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Wednesday, Nov 22, 2006

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Ultra Motors plans electric 3-wheeler venture

Neha Kaushik

New Delhi , Nov. 21

UK-based Ultra Motors, which is all set to roll out electric bikes in India in a tie-up with the Hero Group starting January, now plans to enter the electric three-wheelers and higher-powered two-wheelers category as well.

"We will be investing towards entering these new categories and would be looking to tap this segment by the middle of next year," Mr Deba Ghoshal, Director - Marketing, Ultra Motors said.

The company plans similar alliances for these categories as the one it has with Hero Motors for the electric bikes.

In the meantime, the Ultra Motors-Hero Group alliance has charted out aggressive plans for its foray into the electric bikes segment.

Ultra Motors is providing the electric kits to Hero, which will assemble the bikes at its manufacturing plant after adding the necessary mechanicals and plastics.

"We will be setting up about 100 outlets for sales, with 46-47 outlets in the first six months. We will start with North India and aim to be present in 16-17 towns across the country by the end of the year," Mr Ghoshal said.

The company hopes to sell about one lakh bikes, priced between Rs 13,000 and Rs 24,000, in the first year itself.

Interestingly, Ultra expects a bulk of its sales to come from the institutional segment, especially courier services and office complexes.

It is also looking at roping in electric battery manufacturers to set up charging stations for consumers.

Currently about 10 electric bike brands are available in the country, with Electrotherm in Gujarat and Ace Motors in Pune being the major manufacturers. Both firms have launched electric two-wheelers in their respective markets by importing the battery kits and assembling the final product.

The electric vehicle technology has already found acceptance in the three-wheeler space in India with a number of players announcing their entry. Internationally, while electric cars have found a higher degree of acceptance, in India the only player present in the category is the Bangalore-based Reva.

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