Sunday, 31 August 2008

E-bikes arrives in India

E-bikes arrives in India
Mathrubhumi - English Edition

LUDHIANA: To overcome the increase in petrol and diesel prices, travellers in Punjab are taking to bikes powered by electricity, which reduce pollution and also reduce the commutation costs. In Punjab, the low-cost, easy to maintain and 'cool' e-bikes are all set to replace motorcycles and scooters. E-bike manufacturers in Punjab are gearing up to meet the demand for `plug in' and `ply' bikes.

These electric motorized bicycles or E-bikes are safe, convenient as well as economical. And, they are now catching the fancy of the common man in Punjab.E-bikes, meanwhile, have grabbed the attention of two-wheeler manufacturers too. Among the 80 manufacturers of e-bikes in India, 10 to 12 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. Gaurav Munjal, Deputy Chief Executive, Hero Cycles Ltd., says: 'I think there is a huge potential for e-bikes because of it is economical. Their running cost is only 10 paise per kilometer while the scooter or motorbike costs around one rupee per kilometer. It is value for money.

Munjal added: 'They are safe. You can travel at 25 km per hour. You do not require license, registration and do not have to pay road tax. But, we recommend a helmet for safety.' Taking China as its role model, the Ludhiana-based e-bike manufacturer is out to tap the unexploited Indian market.

Available in several variants, e-bikes come with a price tag of 400 (rupees 17,520.39) to 700 U.S. dollars (rupees 30,607.05). The annual demand is growing from 500,000 e-bikes at present.

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 developing countries, where the middle class is rising. Already a hit in China, Japan, Australia and United States, E-bikes are now catching the fancy of the Indians.

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