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Explained: How e-bicycles work, benefits and if they are worth buying

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The e-bicycle market around the world is booming. People are switching to these eco-friendly bikes in order to reduce vehicular emissions and dependency on fossil fuels.

Explained: How e-bicycles work, benefits and if they are worth buying
The e-bicycle market around the world is booming. People are switching to these eco-friendly bikes in order to reduce vehicular emissions and dependency on fossil fuels. These e-bicycles also offer a host of health benefits and are pocket-friendly at a time when fuel prices are skyrocketing.
In India, the e-bicycle market is still in a nascent stage but several local players have forayed into the segment, providing customers with multiple choices.
According to a Mordor Intelligence report, the e-bike market in India was valued at US$ 1.02 million in 2020 and it is expected to reach US$ 2.08 million by 2026, projecting a compound annual growth rate of 12.69 percent during the forecast period. (2021-2026).
How do e-bikes work?
As the name suggests, an electric bicycle (or e-bike) is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor that can be used to assist propulsion. Electric bikes have pedal assist and the motor is only activated when the pedals are in motion. Therefore, a rider has to pedal the bicycle but the pedalling is accompanied by an added boost to make the ride faster and less tiring.
In this way, e-bikes offer both — the fun of cycling and the suitability of an automobile. Additionally, e-bikes allow consumers to navigate through rough terrains.
The e-bikes have three main components:
Electric motor: This motor provides torque when you pedal.
Battery: This battery runs the motor. Ideally, a full-charged battery offers five to six hours of e-bike ride.
Sensor: The sensor propels the motor once you begin pedalling, providing ride assistance.
Pros and cons
It is beyond doubt that e-bikes are a great mode of eco-friendly transportation. In a country like India where two-wheelers account for as much as 75% of the vehicular pollution, greater adoption of e-bikes will bring down carbon emissions significantly.
However, the e-bike market is growing rather slowly in India due to a host of factors — lack of cycling lanes, absence of charging infrastructure, and the initial cost. At present, the average price of an e-bike is the same as that of a basic scooter in India. Thus, customers prefer scooters over e-bikes. The price of e-cycles in India ranges from Rs 20,000 to Rs 3 lakh.
Also, e-bike technology is still evolving. And for those who have to commute long distances every day, e-bikes aren't a viable option.
Growth prospects
Despite a host of factors impeding the sales of e-bikes, they continue to excite customers and it is widely speculated that such bikes would become the most popular private transport mode in the coming years.
In India too, several players are driving innovation in the segment. For instance, Hero Cycles is heavily investing in research and development as well as localisation of the critical components of e-bikes.
In the past two years, a lot of power e-bikes have become available in the Indian market. These include — Hero Lectro, GoZero Mobility's Skellig series, Yamaha's new Civante Class 3, Zadd Bikes, Being Human, and others. These bikes offer a greater speed and a higher distance range on a single charge.
Besides, several states are rolling out incentives and subsidies to bring down the cost of e-bikes and also the cost of changing batteries.
The recently announced production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme aims to push the manufacturing of electric vehicles. Under the scheme, the Centre will support greenfield (new companies being set up) and brownfield (companies that are already in operation) investments.
According to the government, a cumulative effect of the PLI scheme for the auto sector, PLI for Advanced Chemistry Cell (worth Rs 18,100 crore), and Faster Adoption of Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme (worth Rs 10,000 crore) will give a big push to the manufacturing of electric vehicles in India.
Are e-bikes worth your money?
An electric bike is certainly a great investment and not just for environmental reasons. E-bikes are easy to ride and provide great value in the long run. The decision to purchase an e-bike, however, should largely depend on your needs.
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