Indian motorcycle manufacturer TVS has debuted a gas/electric hybrid at New Delhi’s Auto Expo.
India’s motorcycle manufacturing sector is known for quantity, not quality. The country cranks out millions of bikes every year, but almost all of them are small-capacity commuter specials, with little in the way of cutting edge technology. But if this new concept bike makes it to production, that might change.
The concept, called the Zeppelin, doesn’t feature any revolutionary technology, just a single-cylinder 220 cc gasoline engine and a 1200-watt electric motor running off a 48V li-ion battery (recharged through regenerative braking). But that combination – a hybrid gas/electric powertrain – is something we haven’t really seen yet, even from the biggest manufacturers (the Honda PCX Hybrid is the only production-ready one we’ve seen—the Furion is not in production, as far as we know).
In its current form, the TVS Zeppelin would still have very modest power output (although that electric engine could provide an interesting boost effect on acceleration). However, should this bike make it to production, we’d expect a more powerful electric motor would replace the wimpy one that’s featuring in the current concept bike.
Still, for a bike to have two proper powerplants with enough muscle to carry it at speed, it’s likely that weight will increase beyond what most riders would consider an acceptable level. It’s worth noting that we haven’t seen a weight spec for this motorcycle anywhere.
Styling-wise, the Zeppelin fits into the mold of the modern cruiser. Except for its ergonomics, it owes very little to Harley-Davidson and other progenitors of the breed, sticking instead to more up-to-date power cruiser lines. It looks more like a foot-forward machine from Europe or Japan than the US.
Will this bike actually make it to showrooms? Maybe? Will it make it to North America? Not likely, at least not soon, although TVS-manufactured motorcycles will soon be very common here, thanks to the Indian manufacturer’s deal to produce the G310 series for BMW. Can we expect some sort of hybrid to follow those machines to our shores? Stay tuned!