BGauss RUV350: First Ride Review

Benjamin Gracias
An electric take on the step-through scooter, does the formula work?

While step-through scooters have been flourishing throughout South East Asia, the format did not take off in India despite some major bikemakers launching them here. You could blame it on the blurred lines the Step-through scooter treads, between the scooter and the motorcycle. But Indian EV startup BGauss believes the market is right for one, people are willing to experiment. Well, they are getting out of their comfort zone and opting for electric over ICE scooters, why not Step-through scooters? Does the BGauss RUV350 have what it takes to get the customer to jump the fence?

In terms of design, the RUV350 certainly makes an impression. One of the reasons for the step-through scooter’s popularity has been its motorcycle-inspired styling and in that regard, the RUV350 has won half the battle. The design is a retro take on Step-throughs with the square LED headlamp and the organically shaped body panels. BGauss has done a good job with the vibrant colour options. Our test scooter wore a silver paintjob with bright orange wheels that offered a youthful vibe. While the 16-inch wheels stick to the step-through norm, the flat floorboard is a departure from the step-through template. It offers more practicality too, in the form of a hidden and lockable 4.5-litre storage bin in the floorboard that’s large enough to accommodate the charging cable. This besides the lockable 2.2-litre glove box in the front apron and the 15-litre underseat storage bin. Enhancing practicality further are the metal body panels that are more resistant to dings and dents. Despite the heavier metal bodywork, the 122kg kerb weight (for the top-spec model) is lower than some plastic-bodied electric scooters.

The scooter has a 5-inch colour TFT instrument console that can be accessed through dedicated switchgear. It gets two interfaces but the screen resolution could be more premium while menu navigation could be more straightforward. It also gets Bluetooth connectivity for call and SMS alerts besides turn-by-turn navigation. Other features include cruise control, reverse mode and hill-hold assist.

While the paint finish levels are good, there is room for improvement in terms of fit and finish levels, especially the switchgear quality that feels built to a cost.

Power comes from a unique in-wheel Hyperdrive motor that has the electric motor and sealed gearset mounted close to the rear wheel. BGauss says it is more efficient and reliable than the conventional belt drive system and allows for significantly larger service intervals. The 3.5KW motor allows for a claimed 0-40kmph acceleration time of 5.8 seconds and a 75kmph top speed. It is fairly quick upto 50kmph which is good enough for your typical city rides. Throttle response is different in the three ride modes – Eco, Ride and Sport but you’d prefer to stick in Sport most of the time given the comparatively lively performance on offer and the fact that top speed is capped at 45kmph in Eco and 60kmph in Ride mode. In terms of performance, the RUV350 does not break any records but it’s no slouch either.

The RUV350 is available in three variants with the bottom two featuring a 2.3kWh LPF battery pack and the top-spec RUV350 Max variant we are riding getting a 3kWh battery pack. With the larger battery pack offering a claimed IDC range of 145km, BGauss claims a true range of around 120km. A full charge takes six and a half hours while the 1.35kW charger drops charging time to two hours and 35 minutes.

The large wheels and conventional front fork and rear shock absorber setup endow the RUV350 with good ride and handling characteristics. The 16-inch wheels go over speedbreakers well and despite the ride quality being on the firmer side, the ride feels supple most of the time. Given the motorcycle-like riding position and the wide and accessible seat, the RUV350 is as comfortable to ride as a 125cc motorcycle. While I personally would have preferred a wider set of tyres, the TVS Eurogrip tyres offer ample grip for everyday riding. The scooter itself impressed with its flickability and lightweight demeanour. It’s quite fun to ride as far as step-throughs go.

Prices for the BGauss RUV350 start at Rs 1.10 lakh going upto 1.35 lakh (prices ex-showroom) for the top-spec variant. The prices are on the steeper side and comparable to scooters that offer better quality, practicality, performance and features. While the BGauss RUV does set itself apart from the competition, the price premium does hold it back from fulfilling its potential as a fun and practical EV workhorse.

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