Is Pakistan Ready For E-Bikes? A courageous minority are choosing electric motorcycles (E-bikes) to negotiate rising petrol prices and manage household expenses in the face of economic and political uncertainty. Let’s take a look at the e-bike environment and the challenges it faces in Pakistan.
The design of E-bikes in Pakistan may remind you of a modern Vespa, which was the initial cause for people’s preference for e-bikes. As a result, some subsequent models retain the original design of the decades-old 70cc fuel variant. Customers are discouraged since the design options are limited. In the biking community, the three major variables that make or break any bike model are price, durability, and appearance. The dearth of design options in e-bikes has prevented many purchasers from purchasing electric bikes.
E-Bikes and Affordability:
Consumers expect to save money on petrol with E-bikes, but they recognise that it will take time. Charging infrastructure, battery pricing, bike expenses, and power tariffs are all important elements influencing affordability. Many are playing a waiting game, awaiting the emergence of these critical aspects.
E-bike Speed Is Important:
E-bikes compete with the zippy 70-125cc petrol bikes popular among the youth, with speeds ranging from 35 to 70 km per hour. The trade-off between speed and environmental awareness becomes a crucial selling element. Many young customers are hesitant to invest in electric bikes because they are still striving to provide faster speeds.
Local E-bikes Assemblies:
Major businesses such as Road Prince are significantly investing in local manufacturing lines for E-bikes. The first locally produced E-bike is scheduled to be released in November 2023. According to the Engineering Development Board (EDB), six manufacturers are now assembling electric motorcycles, with an additional 31 new licences given. The national programme establishes aggressive targets for electric motorcycles, aiming for a 50% market share by 2030 and a whopping 90% by 2040.
Investigating why, despite appealing incentives, investments in the electric bike market have been sluggish, industry insiders disclose a difficult start for early entrants. These trailblazers unintentionally shook consumer confidence by encountering roadblocks such as quality concerns and an apparent lack of effective after-sales services. These growing pains appear to have hampered the first wave of investment in this promising sector.
Initiatives from the Government:
Despite the government’s rules and incentives, the delayed adoption of E-bikes is ascribed to quality issues. Furthermore, there is a shortage of after-sales services in the early stages. Infrastructure for charging remains an issue, necessitating coordination between the public and commercial sectors.
Problems and Solutions:
To increase E-bike adoption, stakeholders emphasise investing in charging infrastructure, leveraging existing petrol stations, and providing electricity subsidies. For a long-term shift, stable exchange rates, long-term finance arrangements, and localising the supply chain are critical. The lack of charging infrastructure is a major issue that the commercial and public sectors are working together to address.