How do you get the best elements of riding a bicycle and scooter in one vehicle, while going electric? Voltrider Private Limited, a New Delhi-based e-mobility startup, is looking to answer that question with their recently launched ‘Volton Booty’ series of electric bicycles. (Above image of riders on the Volton Booty e-cycle)
Launched last month, the Volton Booty comes in three models. The Booty-30 comes with a 25.6V/12 Ah LFP (lithium iron phosphate) battery pack, which offers a range of 30-35 km on throttle mode and 45-60 km with pedal assist. The Booty-60 comes with a 25.6 V/20 Ah LFP battery pack offering a battery range of 55-60 km on throttle mode and 75-80 km with pedal assist. The version with the best specifications is the Booty-120, which offers a range of 90-120 km on throttle mode and 130-150 km with pedal assist backed by a 25.6 V/36 Ah battery pack.
All these e-bikes have a maximum speed of 25 kmph, and it takes approximately 3.5 hours to fully charge its batteries, which can be done from any socket at home. The Booty comes with a detachable battery (except the Booty-120), making it convenient to charge at home or the office.
“Thus far, we have sold close to 100 units and have orders for approximately 400 more from locations including Durban, South Africa, which marks the first overseas sale for us,” says Prashanta, CEO of Voltrider Private Limited, in conversation with The Better India.
Motivation and standing out
“Team Volton is a group of innovators who are committed to delivering products which strike a balance between style, utility, and safety. We are committed to breaking the practice of ‘cut, copy and paste’ prevalent in the electric cycle segment, where the focus has been on only the style quotient with the utility factor relegated to the background. Our motto is to make products which have a high utility quotient. The focus is to bring reliable, easily maintainable, stylish and utilitarian products at affordable prices,” explains Prashanta.
“Most of us have been trained hands-on and do not have any formal degrees. We got into the mobility space because we wanted to bring about a change in the way the industry functions and come out with products that give utility and value for money to the customer.”
Towards this endeavour, his startup is about to sign a contract with HDFC Bank so people can finance their purchase of the Booty. The only thing they need is an Aadhaar Card and a PAN Card. This would make the Booty available for customers with a monthly instalment ranging from Rs 1,600 to Rs 2,500, depending on the model available at a given dealership. “We are also looking at expanding our dealer network across India,” he adds.
What sets the Booty series, especially the Booty-120, apart from others in the Indian market?
“The Volton Booty derives its name from a combination of the bicycle and scooty. We wanted to give it the comfort and utility of a scooty, and the convenience of a cycle. The idea of using a long seat stemmed from the fact that 95% of the people who wanted to use an e-cycle for their daily needs did not find the regular cycle saddle comfortable to sit on, mainly because they have gotten used to seating on a scooty or a motorcycle,” he explains.
The Booty–120 uses a 36 Ah battery pack, which gives a range of between 90–120 km purely on throttle mode, depending on the weight of a single rider in real time.
“We wanted to make an affordable model available to people who need to travel long distances, for it is not possible for the common man to afford other options available which start at Rs 1,50,000 onwards. All variants of the Volton Booty series are designed to withstand a maximum load of upto 140 kg. Catering to this requirement, the wheels are 20×3 inch fat tires with metal mudguards. The rim of the cycle has 36 spokes instead of 28, which are found in 20-inch wheel rims. All cycles have been fitted with Mega Hubs, which are used in high end MTB bikes, instead of regular hubs, and a cotterless chain wheel,” he claims.
Made in India?
All components used to make the Volton Booty e-bikes are sourced from within India except for the motor, controller and throttle, claims Prashanta. This is mainly on account of the fact that these components are not used by regular manufacturers of cycles.
“However, the 20-inch wheel rim with 36 spokes has been developed by us since the regular 20 inch wheel rims are available either with 20 or with 28 holes. Safety is our prime concern and as a first step towards it we use LFP batteries given its better thermal stability in comparison to other Li-ion battery chemistries. Besides, these LFP batteries have a longer shelf life compared to some of their other Li-ion counterparts,” he explains.
This is why the Booty’s battery comes with a warranty of three years, or 1,800 charge cycles (compared to, for example, 750 for other conventional Li-ion batteries), whichever is less.
“Besides, from a lot of every 20 cycles we make at our manufacturing facility in Najafgarh, two are sent for a real road test with a GPS fitted so that their real performance can be assessed. Each battery is charged and discharged completely to ascertain proper functioning and ambient temperature. Each Booty comes fitted with an MCB (miniature circuit breaker) for overload and overheating protection to ensure the safety of the rider and those sitting pillion,” he claims.
‘Re 1 for every 25 km’
Prashanta says consumers will only have to spend Re 1 from every 25 km travelled on their Volton Booty e-bikes.
“The remark Re 1 for 25 km means that the cost of electricity consumed in charging a battery works out to approximately Re 1. For example, the battery pack used in Booty-30 which travels between 30 to 35 km on a single charge is rated 24 volt/12 Ah which is equivalent to 288 watts (approximately a quarter of one unit of electricity). Assuming the cost per unit to be Rs 5, the cost of charging the battery to travel 30 km works out to Rs 1.25 or Re 1 for 25 km,” he says.
When the Volton Booty is packed, the handlebar and the front wheels are disassembled. This means the Booty needs to be reassembled when it reaches the customer. Consumers can buy this series of e-bikes at a price range of Rs 27,999 to Rs 40,999. They can look up for more information on their website.
“Looking ahead, we have also introduced the first electric trike and are in the process of introducing the first two seater electric rickshaw as well,” Prashanta says.
(Edited by Divya Sethu)
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