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Bike of the Future: Motovolt Unveils the URBN E-Bike

Tushar Choudhary, founder and CEO of Motovolt took to the stage to unveil the company’s latest electric bike targeted at the youth of India and those living in rural India.

Motovolt Mobility, a Kolkata based EV manufacturer, unveiled the URBN electric bike on Tuesday, 27 September 2022. Motovolt Mobility is a subsidiary of Himadri Group and was founded in 2020. The EV is Motovolt’s latest offering in a line of products that also include the ICE and the HUM. Tushar Choudhary, founder and CEO, announced the company’s ambitions to play a major role in the EV revolution that has started to take India by storm as consumers recognise the importance of zero emission vehicles and the savings they create.

Marketed specifically as a last mile, micro mobility vehicle (a vehicle used for extremely short term use such as quick trips to the grocery store) the URBN e-bike claimed a range of 120 km, a top speed of 25 Kmph and a running cost of 7 paise per kilometre. The vehicle starts at 49,999 rupees, with the manufacturer announcing that pre-bookings will start at Rs 999 on the company’s website and can be purchased through EMIs. The URBN is powered by a removable BIS-approved battery, which Motovolt claims is safe and easy to charge. The e-bike offers multiple driving modes to support peddling and automatic ride preferences.

The founder talked about his trips to China where he observed the prevalence of electric bicycles and e-bikes. He revealed the disparity between China and India when it comes to electric vehicles like these.

China had sold 30 million e-bikes, India has only sold a few lakhs.

Tushar Choudhary, Founder & CEO, Motovolt

Motovolt insists that micro mobility can change the lives of people in rural India. To that effect, it has partnered with CSC Grameen e-store to reach lakhs of villages in the most remote regions of the country. The company believes that its products’ main selling points to rural Indians are the zero emissions, low costs to own and maintain and that they can be used safely without a license or registration for the vehicle.

When asked about the URBN’s feasibility for DU students where the Delhi Metro is available to them, Motovolt’s Growth and Corporate Strategy Head, Manohar Bethapudi said that the youth engages in driving their parents’ vehicles. However, the URBN would give the youth a chance to own a private vehicle while respecting the law and order. Further, he stated that public transport is a good thing, but according to him, the first and the last mile could be a challenge, as one is required to take a three-wheeler to reach their final destination and to commute back to the metro station.

With something like this, from point to point, you can commute on your own and it is much more affordable. With the metro, this is 7 paise per kilometre. I’m sure if you do the math, it’ll work out cheaper.

Manohar Bethapudi, Growth and Corporate Strategy Head, Motovolt

He further added that after the 7-year warranty on the battery expires, the battery replacement cost would be approximately 20% of the MRP of the EV.

However, 7 years is a good life. After 7 years, I’m sure you’ll be looking to upgrade yourself.

Manohar Bethapudi, Growth and Corporate Strategy Head, Motovolt

The event also saw a panel discussion attended by experts including Dr. Ravindra Kumar, Chief Scientist (Transportation Planning and Environment Division CSIR – Central Road Research Institute), Mr. Ajay Sharma (Secretary General Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicle), Mr. Raja Kishore (Chief Operating Officer at CSC Grameen eStore), Mr. Ashwani Mahajan (Professor, Author, Columnist, Social Activist National Co Convenor Swadeshi Jagran Manch), Mr. Vinod Kumar Yadav (Deputy Commissioner – EV Cell), and Mr. Manohar Bethapudi discussing the growth of the EV ecosystem, the future of micro mobility in the country, challenges, and opportunities.

Addressing the issue of service in the rural areas that these e-bikes seem to be targeted towards, Mr. Raja Kishore said that the CSC and Motovolt plan on developing DIY kits and online servicing videos to help customers take care of their own EVs.

Mr. Ashaswini Mahajan talked about the importance of EVs during the global climate change crisis and how they can help curb greenhouse gases and save the environment. Mr. Ajay Sharma talked about the main issues regarding EVs: the safety of batteries in the vehicle and range anxiety. He explained that for the former, the government planned on introducing amendments requiring manufacturers to safeguard their batteries against the unique challenges of Indian roads. Further, he urged local governments and municipal corporations to invest heavily in charging infrastructure so that more consumers can freely choose EVs over other, gas-guzzling alternatives.

Motovolt also announced that it intended on selling the URBN to delivery services for last-mile deliveries and had already fielded inquiries from giants like Swiggy and Zomato. In conversation with BusinessToday, Motovolt also revealed that it had already received 5,000 advanced bookings. Motovolt seems to have committed itself to the future of an EV utopia, and the URBN is a perfect part of Tushar Choudhary’s vision.

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Featured Image Credits: Ankita Baidya for DU Beat

Siddharth Kumar

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Siddharth is your guy for doing anything that would make a legen-wait-for-it-dary story. However, if you find him, get ready for him talking your ear off about how Van Gogh is the greatest artist to walk the earth, Doctor Who is the best show ever and how the Ancient Greeks had a point.