Electric bikes success forces traditional players to rethink

Written by Kavitha Venkatraman | Hyderabad, Apr 16 | Updated: Apr 17 2008, 06:09am hrs
Call it a shock therapy or a sort. At a time when the sales figures of conventional motorbikes had hit a slow patch, the sales of battery powered bikes or electric bikes, as they are better known, are revving up making a shockwave in the market. The product has become a hit with the consumers and its market is estimated to touch the five lakh mark within the next two years.

The recognition which the electric bikes are gaining has forced many traditional two-wheeler manufacturers to take a relook at the segment. In fact, some seasoned players like TVS Motor Company and Hero group have already taken a jump and have rolled out products targeting the segment. While some are working on their research and development (R&D), many more are gearing up to make a beeline into the segment.

Quite recently TVS Motor Company ventured into the electric vehicle category through its Scooty Teenz electric scooter. The bike targeted at the young womenfolk marked the foray of the two-wheeler manufacturer into the battery operated two wheelers segment. The Hero group had also got into the segment sometime back with a UK partner Ultra Motor Company. Though the partnership between the entities was called off recently, both the companies are upbeat about their presence in the segment either on their own or through joint ventures.

Kinetic Motor Company had also announced its plans to get into the electric bikes category. The company has been working on its R&D pretty hard and is expected to unveil its product range any time soon.

On the other hand, the already existing player Electrotherm, which manufactures electric bikes under the brand name Yo-Bykes through its division Indus Elec-trans, is expanding its product range by launching a high-powered vehicle which would compete with 125cc motorcycles in the next six months time. It is also planning to expand its capacity by adding three more assembly lines at its existing facility in Kutch to meet the growing demand.

Chennai-based Kabirdass Motor Company, besides focussing on the Indian market, has started looking at overseas exposure for its product range. The company has, in fact, obtained a green signal to export one of its high-powered scooterette to the UK market. The company also has plans to expand its presence to places like Orissa and West Bengal besides enhancing its network in Tamil Nadu and certain parts of Andhra Pradesh. Right now, the company has 45 dealerships in TN and AP and this is expected to go up to 145 in the next six months.