To overcome the increase in petrol and diesel prices, travellers in
India are taking to bikes powered by electricity, which reduce pollution and
also reduce the commutation costs. Already a hit in China, Japan, Australia and United States, e-bikes are now
catching the fancy of Indians.
Propelled by a perfect tailwind of technology, high oil prices and the trend for
all things green, global sales of bikes driven by battery-powered electric
motors have climbed nearly 20 per cent since 2005, a trend projected to
accelerate especially in India, where there is increase in middle class population.
Available in several variants, e-bikes come with a price tag of 400 to 700
USD. The annual demand is growing from 500,000 e-bikes at present in
India. Its popularity among all-age groups, has grabbed the attention of two-wheeler
manufacturers. Among the 80 manufacturers of e-bikes in India, ten to twelve are big players.
The world's largest bicycle-maker Hero, in a joint venture with UK-based Ultra
Motors Company, is manufacturing e-bikes branded as 'Hero Electric', with the
'ultra-powered' technology tag."
Tube Investments of India (TII), a flagship company of the Murugappa
Group, will launch its electric bikes in Kerala soon. The bikes will be marketed under the BSA brand,
capable of making 100 bikes a day at Ambattur in Tamil Nadu. The cost of the bikes will range from
Rs.27,000 to Rs.36,000. The low-speed e-bikes will have a top speed of 25 km per hour and the high-speed models, up to 45 km per hour.
The low-cost, easy to maintain and "cool" e-bikes are all set to
replace motorcycles and scooters.
The e-bikes run on rechargeable batteries and requires only one-tenth of
the running cost of a petrol-driven vehicle. The average cost will be 35 o 45 paise per km. The eco-friendly bike does not emit harmful gases like carbon monoxide or nitrogen oxide.
Hero Electric, manufacturers of electric 100cc bikes in India, is planning to makes its foray into overseas market. It plans to export its e-bikes to nearby SAARC countries this year.
It now plans to set up a new
Greenfield unit to cater to rising demand for electric scooters. The Greenfield unit shall manufacture nearly 60,000 to 70,000 units annually which may be set up in southern part of the country that has extremely high demand for such bikes.
The new electric scooters or e-bikes would be placed in the price band of Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000 and shall gain technical support from the UK based company Ultra Motor.