In 2018, India was the fourth largest manufacturer of cars in the world and the number of passenger cars sold in the country stood at 2.17 million for the same year. It is always a time to celebrate when a new car or bike comes to the house, but sadly, amidst the happiness we tend to gloss over the fact that the vehicle is one more nail in earth’s coffin.
With air pollution on the rise, the health risks are also increasing. Check out this anti-pollution net and give your home the much need respite from air pollution!
Vehicular emissions contribute significantly to the deteriorating air quality world-wide. Closer home, we have all read about the toxic air that people breathe in the country’s capital. In fact, a study by the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur on Delhi’s air pollution stated that vehicles are the second largest source of pollution in the city.
When Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “India is aiming to become a global hub of manufacturing electric vehicles (EV),” during the 2019-20 Budget presentation on 5 July, it became a beacon of light for environmentalists and nature-lovers across the country.
Furthermore, in a welcome gesture to encourage citizens to switch to eco-friendly vehicles, the government recently reduced GST on EVs to 5 per cent from 12 and announced an additional income tax exemption of Rs 1.5 lakh for buyers of EV.
Where the government is advocating electric mobility, even citizens are not far behind in not only making the switch but also inventing pollution-free vehicles including two and four-wheelers.
Joining the latest and much-needed push for environment-friendly cars and bikes is Smado Labs, a private limited company started by Midhun Sankar, Ashin AI and Jishnu P in Kochi, Kerala. The startup is based in Maker Village, India’s largest electronic incubator centre.
The trio always had a dream to create an environment-friendly product and during their brainstorming sessions, the word ‘e-bike’ popped up several times.
Once they had the idea in their head, the co-founders started to build an e-bike unique to the market. After three years of rigorous hardwork and multiple failures, the friends finally developed a one-of-its kind electronic bike this year in July.
The bike is foldable, easy to carry and can be taken anywhere from a metro station, car to an apartment.
Speaking to The Better India (TBI), Jishnu, Mechatronics Engineer and Chief Technical Officer of Smado says:
For most of us, cycling is one of the fondest memories of our childhood. As we grow up we switch to faster modes of commuting. While it does save time, it has severe environmental impacts that we do not realise. We wanted to build a cycle that can be used by all age groups, is faster and most importantly does not cause air pollution. The trend of cycling needs to come back.
Electric cars and motorcycles require services from time to time and they come along with infrastructures like charging stations and provisions to manufacture the vehicles and batteries. The bike we have developed does not require any service or charging stations. Once the bike runs out of battery it can be charged at home, says Midhun, a Software Engineer and CEO of the company.
Christened as ‘Tezlaa’, the startup offers two models – Alpha-1 (Rs 49,500) and Alpha-1 Pro (Rs 69,500) and both can be charged in two hours. At one time charge, the former covers a distance of 50 kilometres and the latter covers 100 kilometres. The portable batteries of the e-bike are made of aluminium and alloy frame and can be removed from the bike for charging purposes. The aluminium allows the bike to ride even in rains.
The best part about the e-bike is that it is designed in a way that can be used by all genders and age groups as the seat is adjustable and the bike can be used in three forms:
- The pedal riding works like a normal cycle and does not require battery
- In the assist riding, the user has to pedal a little and for the rest, the cycle will assist
- Electric riding works like a motorcycle.
The startup sold more than 50 e-bikes two weeks into the launch and currently, the trio is getting hundreds of calls everyday for orders. Such news makes one believe that people are becoming more environmentally-aware. It would require conscious efforts from us all to make lifestyle changes that would help our planet breathe.
Check out these 5 startups manufacturing e-bikes here.
All images are sourced from Smado Labs.