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Delivery of crowd-funded e-bike Spero starts this month

Virendra Pandit Ahmedabad | Updated on January 16, 2018

Spero

Milltex Engineers to double plant capacity by April

Delivery of India’s first crowd-funded eco-friendly battery-run bicycle Spero will begin this month.

Coimbatore-based jute machinery producer Milltex Engineers Pvt Ltd had launched the vehicle as a cross between a bicycle and an electric bike,

During its first round of funding campaign in July, Milltex had mopped up Rs 38.65 lakh from pre-booking of 105 e-bicycles on crowd funding platform FuelADream.com. The company had targeted to raise Rs 30 lakh. In the second round launched recently, it has raised nearly Rs 13 lakh, 84 per cent of the goal of Rs 15 lakh, with 17 days still left. In the first campaign, many people contributed a token Rs 100 on the platform just to promote an innovation.

These e-bikes come with a price tag of Rs.30,000 to Rs.48,000 apiece, as against the e-2-wheelers of the last decade which could not take off due to higher prices and heavy batteries. Also, a fall in fuel prices pushed buyers back to petrol-run vehicles.

The prices are about 40 per cent lower than the imported ones with the same specifications.

Capacity

“We would be expanding capacity from 250 e-bikes a month to about 600-800 a month by April 2017,” S. Manikandan, Managing Director, told BusinessLine.

The 38-year-old technocrat, who worked on this project for nearly three years, said he has so far invested about Rs 1 crore on the plant. Crowd-funding is providing him working capital and he expects more investments for expansion of capacity soon.

He said, so far, he was relying on the crowd-funding model for marketing his unconventional product but was not averse to appointing dealerships in the future. “We are also appointing six to eight technical support hands in cities like Delhi, Bengaluru and Pune for providing any operational and maintenance assistance to those who have booked the e-bikes.”

Manikandan said the Government’s Smart City Mission is expected to boost the use of e-bikes as these cities will have dedicated bicycle tracks. These innovative e-bikes are equipped with a new 48-volt Samsung detachable Lithium-ion battery that charges 20-80% in 4-6 hours. Unlike the heavy lead acid batteries weighing 8-12 kgs, used in the last decade’s e-scooters, the new batteries weigh only up to 4.3 kg in a vehicle weighing up to 26 kg. The lead acid batteries often weighed about 25 per cent of the total weight of the e-bike, took up to 10 hours to charge, and were not fit for potholed Indian road conditions. “In a couple of years, we would introduce batteries with a charging time reduced to half.”

Features

Equipped with five speed digital gears, Spero will come in three models that would have a range of 30-100 km, at just 10 paisa per km, on a single charge and a maximum speed of 25 km per hour, achievable in 10 seconds. The e-bike will also have pedals for exercise and for recharging, and will need neither a driving license nor any insurance.

Ranganath Thota, Founder-CEO of the Bengaluru-based FuelADream.com, a crowd-funding marketplace for people and organizations promoting innovations launched in April 2016, said the global crowd-funding market is currently worth $34 billion and is set to grow. “We have run nearly 40 campaigns and raised Rs.1.3 crore so far. We charge 9 per cent of returns as our fee whereas the balance 91 per cent goes to the campaigner.”

Published on September 06, 2016

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