BGauss B8 : A Missed Opportunity?

Disclaimer:

  • This is based on REAL thought process of a common Indian buyer and EV enthusiast
  • This is based ONLY on the initial impressions from the website, details shared by the company, the ‘way’ (transparency and willingness) in which details are shared, features, test ride and pricing

Summary of BGauss B8 Review

Pros of BGauss B8 Electric Scooters

  • Perfectly and cleverly priced – on par with ICE scooters
  • Decent and good design – no over-the-top weird designs or blatantly Chinese mass-imported design
  • No unwanted or extravagant features (like Ather) that inflate the price
  • Has all the important features that a normal 2-wheeler must have
  • Approach and the seriousness shown by the company so far

Some cons of BGauss B8

  • Motor power (continuous) seems pretty low at 800W. I feel it should have been 1000-1200W. Even the low quality Hero Electric Photon has 1000 W
  • Switches are weirdly placed; although we might get used to them over time
  • For some people, the top speed at 50 kmph might not be enough; but again, in reality, for use in congested cities, it’s more than enough.
  • Gradient could have been higher; its 11 degrees now

Detailed Review of BGauss B8 – Initial Impressions

So as mentioned above, this review is from the point of view of an average Indian buyer who is also an EV enthusiast. I have been wanting to buy an EV for many years now, but couldn’t find good products at reasonable price, and those that evoked a sense of assurance and confidence. When Eko Cosmic scooters came, I was just a secondary school student, when Reva came, I was still studying. Then came e2o which was a disaster. Just when I started losing interest, Tesla started creating waves. And some Indian companies that evoked interest, like Ather, failed to attract buyers like me because of their extra focus on unwanted features and non-affordable pricing (plus the subscription charges to make it worse). And I have very less hopes on Strom-R3 as well.

Other so-called “pioneers” like Hero Electric who sell imported Chinese stuff blocked me on social media for asking even basic questions! So there was no question of buying their products even if they sold it cheaply.

I didn’t like Bajaj’s customer support, so chose not to buy. I quite liked TVS iQube, but again the pricing and limited dealership and service centres was a problem.

Then, all of a sudden, BGauss announced that they would be launching electric scooters at affordable prices. Since then I have been logging in to BGauss website almost daily.

So now let me share some of the pros and cons in detail.

BGauss Scooter Pricing

Whether you want to like it or not, as a vehicle manufacturer, you MUST realise that pricing matters, at least in India. We don’t have free money to throw around for your “premium” products (in YOUR view). While some want to push their philosophy of “good products warrant high price” by squeezing in unnecessary features as if it’s a mobile phone or laptop! I think in the near future the “premium” manufacturer will come up with selfie sticks, gaming console, fridge, washing machine, etc, on their scooter and price it 10-20 lakhs!

Between the ultra-high priced product, arrogant old players, and cheap fully imported and rebadged products, BGauss is a refreshing entry. They seem to have seriously studied the market, the gaps, customer aspirations, etc, and have priced their products perfectly.

Model
Price

High Speed: B8 Lithion Ion – Technology

(with internet connectivity features)

88,999

High Speed: B8 Lithion Ion

82,999

Hight Speed: B8 Lead Acid

62,999

Low Speed: A2 Lead Acid

52,4999

Low Speed: A2 Lithium Ion

67,999

While the low speed models are good for limited, short distance use, high speed models are good for a better riding experience and regular, long distance use.

Difference Between Lead Acid and Lithium Ion Models of BGauss

Lead Acid  Models
Lithium Ion Models

NON-REMOVABLE lead acid battery

REMOVABLE lithium ion battery

1 year warranty for battery

3 years warranty for battery

Low speed – max 25km/hr

High speed – max 50km/hr

Battery life is 2-3 years

Battery life is 4-5 years

Charging time is 7-8 hours

Charging time is 3 hours

No registration or license required

License and registration required

Cheaper purchase price

Higher purchase price

Higher claimed range – 78km/charge

Lower claimed range – 70km/charge

Practical, Useful Features

  1. USB charging port for mobile
  2. LED light for under-the-seat storage area
  3. Enough room to keep a full face helmet under the seat (medium size fits easily, large size is a bit difficult but possible)
  4. An actual ‘start’ button unlike some cheap models where the vehicle gets started as soon as you turn on the key, which can be dangerous
  5. Materials used and paint seem to be of good quality
  6. Reverse option
  7. Anti-theft feature
  8. Geo-fencing, ride stats and other features (only in LI-Technology model)

Possible Issues

From the initial impressions, the cons seem to be very few. So here are the few things I think could be the issues with this offering.

Weirdly Placed Switches

The switches could have been placed in more convenient positions.

Photo from Bgauss website

  • The turn indicator switches could have been closer to thumb rather than facing upwards.
  • The ‘reverse’ switch is right beside the horn switch. I am sure the reverse switch can’t be used when the vehicle is in motion, but still I don’t think that’s a good place for it be in!
  • Operating the turn indicators is quite a hassle. There are 2 buttons - one each both sides, placed side by side. So it's difficult to use the right indicator. And to stop the indicator, you need to keep the button pressed for a couple of seconds!

These aren’t big issues and maybe these seem weird just because I am used to the common placement of these switches in other vehicles. We can definitely get used to it over time.

After-Sales Service

BGauss is following the traditional dealership model for after-sales service. Well, it’s a lot better approach than some “premium” companies that announce that they will directly do sales and service to help customers get rid of the unpleasant experience with dealerships, and then chicken out within 2 years. You know whom I am talking about! The silver lining here is that BGauss claims to have a customer care number and we can place service request with them directly which they will route to the service centres. This way, I guess there will at least be some shared accountability and service centres *might* do a better job. Well, only real experiences will tell this in future. Even big brands like Bajaj, Hero, TVS, etc, are pathetic in after-sales service and we are all left at the mercy of service centres and dealers. And the arrogant big companies don’t care, let alone taking responsibility.

If BGauss team is reading this, I request them to keep a strong hold on dealers and service centres, and share some accountability and responsibility being a company. Giving honest and good after-sales service goes a long way in building brand loyalty, thereby increasing sales. You might very well hide behind dealers but that will hurt you in the long-term.

Additional Concerns

The contradictory and inconsistent information shared on their website is a matter of concern. May it be the top speeds on each mode, the range, the pick up and drop service, the details mentioned vary across their website and blog posts. This raises questions like whether they really know about the product fully (is it blindly imported?) or not really serious about giving out proper information. And how will these information inconsistencies play out when it comes to warranty, dealing with dealers, service centres, etc.

Will they honour the warranty commitments?

Have they tested the products enough?

Can their range estimations, top-speed claim, etc, be relied on?

These are the questions that we need to keep in mind while deciding to buy these scooters.

For instance, their very first press release on June 12, 2020 clearly stated that the assembly of these scooters had 'already begun': Refer this news item on Financial Express . Below is the screenshot of that section from the news.

Now, have a look at this post by the Executive Director, clearly mentioning that the plant was inaugurated on July 29, 2020. Then how did the manufacturing / assembly start in June?!!!

Will You Buy BGauss Electric Scooters?

I had booked one enthusiastically thinking that I had finally found the right electric scooter for my needs. However, the above contradictions, along with many more, which included weird behaviour of dealer, prompted me to cancel it at the last moment. Professionalism was lacking throughout, which didn't give me confidence about the after-sales service. However, what do you think about this scooter, keeping aside the apprehensions? Is it at a good price point with just the right features for Indian buyers?