E-biking a viable commuting option for urban elites in India

by Ankit Kumar, CEO, GoZero Mobility 03 Jun 2021


GoZero Mobility founder, Ankit Kumar at a felicitation ceremony for Covid Warriors in Kolkata along with Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation chairman and British deputy high commissioner.

Covid has stalled many cycles but it has revived the demand for electric bicycles worldwide. In India, sales (which were stagnant) grew by over two-fold in the last year.

The acceleration has been caused by the growing desire for fitness and personal mobility. With restrictions on movement and access to gyms or sports arenas, people have taken up cycling as an alternative way of exercising. The adoption of cycling as a lifestyle is growing across age-groups and is proof that the pandemic has changed mindsets. If only the pandemic had waned in India, cycling would get a fresh pedal on World Bicycle Day.

Growing demand for e-bikes
Electric bicycles are helping meeting the goals of smart cities in the global context. It allows the user to commute faster, increase transportation options, contributes towards curbing pollution, enhances road safety by reducing traffic congestion and allows for social distancing. E-bikes are ideal for anyone who craves speed without the mechanical intricacy of a gas-powered machine. Also, a lot of attention is being given to its design.

The traditional way of looking at bicycles is that it's either meant for fitness or to travel shorter distances. But not anymore as e-bikes have become the latest craze around the globe. With easy distribution, offline and online, more and more e-bikes are seen on the roads. 

E-bikes in the corporate context
But how is this important for corporations and employers? With improvement in physical fitness, and no time being wasted in traffic jams, reduced frustration from road rages and accidents, comes astronomical improvement in mental health of their workers, thus further improving their efficiency – higher output and reduced leaves due to health issues.

Employers in India have begun to notice of the benefits of e-bikes and have started taking the initiative of providing their employees with e-bikes, and enjoying the benefits of costs saved and healthy employees. OEM brands working in the space of e-bikes need to join hands together to promote this habit to co-exist within all metropolises in order to make the impact significant on a global scale.

The pedal assistance allows all age groups to travel more easily and longer while giving them the proper daily dose of vitamin D. The typical working professional in an Indian metropolitan city lives within a radius of 10 km from their workspace. However, with the proliferation of motorised vehicles and the tacit label of status that is attached to the ownership of a motorized vehicle, our roads are choked with private cars and motorcycles. This has increased the average living expenses by around 120,000-150,000 annually, if you own a car or 30,000-50,000 for a motorcycle. Tagging along with this have come numerous problems such as clogged roads, instances of road rage and accidents, all of which have contributed to time wasted on the road and deteriorating mental health. This is also not to mention, the costs of air pollution and CO2 emissions making life in the city bleaker by the day.

Advantages of electric bicycles
Cycling has many advantages -

1. As we all know, it is one of the best exercises that help in maintaining body metabolism. For moderate distances like 25-50km, e-bikes are the best solution.

2.    E-bikes are pollution-free. These are surely going to contribute to keeping the environment green!

3.    Simple to operate and park: The safety automatic features make e-bikes a hassle-free technology. You do not have to stress about what gear you are in and how to clutch correctly. You only have to execute a little physical effort to drive your E-Bike. The fact that you do not have to worry about gas or oil makes it fantastic. They are also easy to park.

4.    Connected mobility enables the fusion of technology with products that make the intelligent. 

So now, you need not be Lance Armstrong to get the thrill of riding at an average speed of 25 kmph. Just own an e-bike and go riding your world!

Governments and businesses around the world have come to realise the true benefits of e-biking to work and have worked together in bringing schemes to encourage this habit. The UK government’s scheme of Biking to Work is one such example, where both parties have come together to subsidize the cost of ownership of e-bikes for their employees. Governments around the world have also cordoned off zones and lanes specifically for cycles and e-bikes, measures that have been adopted by the Kolkata government (which has announced 120 km of cycling lanes in the city).

However, the major challenge facing the industry today is awareness. People are just not aware about the e-bikes & its benefits and that’s primarily due to the limited reach. This is the right time we should adopt e mobility for green India and fit India.