Seven months ago Goa, India’s smallest state, launched the country’s first electric vehicle tourism initiative to little fanfare. However, some 1,500 tours have already been booked and the EV model has been replicated in Puducherry and Gujarat, with Karnataka and Punjab tying loose ends for their own launches soon.
In November, Arcis Tours Pvt Ltd – which bills itself as an India electric vehicle tourism pioneer – partnered with the Goa Tourism Development Corporation to establish the country’s first EV tourism infrastructure. Called B: Live, the initiative offers tours on electric bikes equipped with GPS trackers and battery-powered motors for speeds up to 25kmh as well as electronic disc brakes for enhanced safety.
‘E hubs’ fashioned from recycled shipping containers serve as charging points and tourist centers and are solar powered, eco-friendly facilities offering free Wi-Fi, tourist services and insider guides to Goa.
A big hit
“B: Live tours have received a great response from both foreign and national tourists,” Nikhil Desai, managing director of the Goa Tourism Development Corporation told pv magazine. “It gets about 60% domestic and 40% international tourists. They have been voted as #2 in outdoor activities in Goa by TripAdvisor. B: Live tours have also gained popularity amongst corporates for team outbounds and employee engagement activities.
“B: Live is looking at setting up 10 new e-hubs in Goa. Currently, the charging hubs have both solar and grid power. The e-Bikes consume minimal power – 0.12 kWh per charge, hence the model is sustainable.”
Sandeep Mukherjee, chief operating officer and co-founder of Arcis Tours agreed. “The e-bikes are state-of-the-art,” he said, “delivering 50 km range per charge with digital screens for multi-info display and come with an accelerator and pedal assist mode for effortless riding. Our command center monitors the riders through GPS trackers embedded on the bikes. This makes B:Live not only the cleanest but also the smartest tour in the country.”