A peek at India’s oldest electric scooter – Yo Bike

It was fascinating to see a compact-looking, almost toy-like two-wheeler, without any noise, roaming around (slow and) steadily on the Indian streets, back in the 2000s. The Yo Bike. As catchy as the name was, the Yo Bike (actual – Yo Byke) certainly grabbed attention back then for being one of the first electric two-wheelers in the Indian market. This article is a peek at this iconic bike, which is still being sold in the Indian markets, making it the oldest e-scooter brand in India.

A quick dive into the company’s history:

Yo Bike (Yo Byke) was introduced in India way back in 2005. It was launched by an Indian company based out of Gujarat, called Electotherm India Limited – primarily an engineering and consulting company with a presence in industries such as steel, foundries, and heat treatment. The company continues to be the owner and manufacturer of Yo Bikes even today.

Yo Bike (Yo Byke) Electric Overview:

Yo bike electric scooter was launched at a price range of INR 14,000 to INR 23,000, which was cheaper than the fuel-based two-wheelers in the market then. It came in seven different models of different colors and feature sets. The Yo Bike was capable of riding up to 50 km in a single charge with a top speed of 25 kmph. It could carry a combined passenger weight of up to only 75 kg. The battery pack came with a lifespan of around two and a half years.

Yo Bike Electric Scooter – What clicked and what didn’t

Price: From a price point of view, the Yo Bike scooter definitely clicked well in the Indian market. A low-cost electric scooter that could save you from the rising fuel prices, was a boon. 

Performance: From a specification point of view, yes, the Yo Bike didn’t offer much. 25 kmph just wasn’t enough for a normal day-to-day ride, even in 2006. That, with a limit on the maximum load it could carry, was a downside for many potential customers. 

RTO registration: A brighter side of having a low top speed was that the Yo Bike didn’t require RTO registration or a number plate., or a driving license. That further reduced some ownership costs, along with the hassles that came along with the formal processes.
Ownership Costs: Being all-electric freed the Yo bike from the usual engine-gear-clutch setup. Hence, along with savings on fuel, customers could also save a lot on the daily maintenance of the scooter. Overall, as claimed by the manufacturer, the Yo bike would cost merely INR 15 paise per one km traveled.

Post the first launch:

The Yo bike sold pretty well in the market due to the various differentiators it came with. Riding on the success of the first mode, Electotherm went ahead and launched improved versions of the Yo Bike electric scooter, with more battery capacity and performance. Today, the company claims to have over one lakh customers, emerging as the largest selling e-scooter brand in India till-date. The active models today are the Yo Edge DX and Yo Drift DX that have improved designs and features. Surprisingly, the top speed still remains at  25 kmph, probably a strategy to keep the vehicle off the registration and license-related processes.

Lower price, cheaper maintenance, and increased safety (due to low power of course) made the Yo Bike ideal for children, the elderly, and people who looked at limited intra-city travel. 

New age versions of the Yo Bike electric scooters continue to run on the Indian streets today, with multiple variants for different needs. With manufacturers jumping into the e-scooter category with new technologies and designs, it is to see how the Yo Bike fares in the market in the future.