Motoring

Creating a Revolt

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The RV 400 is clearly aimed at the college-going segment of the market

Revolt Intellicorp has become one of the most talked about EV brands in India over the past few months, and that’s without anyone having ridden the bike at all. So far, we know that Revolt is the brainchild of Rahul Sharma, a co-founder of Micromax, and that the RV 400 started life as a Super Soco TC Max — though the restyled bodywork is designed by Revolt. The EV is packed with smart features and Revolt has come out with a game-changing pricing strategy to match. So, let’s see what the first electric motorcycle to go on sale in India is like.

With a name like Revolt, you’d expect that the bike has to stand out, and it does. The headlamp design with its LED DRL is catchy, but the main reason you’ll notice the RV 400 is because it’s a compact machine. Despite its tiny dimensions, I find the seating position accommodating and comfortable. Strangely, despite the small size, the seat height is quite tall at 814mm. The RV 400 is clearly aimed at the college-going segment of the market.

Creating a Revolt

If you go solely by what’s on the bike, there are three riding modes, which can be selected by a slider button on the right. One nice feature is the keyless-start function, where you can simply hit the power button behind the handlebar with the key in your pocket. The instrument display is a rather simple black-and-white unit without any touch functionality. Then, of course, there’s the artificial exhaust note, which can be activated by a button on the right switchgear. This works via a speaker hidden within the bodywork — it just doesn’t feel very natural on the move.

There’s much more to exploit via the app Revolt has devised to work with this machine. You can literally start the RV 400 from the app or via Google Assistant using voice commands, if the in-built SIM is connected to the internet. The app also offers the ability to set-up a Geo-fencing barrier, select from four ‘exhaust sounds’, and monitor the battery status as well as vehicle statistics in real time.

Creating a Revolt

Revolt plans to offer the most comprehensive set of battery-charging solutions seen from a manufacturer to date. You can use a standard wall charger, which plugs into the right side of the bike, or you can remove the battery altogether (emerges from the top of the ‘fuel tank’) and take it home to charge — this is something you won’t want to do as the battery weighs a considerable 19kgs. But the removable battery allows Revolt to offer never-seen-before home-delivery of fully-charged batteries, or you can head to set battery-swapping stations across the city, which can be located via the app.

So how far will a 3.24kW lithium-ion battery take you? Revolt claims about 156km in Mode 1 (40kph top speed), 110km in Mode 2 (60kph top speed) and 80km in Mode 3 (85kph top speed). Charge time from empty will take a claimed 4.5hr, while 3hr will get the battery to 75%. We only got to ride the e-bike on a go-kart track, and still need to put these numbers to test on public roads.

Creating a Revolt

Riding at a go-kart track isn’t what most customers will end up doing, but it has given us a fair idea of what to expect on the street. The RV 400 is sufficiently quick and its riding modes increase performance and response as you move from Mode 1 upwards. In Mode 3, it feels about as quick as an Ather 450, and hitting the top speed of 85kph should happen quite easily on the street.

Refinement levels are decent, but one area that definitely needs improvement is the response to accelerator inputs. Power comes in abruptly, no matter the riding mode, and while this was an issue when trying to be smooth through the corners, I imagine it will also be irritating when moving in heavy traffic. I also don’t like the fact that even lightly applying the brakes deactivates the accelerator.

The chassis works well and Revolt has tuned the 37mm USD fork and monoshock to offer a good balance between sportiness and comfort. With its 17-inch wheels, the bike felt confident on the track, and a big factor in what makes this a cheerful thing to ride is that it weighs just 108kg.

The MRF Nylogrips also play a role in making sure the Revolt is fun to ride, and just like we’ve seen on bigger bikes, they prove to be impressively grippy. Revolt uses 240mm disc brakes at each end, and safety is provided by CBS, not ABS. Braking is adequately strong, and while ABS would have certainly been nice, this set-up works well enough.

Quality levels on the RV 400 seem acceptable and all critical electrical components are IP67 water resistance-rated. Revolt has achieved 70% localisation to keep the cost low, but that’s just the start of things, because the company is taking a disruptive approach to the pricing strategy.

Essentially, you can’t buy the bike outright. Instead, you have to pay a sum of ₹3,999 per month for a period of three years. There is no down payment, and this is not a lease or rental system either. The ownership of the vehicle will be yours, but instead of one big payment, you pay small amounts as you go along. For ₹3,499 a month, you can get the lower RV 400 variant that we’re told misses out on the fake exhaust sound and the app-enabled remote-start features, which aren’t things we’d miss.

As part of an introductory offer, Revolt says it will cover the maintenance costs as well as consumables like tyres and brake pads for three years or 30,000km.

Revolt seems to be offering a novel and very accessible approach to owning one of its vehicles. While that is nothing short of disruptive, there’s no escaping the fact that the bigger challenge this brand new company faces is to establish a reputation for reliability, quality and to set up a genuinely dependable battery swap ecosystem in every city it is present in. That’s something time will reveal.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 2:03:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/motoring/creating-a-revolt/article29509173.ece

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