In a little over a decade, it would have bridged the 125-year lead that internal combustion engine (ICE) two-wheelers running on petrol have had in the market. The industry growth chart for the past decade tells the story. India is still to be a part of the phenomenal growth story scripted by China almost single-handedly.
In 1998, China commenced mass-producing electric bikes indigenously with 56,000 units made by a dozen producers. The world that year produced 42 million motorbikes, almost all fuelled by fossil fuels. By 2010, China had 2,000-odd manufacturers producing 30 million units a year to feed a rapidly-growing annual global market of $12 billion.
Unlike other export-oriented industries, China consumes 80% of its own production. It has over 150 million electric two-wheelers on the road while Europe, with 18 million units, comes a distant second. India, with 2,00,000 vehicles produced, is low down on the list. Hero Motors, Bajaj Auto, Lohia Machines and TVS, all big global two-wheeler brands, have missed a trick.
In 2010, the world produced 60 million motorbikes that ran on fossil fuel and 32 million electric and hybrid two-wheelers. With a near average yearly growth of 20%, electric-powered units will close the gap by 2015, both producing 70 million units individually.
The world’s five largest motorcycle markets are China, India, Indonesia, Brazil and Vietnam, which together have three billion people who need low-cost, eco-friendly vehicles for daily commutes that do not guzzle expensive fossil fuels. Other emerging economies will soon latch on to the China growth story. Also, it is only a matter of time before solar batterries replace lead-acid, lanthanum and lithium ion ones.
“In China, electric bicycles have a moderating influence on the use of cars,” confirmed advocacy group The Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities to The New York Times. As a result, there are five times more electric bikes on China’s roads than cars.
Most of these are low-powered units of 200 watts fitted with reusable lead acid batteries, typically costing RMB 2,400 yuan (less than $400), the average monthly pay of a Chinese worker. They are no-frills utility vehicles chugging steadily at 20 km an hour.
The workforce typically travels 50 km a day on single charge usually from home to workplace, and are said to save 150 million worker hours each day. By contrast, the US bike market is 82% for recreation with low average bike runs of 1,000 miles per year, against 12,000 miles per year driven by the American car user.
China’s 863 Programme
As per a recent UN iCET report, The Innovation Centre for Energy and Transport, China’s policy initiatives started with its State High-Tech Development Plan in 1986.
China was still poor, changing slowly from Mao-style communism to Deng-style market economics. Among the seven technology sector plans identified by Wang Ganchang and his team of engineers and endorsed by Deng Xiaoping was the energy plan that included the 863 Electric Drive Fuel Cell Vehicle Project.
Why Singapore needs to seriously consider the Electric Bike
Technologies has greatly improved the capacity of Battery operated Electric Bikes and the distance travelled which is suitable for a small country like Singapore, is cheap to produce and is environmentally friendly. The conversion of petrol stations with charging facilities will give rise to widespread use of electric cars and bikes, how many people realise the benefits of widespread use instead of relying on petrol driven cars and bikes, which can be as common as the bicycle.
Transport minister, are you sleeping on your job, just by relying on public transport of MRT, buses and taxis is not practical at times, you need to discourage the ownership of cars but not electric bikes. If you want to increase the flourishing of businesses, you should bring the cost of transportation of good vehicles and the availability of commercial space and offices down.
– Contributed by Oogle.