13th July 2024

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In June 2022, simply earlier than the second spherical of Colombia’s nationwide elections, former President Ivan Duque introduced that the de-facto subsidy for gasoline* can be regularly dropped. The choice, fortunately, was accepted by the brand new administration of President Gustavo Petro, and the price of gasoline began to extend month-to-month. The method will proceed till parity is reached with worldwide oil costs. As soon as it was clear that the choice was remaining, I informed my companion it was time for us to purchase an electrical motorbike. To be clear, we didn’t have a gasoline-powered motorbike (or any form of car for that matter), however I feared that rising gasoline costs would push e-bike costs up.

This wasn’t our first rodeo concerning e-powered two-wheelers. Again when she owned an ICE automotive, we had bought a lead-acid powered 800W e-moped ($500 price) to maneuver round in rush hour or when there have been transit restrictions. However when she offered the automotive, it grew to become clear the moped was not highly effective sufficient nor dependable sufficient as a major car, so we offered it and began interested by a bigger, extra succesful e-motorcycle … till the federal government’s announcement made us soar the gun.

The selection? A two-year-old, 5000-km Tremendous Soco TC-1900.

(And, in case you want to know, an electrical automotive was not even thought of due to their excessive price and the hellish site visitors in Bogota).

Tremendous Soco TC-1900: The Fundamentals

In case you haven’t heard about it, the Tremendous Soco model is owned by Australia’s Vmoto e-motorcycle firm. The 83-kg TC-1900 is a retro-style e-bike (or e-moped, in accordance with Colombia’s authorities laws) that features:

  • A detachable 1.8-kWh lithium-ion Panasonic battery that gives 40 to 80 km of vary (and a slot for a second one, ought to the proprietor want for it).
  • A 1.9-kW in-wheel motor, peaking at 2.7 kW, able to reaching some 80 km/h (50 mph) with one passenger.
  • An analog speedometer and digital display screen.

And … that’s just about it. However for $6,000,000 COP ($1,200 on the change charge again then), I discover it unreasonable to ask for extra. The bike is completely price its price, after which a bit extra.

<img decoding="async" data-attachment-id="306354" data-permalink="https://cleantechnica.com/2023/09/17/life-in-a-super-soco-review-of-the-tc-1900-plus-the-future-of-the-brand/image-6-7/" data-orig-file="https://cleantechnica.com/information/2023/09/image-6.png" data-orig-size="542,573" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit score":"","digicam":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="picture (6)" data-image-description data-image-caption="


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Driving Expertise

The TC-1900 has three driving choices creatively referred to as Mode 1, 2, and three. They mainly restrict energy and velocity to 50, 65, and 80 km/h respectively. The longer vary, the decrease the ability. A fast estimate might be 80 km for Mode 1, 60 km for Mode 2, and 40 km for Mode 3. A quirk about this car is that energy will begin diminishing when you get to 70% cost or so: one can really feel within the acceleration and the highest velocity whether or not the battery is almost full or not.

As all EVs, this one has on the spot acceleration, to the purpose the place one should be cautious if carrying a passenger: if that’s the case, it’s advisable to start out in Mode 1. Small and lightweight, the TC-1900 is right for Bogota’s site visitors situations, making it straightforward and sensible to maneuver round within the heavy jams that abound all around the metropolis. The seat is comfy, however clearly designed for an city setting, not for lengthy(ish) journeys.

Its 1.9-kW motor is greater than highly effective sufficient for steep inclinations, even with two passengers, and the bike doesn’t stall when it wants to start out on a hill. Nevertheless, it’s price mentioning that the car’s carrying capability is just 150 kg, so you might not have the ability to carry two passengers (Colombians, fortunately, are often on the smaller facet).

On the Battery

One of many major causes individuals reject e-bikes right here in Colombia has to do with the period of the batteries. And although it’s the identical outdated argument used in opposition to electrical automobiles, this time, they do have some extent.

I — supposedly — know the right way to take care of batteries, and even then, I had three lead-acid batteries in a row fail me in my earlier e-moped (all, fortunately, underneath guarantee). Apparently, there was a brief circuit that broken them. Lithium-ion batteries are presupposed to be sturdier, however most e-bikes lack any type of thermal administration system — don’t take heed to the producer’s suggestions (I’ve seen native manuals recommending 100% costs as repeatedly as potential and full discharges earlier than charging). Additionally, the minuscule batteries are unlikely to have that a lot of a buffer.

In consequence, one has really no thought how lengthy a battery will final.

Our TC-1900 was registered in January 2021, so we’re approaching Three years (and 7000 km) of use. We haven’t seen any significant degradation, however then once more, it’s exhausting to measure it whenever you hardly ever make common journeys at fixed speeds. My expectation is for the battery to final not less than 5 years, and ideally 8, however we’ll have to attend and see.

The excellent news is: battery costs are falling rather more quickly than we anticipated. Again when this e-bike arrived in Colombia, in 2018 or so, a battery substitute was anticipated to price $4,500,000 COP ($1,150), or half the worth of the bike. In 2022, I checked once more and it was already at $3,000,000 COP ($765). Again in March, after we final did upkeep, it was already at $2,500,000 COP ($636). And final week, I referred to as and had it quoted at $1,800,000 COP ($464), that means a 60% value lower over 5 years. At this value, we’ve already determined to buy our second battery, in order that our city e-bike turns into a suburban e-bike able to making quick journeys to the encompassing cities.

I do know a few of you most likely want to know the price of charging the battery, however that has confirmed exhausting to calculate, as we don’t know charging effectivity. Regardless, our month-to-month invoice hasn’t noticeably elevated with use, so we calculate some $6 a month, at most.

Points with the TC-1900

No car is ideal, and low-cost automobiles like this one often have some quirks. Nevertheless, I solely actually have three complaints about my TC-1900:

  1. First, the shortage of an anti-lock braking system (ABS) makes this car extra harmful than it must be.
  2. Second, the again of the TC-1900 isn’t sturdy sufficient so as to add a small trunk or high field. Something one desires to hold, one should tackle their very own again.
  3. And third … the parking button. It’s been reported by Tremendous Soco house owners all world wide that the parking button begins failing sooner or later, activating parking mode at random occasions and thus dropping all energy to the accelerator. Once we bought the bike, this was a minor nuisance that was solved honking, however over the months, it grew to become an increasing number of problematic, leaving us stranded in the course of the street for as much as Three minutes. We ended up altering all the half throughout the yearly upkeep, at a price of some $30, and now, six months later, it’s as soon as once more often beginning to fail. We could find yourself having to disconnect the button completely from the circuit.

Vmoto’s Mistake & the Way forward for Tremendous Soco

The Tremendous Soco TC-1900 is an effective wanting, reasonably priced, and dependable e-bike that may give its gasoline counterparts a run for his or her cash.

It additionally appears it is going to be phased out quickly.

Vmoto ceased manufacturing on the reasonably priced TS-1200 and it appears will pull the plug on the TC-1900, as an alternative changing the mannequin with the attractive, bigger, and extra highly effective TS Road Hunter and TC Wanderer. Nevertheless, in doing so, it destroyed the area of interest the place it had succeeded (not less than within the Colombian market): reasonably priced but placing and properly designed electrical bikes.

The TS Road Hunter almost triples the price of the outdated TS-1200, and the TC Wanderer almost doubles that of the TC-1900. At $16,000,000 COP ($4,000), they now not compete with reasonably priced 125cc and 150cc city gasoline bikes, as an alternative going head-on in opposition to rather more highly effective and higher designed 200cc to 350cc bikes, in addition to extra succesful Chinese language sport e-bikes.

This can be a struggle they’re certain to lose.

Tremendous Soco’s TS and TC lineup went from promoting a pair hundred items a yr in 2021 to solely 40 items thus far in 2023… however 35 of them are the remaining TC-1900, so the true gross sales quantity is just 5! For now, they continue to be as a viable model due to their scooters, a lineup which remains to be reasonably priced(ish).

The TC-1900 has disappeared from each the Colombian webpage and Vmoto’s official web site, so it might not be offered for for much longer. As soon as that occurs, we might even see a 95% or so market share discount for Vmoto on this phase.

<img decoding="async" loading="lazy" data-attachment-id="306353" data-permalink="https://cleantechnica.com/2023/09/17/life-in-a-super-soco-review-of-the-tc-1900-plus-the-future-of-the-brand/image-2-24/" data-orig-file="https://cleantechnica.com/information/2023/09/image-2.png" data-orig-size="391,489" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit score":"","digicam":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="picture (2)" data-image-description data-image-caption="


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Appears had been one of many major causes we selected the TC-1900, and it’s a disgrace this gained’t be an possibility for these selecting an e-bike sooner or later. Should you ask me, changing the TS-1200 and the TC-1900 for costlier alternate options is unnecessary in growing markets, and can damage Vmoto’s gross sales numbers for the foreseeable future until they improve energy and vary and make their bikes appropriate with Kind 2 quick charging (in order that they will really compete in opposition to these 200cc to 350cc gasoline bikes).

Regardless, we’re pleased to have bought one whereas they existed, and we really feel the TC-1900 has clearly supplied fairly the worth for its low price, after which some extra. E-bikes are an actual different for individuals who both don’t need or can’t afford an electrical automotive however nonetheless want to take part on the transition to cleaner, greener transportation. Oh, and costs for this mannequin have certainly climbed up (20% or so for the used ones), however now I don’t know if it’s as a result of gasoline costs are up or as a result of the mannequin has been discontinued and persons are scrambling to purchase no matter’s left available on the market (or a little bit of each).

I want to learn your feedback on my evaluation of Vmoto’s determination. Am I being too harsh? Or is that this, the truth is, the top for the model in most growing markets (not less than on this phase)? May this be offset by higher gross sales in additional developed international locations?

*It wasn’t initially a subsidy. For over a decade, larger oil costs would trigger a revaluation of the Colombian Peso (COP), and decrease oil costs would devalue it. On this context, gasoline costs principally remained fixed, and the Stabilization Fund was meant to stop fast value drops and/or hikes. However the direct relationship between oil and the COP began to erode again in 2016 and fully disconnected after the pandemic, when large oil value will increase paired with vital COP devaluation. Below this state of affairs, the fund discovered itself having a billion-plus deficit that needed to be lined by the federal government, changing into a de-facto subsidy that needed to be dismounted.

Photographs courtesy of Tremendous Soco.


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