In the highly competitive automotive space, even concepts are no longer safe from being copied
Not every Chinese company does it, but there are quite a few examples of rip-offs originating in the country. In the past, there have been almost exact lookalikes of popular products from brands such as Rolls-Royce, Range Rover, Porsche, Jeep, Mercedes, and Tesla. Popular two wheelers including Royal Enfield Himalayan have also been copied by Chinese manufacturers.
Most recent example is Xianglong JSX500i, which appears to be inspired by TVS Zeppelin concept. Zeppelin was showcased at 2018 Auto Expo. The quantum of ‘inspiration’ is so high that it looks more like a clone.
Zeppelin concept has a drool worthy design and it packs in a range of hi-tech features. The Chinese manufacturer seems to have worked faster than TVS in bringing the concept to life. Whether or not concepts are covered under design copyright violations, especially in China, is tough to answer.
Xianglong JSX500i – key similarities
The overall silhouette of Xianglong JSX500i is quite the same as TVS Zeppelin concept. Features that look closely similar include the hexagonal headlamp, sculpted fuel tank design, stepped seat, radiator grille, side panels, engine cowl, and stubby tail section.
Talking about features that make Xianglong JSX500i slightly different include taller handlebars, alloy wheels instead of spoke wheels, and upswept metallic exhaust. The bike has USD forks at front, but it does not get the golden finish as was seen with Zeppelin concept.
Other key features of Xianglong JSX500i include all-LED setup, monoshock rear suspension with preload adjustability, and disc brakes at both ends. The bike measures 2,150mm in length, 890mm in width, and 1,180mm in height. Wheelbase is 1,460mm whereas ground clearance is 140mm. The bike rides on 17-inch front and rear wheels, shod with 120/70 front and 150/70 rear tyres, respectively.
Xianglong JSX500i powertrain
The bike is equipped with a 471cc, twin cylinder, water cooled engine that is capable of generating 44.87 ps of max power and 41 Nm of max torque. It is mated to a 6-speed transmission. According to the manufacturer, Xianglong JSX500i has a top speed of 150 kmph.
In comparison, TVS Zeppelin concept features an advanced hybrid powertrain. It comprises a 220cc petrol motor and a 1200 watt regenerative electric motor. The electric unit gets its power from a 48v lithium-ion battery. Zeppelin also has a patented Integrated Starter Generator (ISG). This hybrid powertrain is claimed to provide multiple benefits such as improved ride dynamics, enhanced power boost and increased fuel savings.
TVS has already trademarked the name with a slight difference. The registered name is ‘Zepplin R’, which misses an ‘e’ and has ‘R’ as the suffix. The cruiser is expected to be launched soon in India. However, there’s no official word from TVS as yet.