Electrotherm India Ltd (EIL), the makers of the popular electric scooters Yobykes, will come up with a network of battery charging stations across the country this year which can, in turn, boost the sales of the e-bikes.
"We plan to start with a number of stations in Ahmedabad first, but, finer details are yet to be worked out", said AP Singh, vice-president and SBU-head of Auto of EIL. The company had earlier said that these charging stations would operate under the franchisee model.
The Ahmedabad-based company plans to collaborate with local garage owners in installing battery charging stations at a radius of around three kilomteres of major cities. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore and Ahmedabad are some of the cities identified for setting up battery stations.
Electrotherm’s YO Speed, the 750 watt bike comes with a 33 AH battery and lasts for about two years, covering around 30,000 kms. The battery costs around Rs 8,000-10,000.
It generally takes around seven hours to charge the lead-based battery. It recently came up with the new 'alpha-weaver' battery, that will increase the travel range of the electric bikes from 70 kilometers(km) for a single charge to over 105 km, as against conventional lead acid batteries and at the same time bring down the charging time from eight to four hours. These batteries are also lighter by six kilograms compared to conventional batteries, claimed EIL. While the cost of charging is yet to be worked out on, it could be around Rs 4 per unit.
The move comes after the ministry of New and Renewable Energy has announced that it is working on the possibility of offering subsidies to those companies which set up a network of battery charging stations.
The company is in talks with the Centre as well as the state governments to push its case for abolishing taxes on electric vehicles(EVs) and offering subsidy on buying EVs.
Currently, the company has seven electric bike variants of which two are high-speed variants.
It plans to introduce two more scooters in the same segment during 2010. The high-speed segment will account for two-thirds of our sales within the next two years, Singh said.
EIL expects to nearly double its sales to 30,000 to 40,000 units in the coming fiscal on the back of the new launches this year and the 'alpha weaver' technology-based batteries it has developed for its scooters.
Nearly, 95,000 electric scooters were sold during 2008-09 and the industry is expected to grow by 10 per cent this fiscal. Delhi is the biggest market for electric bikes for EIL accounting for 20 per cent of its net sales followed by West Bengal at 15 per cent.