First Indie is rolling out to pre-order customers
River EV launched its first product, Indie, in early February this year. They were touched by the feedback and love for the product. It was previously promised that River would begin delivering its first production vehicle in August 2023. They kept their promise by making the products available to pre-order customers starting today. And they also expressed their excitement when seeing their products on the road accompanying customers with satisfaction on their faces.
Let’s see more of Bangalore-based electric two-wheeler startup River EV and its first standalone electric motorcycle product, as we have a lot to discuss about them.
It’s important to stand out from the crowd if you want to enter the electric scooter game today and River Indie successfully manages that. This scooter looks like nothing else on our roads, partly thanks to its 14-inch wheels wrapped in chunky 120-section tires. Then there is the unique front fender with the highlight of the large dual LED headlights, making the Indie appear larger than most scooter models today. The large side panels and seats (River says it’s the longest and widest in its class) further accentuate this. The seating position is also spacious enough for tall riders, while the seat height of 770mm is still suitable for shorter riders, despite the rather wide saddle.
There are some unique features such as extendable rider legroom, integrated anti-collision bars on either side of the front apron, and removable saddlebag holders on the side panels. The front and rear lights are quite prominent. The Indie is also equipped with a motorcycle clip-on handlebar. The quality of the device (made by Varroc, as well as the lights) seems to be very good, and the company has kept things simple by using a fractional color LCD instead of a TFT touchscreen. There will be a mobile app that offers Bluetooth-based functionality and the usual telemetry, and the company says it has no plans to launch subscription-based services anytime soon.
The Indie scooters we got to see were pre-production models with most elements like the frame, suspension, brakes, and lights already fully tooled up. Quality and finish levels overall are quite good (although these are not the final production-spec body panels) and small details like the 3D river logos and the bright color schemes make the Indie stand out in a good way. The company says that the final scooter that will go on sale will mostly be the same, but they may move to a slimmer 110-section front tire for better agility and the LCD will have a slightly different layout.
River calls the Indie the ‘SUV of scooters’ and is pitching it as a lifestyle product that also has plenty of utility baked in. For starters, it has the most under-seat storage space by far of any scooter on sale today, with its 43 liters comfortably beating the likes of even the 36-litre Ola S1 boot. The River’s boot is much deeper than the Ola’s, but it’s not flat and slopes down towards the front of the scooter. However, the River also gets a lockable 12-litre front cubby and the company will sell you a unique set of side panniers. River says it has a huge number of accessories planned including mobile phone holders, and various luggage options among other things.
The Indie is based on a tubular steel frame and features 32mm telescopic forks up front as well as twin shock absorbers at the rear. There are disc brakes at both ends and a combined braking system, like all-electric scooters at this price point. River decided to use cast aluminum swingarms to give the scooter a premium look and feel. The company claims the weight will be around 135kg.
Range, Top Speed, and Charging Time
The Indie is equipped with a mid-mounted electric motor that sends power to the rear wheels via belt drive. The engine is rated for a maximum power output of 6.7kW/26Nm and the company claims a top speed of 90km/h as well as a practical range of around 120km in Eco mode, the lowest of the three capacity levels. Eco mode limits the top speed to 55 km/h, while Ride and Rush modes will allow you to reach speeds of 90 km/h, but with different effective accelerations. This scooter seems to promise similar performance to the Ather 450X, but with better range.
There’s a 4 kWh NMC aluminum-cased battery lying on the floor, and the company says its standard charger can charge the battery from 0 to 80% in 5 hours. As of now, there is no mention of fast charging at home, but the company says it will eventually start working on public charging infrastructure. While the vehicle’s chassis, battery, BMS, and control unit are all self-developed, the company derives its engine and engine control unit from Mahle.
|Actual True Range||
|Acceleration (0–40 km/h)||
6.7 KW (9 BHP)
Eco, Ride, and Rush
|Charging Time (0–80%)||
Disc; Combined Braking System
India is priced at Rs 1.25 lakh, excluding the Bengaluru showroom, which includes the Fame 2 allowance and home charger. That’s a very attractive price tag, making it closer to the TVS iQube S and much lower than the Ather 450X or Ola S1 Pro. Furthermore, the company plans to offer a battery warranty of five years/50,000 kilometers. River said it plans to start slowly with three cities by 2023 so it can streamline its sourcing and manufacturing processes while watching the scooters in action on the road. It then plans to expand its business to 50 cities by 2024 through a conventional dealer network.
River EV is another electric two-wheeler start-up from Bengaluru, and you probably haven’t heard of it yet because the company didn’t want to build hype until it believed that the time was right. River was founded by two former Ultraviolet employees in early 2021, and the Indie electric scooter you see here is their first attempt.
Developing a brand-new scooter in less than 24 months is extremely quick, but a lot has changed in the EV space in the last few years. Aravind Mani, co-founder of River, tells us they can still benefit from hindsight as well as today’s more mature talent and supply chain. River currently has about 250 employees in its Bengaluru-based premises, of whom most are in the R&D department. The company has its factory in Hoskote – outside Bengaluru. They have promised to deliver the scooter in August 2023 and it is going to happen.
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