Buying eBike, without battery..

I had an electric bike (Yo Byke) in 2008 (loved it!), used the eBike until 2014 & now my 15yr old has dismantled the entire bike & is building it back from scratch using Lithium-ion battery (a story about that on another day). In this post, want to talk about the idea of making eBike prices affordable for users, allowing them to use battery on rent, the required infrastructure & govt. policy to achieve the same.

battery packs

eBike without battery — basic 48v Lithium-ion battery on an average costs Rs.20K+, that leads to eBike prices to start at Rs.60K & upwards going upto Rs.1.6L in India. Now imagine, if you could buy an eBike without battery & use any of the swappable battery from one of many battery rental places across the city? this would bring down the initial prices & make the bike usage similar to filling petrol on regular basis, not having to own a depreciating battery that will be again a one time expense to replace etc.,

Standard Battery Spec — for above swappable battery to work, we should have a standard battery specification across manufacturers, meaning Hero Motorcorp, Ather & TVS should all have standard battery holders that can either take 1, 2 or N battery packs, with the appropriate controllers (controllers are the heart of the eBike). Kind of like AA battery standard that we have for a torch & we can put either Eveready or Duracell brand of batteries.

Battery on Rent — we need to have battery swaps kiosk setup like the petrol bunks (current petrol bunks, will be that in near future), that would offer a ready charged battery that user could swap into, and will be charged for the differential charge he / she is getting from the swapped battery. Pricing of these battery would be little higher than electricity spent to charge them to include the one time cost of battery these rental companies are spending. Unless the state govt. provides the initial investment & bears the cost of these batteries to help keep their city clean?

Govt. policy — for all the above to work, the major factor is the need for a “standard battery specification” that should be published by Indian Govt. mandating all the electric vehicle manufacturers to adhere into a standard battery holder, with modular units (voltage) of cell holding. Now is the best time, when eBike sales are less than 1% of total vehicles being sold & I bet this idea sounds laughable right now, but if we think about past product launches that missed the standardisation are causing so much troubles to end customer now, ex: DTH boxes — wish the govt. had mandate universal set top box that consumers can switch to any provider?

Tesla — I would like to end this post, with a proposition for Tesla, largest electric car manufacturer in the world to enter India with a two wheeler by launching eBike rather than bringing their expensive car. If you think about it, they will find millions of buyers for a Tesla eBike than 1000s lining up to buy Rs.80L electric car.

Thanks for reading this, stay green & consider adopting sustainable practices in your every day life!


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Bhaskara Kempaiah

Startup enthusiast, working with early stage companies. Natural farmer at heart..