Locally assembled e-bikes hit market

Published July 13, 2021
This photo shows Jolta Electric's JE-70D e-bike. — Photo courtesy Jolta Electric website
This photo shows Jolta Electric's JE-70D e-bike. — Photo courtesy Jolta Electric website

KARACHI: With most bike assemblers looking towards China for collaboration in the local assembly of electric bikes (e-bikes), a Punjab-based assembler claims to have introduced an indigenous model in the market that is also cheaper on the wallet.

“We have introduced the JE-70 e-bike with our indigenously developed technology. No foreign funding, no joint venture with the Chinese or any country in the world,” said Mohammad Usman Sheikh, the CEO of Jolta Electric, in a conversation with Dawn on Monday.

Last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan launched Jolta’s JE-70 model at a ceremony held in Islamabad. The locally developed e-bike is priced at Rs82,500 and has a maximum speed limit of 60 km per hour.

The government is reported to have received 17 applications from various investors for local assembly of e-bikes in Pakistan.

Without mentioning the total investment in the assembly line at Lahore’s Sundar Industrial Estate, the CEO said he could not tell how many e-bikes had been booked so far after the launching last week. “An overwhelming response was received from new buyers,” he said confidently.

Upbeat CEO says overwhelming response received from buyers

“Students, teachers and courier companies have shown their interest in the e-bike,” he said, adding that people in the interior of Sindh and Punjab are keen on the model given their movement of short distance of 15-20 km between towns and villages.

“The e-bike needs an overnight charging of 1.5 units at home which is sufficient for 80km ride. The bike will only cost Rs1,000 per month on consumers’ wallet as compared to Rs4,000-5,000 on petrol-driven 70cc bike. An e-bike owner will save at least Rs4,000 per month,” he added.

The plant is rolling out 1,000 e-bikes per month. The company intends to raise the production to 6,000 units per month by December, followed by 100,000 units per month in the next five years. “We are planning to bring in four more models in the production line this year. The company also has plans to unveil three-wheelers, loaders and heavy vehicles,” Mr Sheikh said.

Currently, dry EV battery is being used which costs around Rs20,000 and has a life span of 2.5 years. However, the company is planning to shift to lithium batteries in other locally-assembled models in the next three to four months which would cost more.

He said the government’s incentives like one per cent general sales tax and 1pc duty on electric specific parts have attracted a lot of interest among new investors. “However, if the same low-priced bike is imported despite duty and tax incentives, it would carry a price tag of Rs100,000 as compared to Rs82,500 of JE-70,” he summed up.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2021

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