BGauss RUV 350 review: Unique spin on an electric scooter

BGauss RUV350 tracking shot

BGauss is a lesser-known Pune-based electric scooter company that routinely scores in the top 7 in terms of monthly sales figures. Thus far, the  company has retailed vehicles of Chinese origin but what we are going to talk about today, the RUV350, is claimed to be a made-in-India product.

BGauss says that the RUV 350 (Rider’s Utility Vehicle, in case you were wondering) is meant to tackle all sorts of roads faced by the average Indian rider comfortably. To that extent, it has equipped the scooter with large 16-inch wheels and a motorcycle-like telescopic fork and monoshock. This decidedly makes it a unique-looking thing with more than a hint of the step-throughs that you see zipping around in Asian cities. That being said, the design will be a hit or miss depending on your personal preference. Four colours are on offer and all but one come with brightly painted wheels.

BGauss RUV 350 design and features

Interestingly, the RUV’s design is eerily similar to the now-discontinued BGauss D15, although the two are very different underneath. Where the D15 had a hub motor, the RUV uses a new ‘InWheel Hyperdrive’ motor, which is a big mechanical change.

The RUV isn’t brimming with technology but it's not what you’d call spartan. The new 5-inch TFT display has 2 viewing modes and can be paired to your smartphone via BGauss’ app, although that isn’t ready just yet, for navigation and call alerts. It also has 3 riding modes - Sport, Ride & Eco - as well as hill hold, cruise control and vehicle fall-safe (which works in the same way as Ather’s products). While the dash is well laid-out, toggling through the menus is very cumbersome. You need to navigate through the menus by pressing preset button combinations and even then its hit or miss.

BGauss RUV 350 performance and handling

Powering the RUV 350 is a 3kWh LFP battery with a claimed real-world range of 120km. We covered 39km over the course of our shoot but the DTE indicator dropped roughly 45kms in that time, so some improvement in accuracy is needed here. It comes standard with a 500W charger that can top up a flat battery to full in a slow  6hr50min. BGauss says there will be 2 faster charger options available, which reduce the charging time a fair bit but we don't have prices for them yet.

We were only able to test the RUV 350 around the company’s plant in Chakan where the roads are superb and there are very few speedbreakers so we can’t give you a full verdict on the comfort front yet. What I can tell you is that even after going over a speedbreaker at 40kph, there were no nasty jolts sent up to my spine.

Some of that comfort is also down to the neutral rider’s triangle and the spacious, well-padded seat. There is enough space left for a pillion even after a rider of my size occupies the err, rider seat. The only gripe here is that the handlebar fouls my knees when making a U-turn, although you can slide back on the seat to alleviate this issue a little.

While the turning radius is great, performance is rather average. Even in its top Sport mode, it won’t wow you with its acceleration like some of its established competitors and progress past a speedo-indicated 65kph is very slow onto its claimed 75kph top speed. Having said that, the lowest Eco mode is sufficiently usable in the city with a capped 45kph top speed and you can even climb slopes while riding in it. Throttle response is good for the most part although you will feel a tiny jerk during on-off throttle transitions.

I wouldn’t advise you to go much faster than 45kph on the RUV 350 because of its weak drum brakes. The 130mm drums fore and aft need a hard, four-finger tug to bring this 122kg machine to a stop and they are completely devoid of any feel. This affects the hill hold function too as the scooter doesn’t stay in place and slides back incrementally because the rear brake isn’t fully depressed by the system. I really hope BGauss moves to a modern and consistently powerful front disc setup in the future.

With its 16-inch wheels, the RUV isn’t as agile as other scooters but it makes up for that with much better stability. You can carry reasonable lean angles before the main stand plays spoilsport.

Much like almost every other new EV, the BGauss had its fair share of gremlins, both electronic and mechanical, which reared their head during our time with it. For starters, my smartphone refused to connect to the dash via the beta version of BGauss’ app and this same problem occurred with 3 different units. Ultimately, I got a brief look at the app’s functionality on an employee’s smartphone that was paired to the RUV.

Under hard-braking scenarios, I encountered a strange chattering sound accompanied by a mild vibration from the fork. Some other areas on the pre production RUVs which will be ironed out, says the company, before reaching customers are improvement in plastic quality and a redesigned key fob. The way it sits right now makes it easy to switch off the scooter while riding if you move your right knee to the right.

BGauss RUV 350 Verdict

The RUV is a quirky offering that has some unique strengths due to its form factor. It's spacious and has a plush ride, important qualities in an urban runabout. However, At Rs 1.35 lakh (ex-showroom, Pune), the top-spec RUV 350 Max is a relatively pricey offering. It costs more than both the Ather Rizta Z 2.9 and the TVS iQube 3.4, both of which are excellent products from established companies. Of the three variants, the lowest RUV variantat Rs 1.09 lakh has the strongest appeal.

BGauss doesn't have the same brand recall and those are important factors when pulling the trigger on a new purchase. Moreover, we’d like to see the company address the issues like the weak brakes, mediocre quality levels and glitchy electronics on the pre-production bikes we rode before we can recommend it alongside similarly priced products from established manufacturers.

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