Sales of induction cookers, electric bikes pick up
The steady hike in fuel prices over the years has led to an increase in alternatives that run on electricity and are commercially available to consumers. But, substitutes such as induction cookers and electric vehicles, however, continue to be purchased only for “convenience.”
A.Gowri, product promoter of an appliance company, says: “People buy induction cookers because of the time it takes for cylinders to be delivered.” Software engineer N.Sajith agrees. “I purchased an induction cooker as an emergency option as I didn't have an extra gas cylinder,” he says.
Since he got his gas connection, he has noticed that the cylinder lasts longer as he uses both options. However, HR professional Smitha Nishanth feels it is sometimes better to use a gas stove.
Induction cookers are energy efficient as the heat is conducted magnetically to the cooking pan and is not wasted. However, some technicalities for the heating process to be more effective are not explained to users. Only steel or iron vessels with a flat base can be used and the vessel should be placed on the circle indicating the heating pad.
Many users pay little attention to the savings they make on the energy consumption or do not see a significant difference. “I have never really checked my electricity bill to see if I have saved on electricity,” says Mr.Sajith. But, induction cookers are not substituting gas stoves. “Both gas stoves and inductions are in equal demand,” says Ms.Gowri.
The two-wheeler market is another segment where customers are showing interest in exploring energy-efficient alternatives. In the last couple of years, several electric bike models have entered the market. They are available with motor power ranging from 250 watts to 800 watts. If charged for six to seven hours, these vehicles can provide a mileage of 60 to 70 km. The basic models do not require registration or insurance cover either.
Ram Kumar of Chooliamedu says, “I have a car which I take to work. All I need is a two-wheeler to go shopping near my house. I'm seriously thinking of buying an electric bike.”
At a shop in Anna Nagar, salesperson Gopi says the clientele for electric bikes is gradually increasing. “After booking, there is a waiting period of 30 days,” he adds.
These battery-operated vehicles can be accelerated up to a speed of 25 km/hour. Only the 800 watt vehicle can touch 45 km/hour.
Businessman J. Venkataramani feels battery-operated vehicles are an eco-friendly option. “I have been driving a Reva car for the last five years and I'm thoroughly satisfied with its performance. However, though cost-efficient, it is expensive as batteries need to be changed every three years.”.