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Interview with Raghu – Co-Founder of Toutche Electric

Electric bicycles has turned out to be a ground-breaking invention that is changing the market rapidly. As people realise the significance of efficient transportation, E – bikes are making a huge roar.

Toutche is one of those brands who will surely turn heads on Indian road. To bring you more insights on the companies inception, bikes and more, we got in touch with one of the Cofounders – Raghu

Let’s see what he has to say about the Brand Toutche and it’s Heileo series (M100, M200, H200). He also enlightens us with the development of Electric bicycle market in India. Read on.

Please note | Electric Bicycles referred to as Electric Bikes or e-Bikes synonymously, throughout this interview.

What made you want to start an electric bicycle brand in India?

India has a population density of 412/Km2, ranking 28th is the world. Add the rate of urbanisation in India, and it is very clear that efficient usage of space is going to be vital for mobility to be sustainable. We know that Electrification, Shared Mobility and Autonomous vehicles are shaping the future of urban mobility, world over. In addition to these, we believe a mix of smaller forms (2-wheels) of mobility and mass-rapid-transit systems will be key to building an efficient personal transport system in India. 

Our mission is to build best-in-class Electric 2-wheelers and Electric Bicycles bring an added dimension of active lifestyle, which is very close to our heart.

 

Tell us something about the brand, Toutche?

The brand Toutche, personifies the (forward thinking) belief, ideology and responsibility of today’s generation towards itself and the environment around. The brand signifies the unwavering desire to be the best one can be and will strive to deliver continuous innovation and a high quality experience.

 

What’s the story behind the name?

We believe in connecting deeply with our customers, employees, partners and everyone who we engage with. The word Toutche is another way to spell “touch”, a key sense signifying “connection”.

 

According to you, what is the market outlook for electric bicycles in India?

Electric 2-wheelers will be a massive market in India and that will include many forms. Electric bicycles will be a key part of this market and we see big space for them. The product is very new to Indian market, and it will take a bit of time for people to get a feel for it. However, the adoption after

will be exponential. We believe that by the end of 2022, the e-bike market will be over 5-lac units per annum.

 

What makes your electric bikes so special as compared to the others?

Our Heileo range of electric bikes have got what it takes to be the best in terms of design, build quality and riding experience. When you see the frames, how the battery integrates into the frame, the decals, you will see the attention to detail and thought we have put, in our pursuit to deliver the best electric bicycles in the Indian market.

 

So you have electric bicycles for off-roading and city riding? Tell us more about them!

As I mentioned earlier, our aim is to build bikes that address commuting and activity-oriented needs of our customers. Some may like to use them purely for commuting purposes whereas others would like to do more. Hence, we have 2 styles in Heileo to cater to specific needs of our customers – Mountain style (M100, M200) offers the versatile ability to off-road and Hybrid style (H200) is more of a city commuter bike. 

 

What are you currently working on, to better your bicycles?

We are continuously working on bettering the battery technology (making it lighter, more efficient, faster charging), engineering frames (with better quality parts) and building intelligence to offer superior ride quality. There is so much more we are looking to do, but it all needs to happen in stages. One thing I can say confidently, you can look forward to many exciting things in our bikes, over the coming months and years. 

 

Where can one buy the Heileo electric bicycles in India?

Currently, Heileo electric bikes are available online on the Toutche web-store. We will also have physical locations in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Cochin and Mumbai shortly.

 

Was there any aspect(s) of the bicycle design and manufacturing that you found challenging?

We at Toutche are very particular about ride quality and aesthetics of our Heileo electric bicycles. It was hence very important to get the design right, in our eyes. We all know that one can roll out very good designs for regular bicycles. However, with electric bicycles, one needs to be take care of how battery and motor integrate into the design seamlessly (if aesthetics are important for the brand).

Getting the motor positioning is quite easy, but many have not been able to get the battery to integrate well into the bike design. That is where we spent a lot of time, to have the battery be an integral part of the design (given we wanted a detachable battery design).

The frame design hence was challenging to get the right balance between keeping manufacturing cost reasonable, and achieve superior handling and ride quality.  

 

Any misconceptions about electric bicycles that you would like to clear?

The electric bicycles are very new to the Indian market (and even in many markets world over) so there are some misconceptions primarily due to lack of awareness and experience I would say. It is an evolving product concept however, some of the common perceptions or misconceptions that may not be valid anymore are –

  1. Electric bikes are for the lazy and not for the real bicycling enthusiasts – This is one misconception that I do want to clarify. If one chooses a good quality electric bicycle, a good biking enthusiast can benefit so much from it. They can go beyond their usual limits and achieve more, do things that previously weren’t possible with a regular bicycle
  2. Electric bicycles are heavy and don’t look great – There’s a lot of work certain brands are putting in, to make aesthetically good looking electric bikes that are not very heavy and handle well
  3. Electric bikes don’t offer any health benefits – There have been several studies undertaken that clearly conclude, e-cycling elicits activity at an intensity high enough to promote some positive health outcomes and can lead to increases in cardiorespiratory fitness
  4. Electric bicycles do not deliver a consistently good riding experience – This was true in the past but most brands are getting better in this regard. The key here is to provide a well programmed and securely housed controller amongst other things (a good quality battery and motor are a must)

Toutche in the next 10 years? Where do you see yourself?

10 years is too far out in today’s world. We would like to take one-step at a time, and get better after each. Over the next 1-2 years, as the electric bicycle market in India takes shape, our goal is to see Heileo regarded as the best electric bicycle in the Indian market. We need to work very hard to get there given there are a few good quality start-ups and some well-established brands that are aiming for the same goal post.

 

Raghu. K

Cofounder & CEO

Alumni of NIT Warangal & IIM Bangalore, and 19+ years of experience in Tech industry

Written By

Abhishek Tarfe is a Certified Bike Mechanic from Park Tool School. He enjoys teaching people how to cycle and loves going on multi-day tours. Besides, he loves dogs and coffee. Follow his madness on Instagram

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