Despite the continued domination of fossil-fuel guzzling vehicles on Indian roads, the past five years have seen a significant push toward electric automobiles. More than manufacturers and the government, that push is coming from consumers, particularly in the electric vehicle (EV) space.
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Working with the trend, Hero Electric, one of the largest electric bike manufacturers in India in terms of sales, is all set to expand its capacity from the current 1,00,000 units per year to 5,00,000. Moreover, according to this survey, “Drivers and vehicle owners say that ‘reducing air pollution’ (87 per cent) is the best reason to purchase an electric vehicle, not because they will never pay for petrol or diesel again’ (12 per cent).”
As an environmentally-conscious customer, there is a desire to switch.
But concerns remain about specifications like battery range, speed, charging time, and comfort. Here are five startups spearheading the electric bike movement in India whom you, the customer, could approach.
1) Ather: Ather Energy is an electric vehicle company founded in 2013 by IIT graduates Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain. Unlike any other electric vehicle company, Ather had their priorities sorted—delivering high-performance electric vehicles that were affordable for the Indian consumers. They have two main products currently–the Ather 340 (top speed of 70 kmph) and the Ather 450, of which the latter has generated a greater buzz.
The Ather 450 has a top speed of 80 kmph, pick up from 0-40 kmph under four seconds and a battery range of 55-75 km on a single 4-hour charge. It also has an interactive touch-screen dashboard, which shows the relevant information while you are on the road. Powered by a lithium-ion 2.4 kWh battery, the scooter is priced at Rs 1.23 lakh.
2) Revolt Motors: Founded by Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma, the startup unveiled the RV400 electric motorcycle last month. Reports state that it is India’s first artificial intelligence-enabled electric motorcycle in India. On a single charge, the startup claims, its motorbikes will run for 156 km with a top speed of 85 kmph.
It is available in three model – Eco, City and Sports. What stands out about this electric bike are its AI-enabled features like mobile connectivity, live vehicle tracker, detection of nearby charging stations, live range tracker, etc. It’s priced at Rs 1 lakh.
3) Tork Motorcycles: Founded in 2009, Tork remains one of the earliest players in the electric vehicle game coming into the Indian market in 2009. The T6X was India’s electric performance motorcycle backed by a host of features included integrated GPS, cloud connectivity, in-built navigation capabilities. Offering a range of 100 km on a single charge, the T6X can cruise comfortably at 100 kmph with barely any vibrations.
One of the two standout features of the EV is that first, it can charge up to 80 per cent in an hour, and has a torque of 27 Nm, allowing riders to get off the blocks in traffic quickly. On a 2014 test run, it recorded a pick up from 0-100 kmph in 8.7 seconds.
It’s priced at an estimated Rs 1.25 lakh.
4) PURE EV: PURE EV is the electric vehicle manufacturing division of PuREnergy, a 2016 startup of Dr Nishanth Dongari, a professor at IIT-Hyderabad, and Rohit Vadera, an alumnus of IIT Bombay. It has launched four models of long-range, cost-effective and Indian conditions-tested electric scooters (EPLUTO, ETRANCE) and bicycles (EGNITE, ETRON).
More importantly, however, the startup is designing and manufacturing its own high-performance lithium batteries, unlike other manufacturers. This is a massive advantage. EPLUTO is the premium electric scooter model that PURE EV has developed. An interesting facet of this scooter is that the battery is portable. In any 16 amp socket, whether at home or office, you can pull out the battery and put it on for charge.
On a single charge, the true on-road range of the scooter is more than 100 km, irrespective of the speed, loading conditions or sloping gradients. The bike can hit 0-40 kmph in 7 seconds. Hitting a top speed of 60 kmph, EPLUTO carries with it a 2 kWh battery. With a market price of Rs 74,999, EPLUTO is cheaper than your average Vespa scooty.
5) Yulu: Yulu was founded by Amit Gupt, RK Misra, Naveen Dachuri and Hemant Gupta in 2017. The Bengaluru-based bike-sharing platform, earlier this year, launched Yulu Miracle electric scooter which is both dockless and powered by a lithium battery.
Weighing just 40 kg, the emphasis here is on short-distance commutes considering two-thirds of a trip in any big city is below 5km. It’s about finding the most comfortable and quickest way to navigate traffic congestion and reduce air pollution.
On a single charge, Yulu Miracle can travel 70 km at speeds of 25 kmph. You can rent these bikes after paying a security deposit of Rs 250, and it charges Rs 10 for a 10-minute ride.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)