Lots of people are thinking “are electric bikes the future of personal transportation ?” I will be surprised if electric bikes make a bigger impact in India than electric cars.
We have seen in recent times a big wave of migration into cities. Today, people live in cities and by 2030 this figure will grow to 70% . Many of the cities in India are highly congested and car ownership offers a luxury. The vast majority of city dwellers will probably be unable to own cars.
Even if you can afford to buy a car, commuting by car around the city is extremely unpleasant. Highly populated cities, traffic lights, aggressive drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and lack of parking all time car drivers problem and offer to drive themselves, this will remain true regardless of what kind of car you can buy.
So, most affordable alternative modes of transportation- such as electric bikes -could appeal even to urban gas/electric car owners.
Electric car vs bike
Electric cars are more expensive than electric bikes. This could change when production EV increases then the price slowly reduces. But electric cars will remain prohibitively expensive for most of the people in India in future.
Also, standard electric two wheelers are also expensive if you compare them to simple bikes. These bikes are much more affordable than cars. A low range electric two wheeler is available around 60,000 to 1 lakh . All batteries degrade over time but replacing an electric bike battery is far cheaper than an electric car battery,also the cost of charging for bikes is far lower than a car.
Electric bike vs electric scooter
Electric bikes are very clean and likely safer than any petrol powered scooters (because they’re slower) and require no licensing. However,they are much faster than normal bikes and could therefore offer a compelling alternative transport facility for intra-city transport.
On other hand , bikes are more accessible (specially for hills and long distances, and with baggage/ groceries in low), electric bikes can expand the number of people that would be willing to adopt cycling as a means of transport only appeal to a subset of drivers.
Electric bikes offer you a theft problem, and also makes bike ownership less scary. This may sound counter intuitive given that electric bikes are more expensive than normal bikes and hence are a bigger target for bike thieves.
For this reason, electric bikes can not cover more distance ,also its smart anti theft mechanism that locks the two wheels, sounds an alarm , alerts the owner, and also allows GPs tracking facility in case of a theft . This future technology will likely be available to cheaper bikes as well.
So, the main question comes up in our mind about electric bikes that will end up powered cars/ scooters or with other clean modes of transportation- walking , public transit or good old cycling. I think that there’s a chance electric bikes will increase the use of public transit by providing a fast, easy and fun solution to the last mile problem between people’s homes and the nearest public transit station.
If more and more people in India replace their petrol powered cars with electric bikes for their daily commute . They will also get in better shape. And It is a good thing- not just for the environment.