Hardly a powerhouse, his e-bike conquers tough Leh terrain
EVs are becoming the latest rage but there is a limit on how far you can go owing to battery capacity constraints. But not for the enthusiasts and adventurists, however. An alumnus of National Institute of Design (NID) rode an e-bike from Manali to Leh to test the boundaries of endurance of man and machine. The Manali-Leh highway is regarded as one of the toughest road routes in the world.
Abhishek Dwivedi, a 38-year-old social entrepreneur and an avid rider for decades, successfully finished his first 500 km ride in three days on an e-bike. Apparently, it's a record in itself for riding from Manali to Leh on an e-bike, making him the first person to ever do it.
This route offers all sorts of challenges that any motor enthusiast would like to test themselves on. Dwivedi said, "Since my days as a student in NID, I had always wished to help lessen damage to the environment.
Since EVs are much talked-about these days, yet their durability and toughness remains to be proven. I thought attempting the Manali-Leh ride, which is considered the toughest where mostly bikes of 350cc to 500cc power are used, should be done."
Dwivedi is co-founder of EVeez, an electric vehicle subscription service in Delhi-NCR which gives e-bikes on rent to delivery persons of all major hyperlocal or e-commerce companies. He knowingly chose to use the same bike for these tough terrains.
"I want more youth to start using e-bikes, irrespective of the company, to save the environment. However, considering their concerns this was the best way to prove the durability, toughness and most importantly the range concerns as well as the charging infra requirement."
Dwivedi studied strategic design management in NID and also did his graduation and schooling in Gujarat. "I have a special bond with the city and therefore I am in talks with many PSUs and other organisations to adopt e-bikes for their staff and citizens. This will reduce pollution levels and also be cost-effective for families," he said.
Extra batteries keep the trek going
The ride started on July 2. Since the e-bike ride was the first of its kind, Dwivedi had an accompanying car to carry extra batteries and other necessary equipment. He halted at Sarchu in the night and recharged his bike at Goldrop Tents. The next day, he crossed three passes and took a break at Rumste. On day three, he reached Leh and climbed Khardungla.
For preparations, he had to do only one thing - change his mind-set of riding a bike at 25kmph. His previous best on a conventional IC engine bike is 12 hours from Manali to Leh.
Commercial trips usually take 48 hours on these terrains, including the rest time.
"Lower oxygen levels and smaller tyres of the e-bike made you feel anxious, but that can be overcome if you prepare well." The e-bike he used was of 250w slow speed, with 60v40ah battery. Since the speed was 25kmph, the battery lasted for 2.5 or 3 hours. Later, it had to be changed because, typically, this charge lasted about 60-70 km in the hills.
Talking about the challenges, he said "There was only one challenge in our heads before we started the journey, 'where do we charge the battery?' The bike is otherwise apt for all kinds of terrains."
The locals they met on the way did take a few test rides of the e-bike and enquired about its availability in the hill regions.