INTERVIEW: One of India's oldest bicycle makers wants to make electric bikes for the world

Rohit Gothi, CEO, Hero Cycles
  • In conversation with Business Insider, Rohit Gothi, CEO, Hero Cycles said the company is betting big on e-bikes.
  • Hero launched Lectro – its electric bikes – in a pilot phase last year, it has also come up with an upgraded version Lectro+.
India’s electric vehicle revolution is now powered by one of India’s biggest legacy companies – Hero Cycles. Cycles in India are synonymous with the brand Hero Cycles and now, the company has added to its portfolio – e-bikes.

Having been in the business since 1956, the company finally made the move to e-bikes and the CEO of Hero Cycles Rohit Gothi believes that e-bikes will grow faster than electric cars or scooters in India.

Hero has ambitious goals to have a significant share in the global cycles market. In India, the company had reported a 15% year-on-year growth for FY19, having sold 31 million units.

Hero launched Lectro – its electric bikes – in a pilot phase last year, it has also come up with an upgraded version Lectro+. Gothi said that the response has been encouraging and they have also started commercially selling the e-bikes. The multi-speed geared variant of the e-bike has been launched at a price of ₹26,999 while the gearless one will come at ₹18,999.

“The best part about e-bikes is that from the cost of maintenance perspective they are fairly cheap, unlike other e-initiatives like car or scooter. They don’t need large scale charging infrastructure so we can really scale up soon,” said Gothi.

Reports about Hero Cycles looking to expand its operations to Europe have also been doing the rounds. And Gothi said that it’s not just Europe but their vision is to move to the world. “In order to have a global presence, you need good manufacturing capabilities. We already have a company in Europe called Avocet and we are seriously contemplating various options in the US and UK,” he said.

Another growing trend in India are bike rental startups with startups like Mobycy, Cykul (acquired by Dr Reddys). While bike rental has gained popularity, there have also been a few misses. Chinese bike rental startup Ofo which had made an India entry had to withdraw its business from the country.

“We have a sister company – Hexi – which is in the public bicycle sharing space. We have 4,000 cycles running on the road and campuses specifically Punjab Agriculture University. We have our hands on everything and anything that is related to micro mobility,” said Gothi.

See Also:
The grandson of India’s most famous ‘bicycle maker’ is selling AI at CES 2019
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