Rahil Rupawala, Founder and Director at LightSpeed Mobility is a passionate cyclist and engineer, with a vision to build a cleaner, greener India that is healthier and more active. After securing his post-graduate degree in Design & Transport from Coventry University, Rahil moved back to his hometown Ahmedabad, and started thinking of ways to introduce to the country, practical commute options that run on alternative energy.
Rahil’s design philosophy is pro-environment and highly functional, with great emphasis on sustainability and inclusive growth. Having used electric bicycles for personal commute for a long time during his post-graduation, Rahil knew that this was the vehicle segment he wanted to introduce to India’s metros and semi urban areas.
- Could you tell our readers about what Alternative Mobility Solutions are?
The existing mobility solutions are internal combustion engined powered vehicles, like the scooters and motorcycles. These are now being electrified where the power source becomes the battery but in principle they are fundamentally similar to existing vehicles available. With advancement of technology a new form of mobility that combines the benefit of a low tech bicycle and gives the affordance and utility of a motorcycle is what we define as an alternate mobility solution. The best example of it is the modern electric bicycle. That electric bicycle runs in three ways 1. As a human powered machine through pedalling. 2. As a motorised vehicle through its twist throttle. 3 As a motor assist bicycle with its innovative pedal assist technology. Electric bicycle are the foremost option in the alternative mobility sector.
- What impact has this industry made on our country’s economy?
These electric bicycles have a double impact on the economy, they help mitigate our dependency on imported fossil fuel and decrease our consumption of the same. These electric bicycles are manufactured in India with a high level of localisation of components. This helps us reduce our dependencies on imported components and also gives employment to more people.
- How has the response for Alternative Mobility Solutions been so far?
Over the past few years there has been a significant increase in the adaption of these alternate mobility solutions like electric bicycles. People from all walks of life have switched to the environment friendly and cost effective mode of transport. We have customers in all major metros but at the same time have also people from remote and far flung areas of India using these bicycles on a daily basis. Senior citizens use it for daily exercise whereas many housewives use it to run errands, School children commute to tuition and school on our bicycle. Young professionals enjoy commuting to work and taking leisure adventure rides on these bicycles on weekends. We also have many food delivery partners using to deliver orders on electric bicycles. The usage adoption is endless and now we are seeing our customers coming back and ordering more bicycles for different members of their family. among all forms of mobility at present alternative mobility solutions will see the highest growth in the next decade.
- What role has AI played in revolutionizing this industry sector?
The performance and efficiency of the vehicle will highly improve once enough data is generated and analysed. The performance increase is achieved by giving power boost at appropriate intervals to increase the speed and maintain higher speed that can be manually achieved. The battery range increases with the correct use of data and optimising the BMS for the same. AI will help decrease the running cost of the vehicle even further. AI helps in predicting and analysis problems that develop on these bicycles. The use of AI at present is very nascent but with increasing adoption and advancement in AI and hardware technology the benefits and scope of the same if infinite.
- What are the trends to look out for in 2021 that will disrupt the Alternative Mobility Solutions Sector?
The biggest benefit of alternative mobility solutions like electric bicycles is the ability to be designed for various usage and for a specific demographic. The pandemic has made all of us more health conscious and more people are looking forward to commuting to work in a more healthy and environment friendly way. We see a huge adoption spike for the year 2021 when eventually people will start returning to work in offices. The rising health awareness and the accelerated electric mobility adaptation seen last year make 2021 all the more exciting for the alternative mobility sector. We foresee a 200% rise in sale for the coming year