Electric bicycles should be all the rage right now, considering it’s 2016. It’s a contraption that offers all the mad thrills of a cycle without demanding as much manual input as a mechanical bike, while still allowing you to pedal along. And with speeds limited to a tame 25 to 32km/h, they’re safe and don’t require licences or registration.
So what’s the catch? All good things are either taken or ridiculously expensive. In the case of electric bicycles, it’s the latter. Modern makes are fitted with lithium-powered batteries which offer many advantages but raise prices to around Rs 30,000. That’s three times the price of a regular bicycle.
The challenge is thus to market this product as a cheaper alternative to a motorbike rather than a more expensive bicycle. That is how a start-up based in Chennai is planning to promote its first offering. The Volta Zap is a “crossover electric bike”, which is claimed to cost less than 10 paise per kilometre. And because it must fight as a replacement to motorised bikes, the product comes with lightweight construction and a lighter battery pack, in order to allow riders to cycle longer distances. Add to that, with each full rotation of the pedal, the wheel of the cycle rotates three times, offering better mechanical advantage too.
The Volta Zap also allows users to easily remove, recharge and reinsert the 3kg battery. Features include LED reflectors for night-time riding, integrated facilities for smartphones and customisable body panels, to offer customers a wide range of colours to choose from.
Since the bicycle qualifies for government subsidies on electric vehicles, the price would be competitive too. Besides, its makers have emphasised that since the product is completely designed and built in India, it will be able to take on the unique road conditions that India offers.
As of now, all we have with us is a rendering of the Volta Zap. The final design will be revealed on August 5 at the White Orchid Convention Centre at Hebbal-K R Puram Ring Road, Bangalore. The event will also allow prospective buyers to test ride the electric bicycle.