The serious impact on ecosystems have led to other modes of transport that account for about 23% of the world's energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and 64% of global oil consumption which accounts for 27% of energy use.
“Sustainable transport contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions and atmospheric pollution, balancing our current and future needs for improved air quality. Changing our travel habits to an environmentally-friendly alternative at a low cost has many benefits,” asserts Sandeep Mukherjee, COO of BLive electronic cycles and bikes.
A graduate from Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development (SCMHRD) Business School, Pune, he has been associated, in Sales and Marketing, with brands like Nokia, Microsoft (Global), SABMiller, and has globally managed diverse marketing strategy, planning retail, consumer/channel marketing and building profitable businesses from scratch for the past 13 years.
While living in Europe, he noticed that people contributed to the reduction of pollution using electronically operated vehicles, which motivated him to implement the same in India. Inspired by a dream to make EVs accessible to all, he resigned from Microsoft, came to India and along with his friend, Samarth Kholkar, incepted BLive – India’s first experiential tourism on e-bikes, in Bangalore in 2018.
THE EV SCENE
Their aim to address the problems of living and travelling – surrounded by toxic gases – to a change in adapting an alternative travel mode, was solved by offering experiential tours on e-bikes. Ninety nine percent of the people in India had not ridden e-bikes. The biggest gap amongst consumers was the lack of experience and understanding of EVs. This was solved by offering experiential tours to create awareness, and also experience EVs.
In partnership with hotels chains IHCL, Club Mahindra, among others, within a year, the tours were a hit! Thousands of people got a chance to touch, feel and ride e-bikes, and those who joined the tours, soon began buying them for personal use.
“Our fulfilling and rewarding journey goes on. After signing a 20-year contract with the government of Goa, we moved to Goa, and also scaled it up to fifteen cities around India. We have tours everyday of the year, and recorded 30,000 tours between 2018 and 2020!” Sandeep stated.
The tours are tailor made for people looking for different experiences. They cover cultural aspects, colonial and Portuguese edifices, architecture, cuisines, music, wine tasting, silk worm farming in Mysore, coffee plantations in Coorg. Hinterland tours are on the anvil.
A captain conducts the tours which range from breakfast, lunch and evening tours. They procured 30,000 cloth backpacks (to generate revenue for an NGO in Pondicherry), gifting them to participants.
The cycles have a characteristic design, with disc brakes, racks, spoke-wheels, the handlebar throttle allows the motor to run without peddling. With the throttle on, the max you can get is 20 miles from a 6-8 lb battery in one hour, and peddling keeps the battery charged.
The biggest consideration, as a buyer, is to know how to take care of your battery pack. It’s optimisation continues to be researched. The lithium ions complicate recycling, and limit lifespan. Alternatives are being checked, based on sodium, fluoride or zinc-air ions.
Against all odds, the COVID lockdown turned out to be a boon for them. Leveraging on their experience in partnerships with EV brands, assisted by a highly motivated team, towards end of 2020, they launched India’s first online EV store, making it easy and fun to choose the right EV.
Their dream, of extending sustainable transport for intermediate distances at a lower cost, is becoming a reality, growing steadily across 46 cities, expanding their presence to 100 premium experiential multi-brand stores across India.
With a choice of over 20 brands listed on its platform, BLive offers an omni-channel experience to its buyers, ie charging infrastructure, other innovative products, door delivery, post sales service as well as easy finance options.
Trust and transparency are the cornerstones that make the BLive team a close-knit family. They have received accolades including ‘Startup of the Year’ and ‘Outlook Sustainability Leadership Award’ for pioneering adoption of sustainable mobility .
In conclusion, Sandeep asserts, “We have no competition, our mission is to encourage others into driving sustainability. Wheels keep on turning, spreading our wings far and wide, but our heart beats in Goa. We believe that immense ideas to empower people to challenge the status quo, can come from anywhere.”
About BLive’s e-bike tours
RATES: Starting from ₹ 1,000- ₹ 2,500
FOR BOOKINGS: +91 9148446264 (24 to 36 hour advance booking)