India's TVS Motor Company isn't a well known brand internationally, but it should certainly be considered a heavyweight. Put it this way: Suzuki sold 1.367 million bikes in 2017, while TVS knocks off over three million annually, including the BMW G310R, for which BMW chose TVS as its first outsourced manufacturing partner. So it's no backyard operation that has come up with the TVS Zeppelin, a hybrid concept cruiser revealed at Auto Expo 2018 in New Delhi.
The Zeppelin concept uses a small, 220cc single cylinder engine with a belt drive to the back wheel. Poking that along is a 1,200-watt (1.6 hp) "regenerative assist motor" running on a 48-volt lithium-ion battery. Given that your vacuum cleaner probably consumes more power, don't go expecting overly impressive total power figures if they're ever released. But the instant torque of an electric motor can do good things to bolster an anaemic low-end from a gasoline engine that needs to get spinning to do its best work.
And while the Zeppelin concept's single-cylinder enginie looks like a very simple air-cooled unit, there's a set of what appear to be empty radiator shrouds on there, suggesting that a production variant with a bigger, water-cooled motor isn't beyond the realm of future commercial possibility.
In styling terms, it looks a lot like a Honda CB400 that's been raked out and given a cooler headlight, which is to say it's not a bad looking bike at all. And there's a bit of gadgetry there to keep you amused, with an in-built action camera/dashcam near the headlight and a "bio key" for the ignition.
Technically, this isn't the first hybrid motorcycle we've covered. Honda had a PCX Hybrid scooter out late last year, and a French group is trying to build a 180-horsepower hybrid rotary super-naked called the Furion. But this Zeppelin is a nice-looking number, and with mirrors, indicators, mudguards and license plate holders already on board, there's every chance it could hit the production line in the not-too-distant future.
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