Electric bicycles from Chennai to hit the road soon


The iZip electric bicycle can travel at a top speed of 20 km per hour and travel for 25 km per full charging.

The Chennai-based Basil Energetics is ready to launch an electric bicycle, iZip, in Hyderabad by the end of this month.

Fitted with a long-lasting and light-weight portable lithium iron phosphate battery (like the ones used in Tesla and Toyota), iZip can travel at a top speed of 20 km per hour. The cycle, which weighs 35 kg, can travel for 25 km per each full charging. The batteries can be charged in 90 minutes using either solar energy or power from the gird.

The non-geared bicycle can also be pedalled like a conventional cycle.

“We have field-tested the cycles in many places. The testing has been going on for the last three years,” says Dr. R. Ramarathnam, Chairman of Basil Energetics. “We will be approaching Pune’s Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) in about 15 days for certification. The cycles will be commercially available by November-end.”

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The 2.2-kg battery has 24 cells arranged in three rows of eight cells each. The total voltage of the battery is 25.6 volts. “The motor is 24 volts and the overall power stored in the battery is 240 watt-hour,” Dr. Ramarathnam says. The battery can be removed from the cycle and charged at home. The cells are imported from China and Basil arranges the cells in-house in Chennai.

The battery comes with a warranty of two years and the life of the battery is six years, he says.

“There is an electronic circuitry called battery management system that ensures that current from individual cells is maintained constantand identical current flows through each cell. This ensures that that there is no internal damage to individual cells, so the life of the battery is prolonged,” he says. The battery will last for 2,000 cycles of charging and discharging. Recharging the battery after deep discharge (draining the battery completely) is also possible.

iZip cycles have disc brake for the rear wheel and electric braking too. “When you pull the brake lever, a controller senses it and runs the motor in a reverse direction so the cycle comes to a stop quickly and steadily as the braking is done in a controlled fashion,” Dr. Ramarathnam says, explaining the concept behind electric braking.

The axel of the cycle is removed and a hub motors is placed in its place. The motor shaft acts like a normal axel. The company uses its proprietary motor and motor controller for the bicycle. The total load carrying capacity of the bicycle is 150 kg, he says.

“The on-road cost of iZip will be Rs. 25,000,” Dr. Ramarathnam says. “The running cost is low. Even if the cycle is used for 25 km a day, only seven units of electricity are needed in a month for charging the battery. The cost is high due to the battery. When the volume picks up, we may be able to reduce the cost.”

Published in The Hindu on October 16, 2016


2 thoughts on “Electric bicycles from Chennai to hit the road soon

  1. We wish the Electric bicycle the very best. The speeds are matching with the city drives provided by small 4 wheelers. Price could be brought down. Pillion riding will be observed on road. To be successful, registration could be waived off, but drivers should have a valid 2 wheelet driving licence. Insurance must be provided at concessional rates. Battery life must be guaranteed for at least five years.

    • Finally, the success of the bicycle will depend on how the well-established cycle manufacturers in India receive this news. They may see this as opportunity to sell their cycle or cycle parts to the Chennai company or treat it as a competitor and kill it, or at least try to kill it.

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