E-bike industry flourishes in Punjab

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Chandigarh, Sept 2 : The low-cost, low maintenance and cool, electric-motorized bicycles (e-bikes) are ready to replace motorcycles and scooters.

E-bike manufacturers in Punjab are gearing up for what they call a second wave of growth, of these 'plug' and 'ply' bikes.

With inflation at more than 12 per cent and fuel prices zooming northward, electric-run-bikes are an easy way to cut expenses.

Its popularity among all-age groups, has grabbed the attention of two-wheeler manufacturers.

"We have given preference to e-bike. The rising petrol and diesel prices are now unaffordable for the common man. The prices of e-bike are comparatively less then petrol-run-bikes," said Paramjeet, a resident.

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. "I think there is a huge potential for e-bikes because of the prize difference not only in the purchasing power, but also in the prize of fuel and electric. It is only ten paisa per kilometer running cost as compare to any other scooter or motorbike, which costs around one rupee per km running cost. There is no servicing required for these products and although we provide service. They all are less than 25 km per hour speed. There is no license, no registration and no road tax," said Gaurav Mungal, Dy. Chief Executive, Hero Cycles Ltd.

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 to 700 USD. 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 there is increase in middle class population.

Already a hit in China, Japan, Australia and United States, e-bikes are now catching the fancy of Indians. y Karan Kapoor

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