The PluginIndia team got the electric scooter from the EEVE here in Pune for few days. What blew our minds was the incredible performance of the Bosch motor.
The power delivery and torque ensured it was great fun to ride! However the controller needs to be tuned to tone down the sudden jerk when accelerating.
I saw the EeVee 4U (From now on referred to as simply EeVee) first at the Auto Expo in Delhi. The EeVee guys have sales mostly in the eastern part of the country, so you won't see it anywhere else. They had an attractive bike in an attractive looking stall. Ended up chatting with the EeVee team and realised that these guys are serious about the product. With maintenance requirements for EVs being low, you may not be wrong in choosing a vehicle based on just a wavelength match. My friend Vijay Chheda, who was also at the Expo with me, had a wavelength match, so he got the EeVee shipped across to his factory. And that is where I saw it a week ago - standing neglected. Told myself that the least the EeVee 4U needs is a review. Took the foolhardy decision of driving the bike home, a mere 60 km away!
Shirwal Industrial area, where Vijay bhai's factory is located, is in Satara district, on the border with Pune district. The demarcation line between the two districts is the Neera river. (Fresh toddy is sold in Pune roadside shops under the brand name of the same river - Neera.) One interesting thing about topography is that a river marks the elevation minima. Those of you have cycled from the Katraj tunnel to Neera river will end up being amazed at your cycling prowess. The superman feeling is simply because the road slopes gently down for 30 km from the tunnel to the Neera river. I was doing the journey in the reverse direction.
The vehicle has a battery, with about 1.2 kWh juice in it. I guess it could be LFP - as an NMC 1.2 kWh pack would be lighter. There is a provision of putting in another battery alongside, which doubles your range. There was no spare battery available, so my first ride was going to be a range test as well. The battery design is swapping friendly. It weighs 10 kg - which is about the upper limit in swapping. This swapability helps in roadside charging, as you can just take out the battery and plugin at a power plug inside a restaurant. With that reassurance, I started off in the early evening at 1630 hrs. There are 3 power levels in the vehicle. You switch between levels using a push button. I liked this arrangement - it is more intuitive than a toggle switch. What also helps is that the default level is not the Eco mode - but the one between Eco and Power. The SoC indicator is reliable - as it uses cell-phone-like battery bars - and importantly, the bars don't fluctuate when you load the motor.
There were 5 bars when I started at full charge. My first few km were spent playing around with the power modes. My guess is that the power modes don't actually change the power delivery - they just limit the max speeds. For the EeVee, the speeds for the 3 modes are 25, 35 and 45 kmph, as indicated by the vehicle digital speedometer. I realised later on that these speeds are marked up by about 15%. And so was the odometer. Why does a vehicle run longer on the Eco mode, is it just the speed? Most of the energy utilisation in a vehicle is in overcoming inertia - getting the vehicle upto speed. As in the Eco mode you have a low top speed, you spend less energy in acceleration. Also you lose less energy in deceleration. (The EeVee does not have regen.) Another thing that would matter is wind resistance. Being proportional to the square of the velocity - it would be much lesser at lower speeds.
My meditation though was being disturbed by an uncomfortable spine. The EeVee has a high floorboard. This is likely as it is a derivative of a design meant to house underfloor lead acid batteries. Having your knees popping up is not really good for the back - especially so in long drives. Tried pushing myself back on the seat, but that resulted in back curvature moving from concave to convex. The solution emerged at the 25 km mark - when I realised that you can actually drive cross legged - perfect for my yogic meditation. And that is the posture that I adopted for most of the journey home. Reached Katraj tunnel and the battery still was showing 2 bars. There is a nice 10 km downslope from the Katraj tunnel top to Sinhgad road - and I felt brave enough to switch mode to power. It felt great to be riding along at 40 kmph, after all the crawling of the last 2 hours. The downslope ensured that I reached home with one bar still remaining. (It could have been half a bar, but I guess all SoC indicators will end up doing some rounding off.) The EeVee scores full marks on range!
Not only is the EeVee good in the design department, but also good in detailing. The switch quality is above average. There is an interesting USB charging port for your mobile. And the suspension is top notch. One of the quirky things about the vehicle is its side stand. The vehicle leans at almost a 30 degree angle when you park it on the side stand. The advantages - romantic couples will not make use of your parked vehicle to whisper sweet little nothings to each other. Well, if you happen to be that romantic person yourself, use the center stand. The weight is evenly distributed between the front and the back of the stand, and it requires very less effort to put it on the center stand. Getting it off the center stand requires better planning. You cannot just give it a forward jerk while sitting, and assume that you will be off the stand. The vehicle just slides forward. So you have to get down, put one foot in front of the center stand and give it a gentle push. Another feature worth discussing is the brakes. Both wheels have hydraulic disc brakes. Thanks to the hydraulics, the effort is minimal. There seemed to be a tuning problem with the vehicle that I have - as the brakes would lock even when the lever was pressed a few mm. Took some time to adjust to this.
End note. My better half took the EeVee out for an errand. And like in the ‘I hate love stories’ film, she fell out of love with me - deciding that it was time to replace a good for nothing hubby with the EeVee 4U. The secret behind the love affair - she is 5 ft - a goldilocks height for the low seated EeVee.