There are more than 200 million zero emission electric bicycles (e-bikes) in China which are immensely popular as urban commuting vehicles, due to their low cost of ownership and convenience.
An electric bicycle, as the name suggests, is a regular bicycle with electric motors and batteries that need to be charged from a plug-point (the way electric cars operate). Some are pedal-assisted, while some have a twist-accelerator on the handle like a scooter or motorcycle.
Pricing And Specifications
Xiaomi, the popular phone and IOT (Internet of Things) maker, has unveiled its electric bicycle in China. It is called the QiCycle and is priced at Yuan 2,999 (approximately INR 30,700). It has a 250 watts 36 volt electric motor and uses its own software in optimizing the pedal assist to the rider. The lithium battery made by Panasonic (the same is used by Tesla) has a range of 45km on a single charge. It weighs only 13.5 kg and can be folded and kept in the trunk of a car. There is a Shimano Gear Shifters system that lets the rider change gears according to terrain. And yes, you can pedal it if the batteries run out of charge.
Coming from the brand Xiaomi, it has a display with smart features, such as fitness parameters (calories, distance, speed, etc) and range.
Will It Work In India?
The growing electric cycle or scooter market in India is largely scattered with local rebranded Chinese products that are available in the INR 20 to 40 thousand range. Most of them are powered by Lead Acid batteries which are heavy and have a lower life of a year or two at best. Apart from that, the re-branded electric cycles in India have poor build quality, are low on style and do not have the backing of a reputed brand.
At present, Hero Electric is the only pan-India e-bike maker. The market is very region specific and this is where makers such as Xiaomi can cash in with their super cool reliable products and pan-India presence. Like Xiaomi, e-bikes from Ather Energy, Tork Motorcycles use lithium batteries that are lighter and do not require a battery replacement for three to five years. Pricing is important as it is dangerously close to petrol powered scooters. Also, cities need to have charging points set up at parking lots.
Out of all automobiles, electric cycles or scooters have the lowest cost of running, which comes to around five to ten paisa per km (a petrol car costs INR 5 per km and a petrol scooter costs one rupee a km). If your daily office commute is 20km, it would cost you less than INR 50 a month! Which means a direct saving of about INR 500 to 2000 INR a month over a petrol motorcycle or car. And yes, there are no emissions!
So what do you think? Are you up for the new e-bike or would you rather still use your petrol or diesel vehicle?
Image Source: MIUI