With the government of India pushing for electrification of the vehicle fleet in India, there has been a lot of awareness on sustainable travel and commuting in the country. In recent years, people have been introduced to electric vehicles that range from cycles or Ebikes to two-wheelers like motorbikes and scooters to three-wheeler Autos and extends to cars and buses as well. An electric bicycle is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor which can be used to assist propulsion. In simple terms Electric Cycles are cycles powered with a motor which makes the riding effortless.
With the pandemic setting in, the demand for social distancing and the never ending need to commute, the value of sustainable and cost-efficient vehicles has risen in the country. Also health has become a major consideration in all lifestyle decisions. This has led to the rise in adoption of Ebikes in India as well, with attractive offers and higher availability.
The electric bikes market in India is estimated to reach a value of INR 17.43 Bn by FY 2024 (This is for the entire two wheeler market not just cycles). With options from more than 20 brands, Ebikes have already set a prominent footprint in the states of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra. With further development in charging infrastructure and dedicated cycling lanes, the adoption of electric bikes is likely to increase in other parts of the country as well.
Changing lifestyle leading to demand of E Bikes
2020 was a year of transformation for a lot of people. While we were cooped in the safety of our home, people had time to reflect on their lifestyle choices and the time to adopt a healthier and sustainable one. With this realisation, many customers looked to change the way they commute and rather than going for a conventional bicycle, many adopted electric cycles which gave the flexibility to use it not just for healthy rides bit also to run errands which normally would have been done in a scooter or car.
The usual market run or even the morning fitness routine can be taken care of with an Ebike. On the Business side, we are seeing use cases where Ebikes are being used for last mile deliveries and also by many ride sharing companies for micro mobility.
There are many benefits of using an Ebike. Apart from the contribution to the environment, it also helps in maintaining physical fitness and building stamina. Ebikes are a perfect personal mobility vehicle to travel for short distances and helps maintain social distance from others automatically. Also the fact that it doesn’t need a registration or driving license makes it accessible to a much larger audience.
Uptake of E Bikes in tourist places
In the last few months, the tourist spots in India have seen a spike in visitors post the pandemic impact. But this time, there was a noticeable change in the customers behaviour. Customers are more cautious of the choices they are making while travelling. They make conscious efforts to wear a mask and maintain social distance, staying away from crowded marketplace if necessary. This has helped in safe travelling and increasing tourist activities in some places in India. They are also much aware of ensuring their travel creates a minimum carbon footprint.
One of the best practices has been adoption of E Bikes in such cities. Some places of historical prominence like Taj Mahal do not allow petrol or diesel vehicles within 500 m to avoid pollution. Also with hinterland tourism seeing a growth, travellers want to explore the sights and sounds in a cleaner way. Ebikes thus prove to be a great fit for the same. Tourist locations are bursting over with vehicles especially during peak season.
Travellers staying in resorts like The Taj Hotels or Club Mahindra and also ones staying with Airbnb have access to curated E Bike tours to enjoy hidden trails and undiscovered holiday spots in some cities like Goa, Coorg, Jaipur, etc.
Such tours are booked in advance and are considered safe as each one is riding their own vehicle, maintaining safety protocols. These E Bikes come with an option of pedalling for the ones with a fitness streak or using the throttle when needed while enjoying the scenic beauty around with the group. Customers that adopt such a lifestyle even during vacations, continue to contribute to sustainability efforts towards the environment, by creating Zero Carbon Footprint, while exploring the location in a much more closer and immersive way.
E-bikes are becoming a perfect alternative mode of transportation for the future. Moreover, they are also a great mode of transportation for recreational activities, as they offer the fun of cycling, combined with the suitability of an automobile, and help in adopting a sustainable lifestyle easily. Furthermore, these bikes give customers the freedom to navigate through rough terrains, which are otherwise difficult to navigate without an electric motor. Also age is no bar for EBikes. Such factors are making e-bikes popular in India.
Given the fact that two-wheelers account for as much as 75% of the vehicular pollution in India, using a sustainable alternative like an e-bike while on vacation only goes a long way in helping build a greener and breathable environment. Promoting greater adoption of Electric Cycles is crucial to making India’s EV adoption a success.
This article is authored by Samarth Kholkar, Co-Founder & CEO, BLive. All views are personal.