Kochi Ride Diaries
We began our time in beautiful Kochi with a mega delivery event where we spent time with almost a hundred happy customers, as they collected keys to their brand new TVS iQube Electric Scooters. The atmosphere was one of celebration as customers spent the afternoon getting a taste of the electric journey, they had chosen to become a part of. With some local drummers infusing energy into the gathering, a short ride around the city was flagged off. Once back from the ride, it was wonderful to listen to the experiences that customers had and their description of riding out on an electric scooter. While we interacted with them and learned a little more about all the things that makes Kochi unique, we struck a plan to borrow a pair of iQubes from our dealers, Cochin TVS and head out to check out these places for ourselves.
The list was long, but we only had a couple of days in hand.
A quick session with navigation apps on our phones, and we traced a circuit in and around Kochi. This was followed up with a quick download of the TVS iQube app and a few simple steps to pair with our respective scooters. Not only did we have our routes charted out, but we could use the turn-by-turn navigation built into the scooter to find our way around this unfamiliar city. A little bit of everything we had been told about. With 100 kilometres of range on offer, from a fully charged TVS iQube now, we decided to push our stops as far as we could. Not only would this give us a glimpse of this iconic city, but also the beautiful countryside around Kochi. And what’s more, we could put our brand new TVS iQube S through a real-world test.
We began our exploration with a ride to the historic lanes of Fort Kochi, obviously. Although there was a bit of congestion to get out of the city, we could hardly complain. The silent scooters with no heat coming off made the ride very comfortable. No worries about waiting at a stop light with an idle motor burning fuel either. Soon we were crossing bridges to island hop towards Fort Kochi. The historic lanes were everything we could’ve hoped for. Historic buildings with all their fine trimmings, dressed in bright colours meant we made several unplanned stops to get photographs. Thankfully, the quaint cafes tucked away in those lanes ensured we were never far from a cup of coffee. It was quite an experience to ride through these tiny lanes with people’s front yards spilling onto the road and be able to be a part of their lives without causing any disturbances whatsoever thanks to electric propulsion of the TVS iQube.
While sipping on yet another cup of coffee, the good folks at the café allowed us to plug in the simple three-pin portable charger to a socket close to the entrance. This allowed us to top up on some charge to extend our 100 kilometre range even further. Encouraged by the extended range, we decided to explore some off-beat routes through the network of islands scattered across the backwaters adjoining Kochi.
While we took the broad, perfectly paved ‘Container Terminal Road’ to get out of the confines of the city, we soon turned off to discover a network of islands with streets barely wide enough to allow the two scooters to ride alongside each other. It was turning back the hands of time several years. The simplicity was heart-warming. And when we got to the rickety ferry to cross a canal, the simplicity made us sceptical, especially since we were the only ones waiting. Encouraged by the queue of motorists forming behind us, we pointed our iQubes toward the little narrow ramp and hopped aboard. In case you were wondering, yes, the TVS iQube electric scooter can do that too, in pouring rain.
With nearly 100 kilometres clocked on the TVS iQube S, we ticked it off a good day as we watched the sunset over another stretch of the backwaters. The ride back to the city as darkness fell was an anxious one though. The broad ‘Container Terminal Road’ was unlit, but we managed alright with the LED headlamp as the rain came down. Once inside city limits, the street lights came on and eased final bit of our ride.
With our TVS iQube scooters drained after a full day of motoring around Kochi, it was time to pull out the portable charger. The socket on the scooter has a reassuring click as it locks into place and the three-pin plug fits into any regular household wall socket. Flick the switch on and the instrument cluster confirms as charging begins.
It was another overcast morning that greeted us, but then again, we weren’t expecting anything else in the middle of a monsoon onslaught. A trip to the scooters confirmed that they had been charged fully and had the full 100 kilometre range available. The fact that the smart charger cuts off power as soon as the battery reaches full capacity, meant we did not need to keep visiting the scooters in the middle of the night. With an elaborate list of dosas to choose from and some piping hot filter coffee for company, we made the most of the overcast morning.
After a fair introduction to Kochi city, it was time to point our electric scooters towards one of the famous toddy shops along the backwaters of Kumarakom. The 75 kilometre ride to get to the said eatery overlooking the backwaters would’ve left us fretting earlier. But, with the larger battery pack on the TVS iQube S, it was far less of a worry. In fact, punctures and blinding rain were on our list of things to worry about.
Nevertheless, having experienced what a bone soaking feels like the previous day, we used the underseat storage of our scooters to pack away some rain gear. Unlike the IP67 rated battery pack which doesn’t get hassled by rain, we would need extra layers of waterproof gear to at least attempt remaining dry.
With all the essentials ticked off, we set off in search for this idyllic ‘toddy shop’ overlooking the backwaters. We made it onto NH 66 and headed south, towards Alleppey. Smooth flowing road and the sturdy scooters never felt out of place, keeping up with traffic without any problems. Once we turned off the highway, we soon found ourselves skirting Vembanad Lake. It is the longest lake in the country and apart from its serene shores, it’s also where you find hosts of house boats plying the waters.
Of course, at some point we managed to take a wrong turn and landed up taking a longer route, which took us to the other bank of the lake. What should’ve been a comfortable 78km ride turned into a 98km ride. Thankfully the 100 kilometre range and efficient re-generative brakes meant we arrived at our destination with charge to spare.
Out came the portable chargers and straight into a wall-socket to charge up for the return leg.
Fortunately, the many delicacies that were brought out, course after course, meant we were in no hurry to be anywhere else. We had an unhindered view of the lake for miles and could see clouds drifting across the length of the lake. Every now and then a downpour would blur out the scenery, but each time it cleared up the waters returned to its calm self. Note to readers, in case you are a vegetarian, you may find the menu lacking in options, but the views will remain as enchanting.
Time passed quickly as we alternated between many helpings of delicious food, a stroll around the lake to let it settle down and watching storms pass us. by. The relaxed afternoon ambled past and we’d landed up spending close to three hours at the eatery. By the time we paid our dues the electric scooters had charged enough to make the trip back to Kochi city, provided we did not make any mistakes in navigation. We took a few more minutes to set up turn-by-turn navigation through the TVS iQube app, and we were on our way.
With our short trip nearing its end, the pair of TVS iQubes and the lovely people of Kochi had shown us around this fantastic city. We couldn’t have thought of a better spot to begin this journey with our electric scooters than Kochi. Several initiatives make Kochi a torchbearer in this road to sustainability. The city generates electricity through renewable sources, and the airport functions purely off solar power. They have installed a mega tank to harvest rain water apart from the mandatory requirements for new constructions to do the same. They go a step further and encourage roof top gardens while laying a complete ban on single-use plastic. Our first chapter comes to a close, but there’s more to follow.
Keep an eye out on our social channels and follow @tvsiqube to stay updated to find out where we head next.