FAME II subsidy should be extended to electric bicycles to increase their adoption; says Aditya Munjal of Lectro e-Mobility

The subsidies will directly ensure that manufacturers will pass on the benefits to customers, thereby ensuring a lower price point and hence a wider acceptability.

By:Updated: October 28, 2019 11:29:11 AM

 

A recently popular section of mobility is that of e-bikes. While cycling was widely accepted as a good exercise jaunt, the electric bug has caught on to them. No longer are people using it for exercise but also for commuting. The idea is to have to not pedal when going to work. If the battery is depleted, you can of course pedal your way back. We had a quick chat with Aditya Munjal of Lectro e-Mobility Solutions on different aspects on an e-bike. Below are the excerpts of the same.

ED: Has all the development on these electric bicycles been done in-house?

AM: Our electric bicycles have been designed at Hero’s Global Design Centre in Manchester, UK. The development of the products has taken place at our Greater Noida plant. However, motors and batteries are not manufactured by us but brought from outside.

ED: How does the company service these electric cycles and what are the intervals?

AM: We have rolled out an AMC plan which gives services every two months. For all the dealers who are appointed for sales, we conduct a technical training for e-cycles service and maintenance at the dealer point. Servicing is currently done directly by all dealers selling Lectro.

ED: How much investment overall has gone into making electric bikes here?

AM: The company is investing Rs 1000 crore in e-cycles in a phased manner. This budget is part of a phased investment plan directed towards strengthening global design and R&D, along with a manufacturing unit. A part of the investment may also go towards setting up a strong retail distribution network.

ED: The response to these vehicles has been good? What are they usually used for?

AM: Yes, we are growing at ~30% month-on-month (CMGR). The electric bicycles are primarily being used for commute with working executives being the top users. Teenagers are a major consumer segment using the e-cycles for commuting to school/college/tuitions.

ED: What are your views on the electric vehicle policy in India?

AM: Although electric bicycles recently got the recognition of being categorized under EVs to get respective tax benefits, FAME II should also now recognize e-cycles as electric vehicles. This will be an important milestone from the manufacturing standpoint. The subsidy under FAME will imply lower MRPs; with the differential essentially passed on to consumers. This will help further boost their usage.

ED: How do you see these electric vehicles in the coming years? We know their impact will be felt by all but the evolution is a bit difficult.

AM: Electric Vehicles is a pressing topic today and the sector is expected to witness significant growth, due to environmental concerns as well as government thrust. However, lack of infrastructure is a big deterrent for the category. EVs, be it electric cars or e-bikes, cannot become viable on Indian roads without adequate charging infrastructure. At the same time, while electric cars are environmentally clean, they do not solve the problem of congestion. There is also need for greater versatility of products within EVs. We still see major auto makers showcasing their plans to get into Indian market with electric cars or e-bikes. While electric cars don’t solve the problem of congestion, e-bikes face charging infrastructure issues. Lectro e-cycles, on the other hand, offer its consumers “No range anxiety”. If one loses battery charge, he/she can always pedal back easy with gear shifts, unlike an electric scooter or car.

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