A Chennai-based start-up has created India’s first crossover electric bike, Volta Zap. It is not just a cycle, but can automatically operate like a moped at the touch of a button.
“We are targeting youngsters — school and college-going kids as well as office-goers. Those of us born in the 1980s will have an emotional connect with the product. Many of us cycled to school and eventually graduated to a borrowed moped,” says 28-year-old Anoop Nishanth, who worked for five years with a leading two wheeler manufacturer after finishing a course in automotive design. “I always wanted to start something of my own. I felt that there was scope for an electric bike. Also, cycling is associated with sport and fitness now. I wanted to design something to bridge the gap,” he says.
Volta Zap has the platform of a bicycle and the design of a moped. “It has three options. Pure Accelerator, when the vehicles runs on the battery, where the rider just has to press a button and the cycle accelerates. Here, the user has three levels of speed and the maximum he or she can reach is 25 km. The second option is where the rider can pedal like a regular bicycle, and the third is the pedal assist. Here the machine senses the movements of the rider. For instance, if he or she is riding uphill, it will automatically assist to move upwards,” he explains.
To enthuse office-goers, “We have a box frame that allows people to easily insert and remove the battery. Once they reach the office, they can take it out and charge it. It can also be used as a power bank for charging cell phones. There are LED reflectors placed on the bike and a panel to keep water bottles and laptop cases,” says Anoop.
True to the ‘Make in India’ campaign, every part of the machine is built in Indian except for the motor. However, investment is a concern. “Well-wishers have helped us so far and we have taken loans for manufacturing the first set of cycles. We have been running from pillar to post for investment as we have bigger plans ahead. We are planning to price it between Rs 30,000-35,000.”