Gritty teen makes own e-bike, proves sceptics wrong

Karthik with his e-bike.

Karthik was studying in class ten when a thrilling idea had struck him abruptly. He had decided to build an e – bike, all by himself. Those who heard about his wish dismissed it as a mere childish dream. Even his parents, who did tailoring jobs to earn their livelihood, discouraged their son, thinking about the huge expenses that may incur. When Karthik went to an electronic shop to buy an electric motor for his bike, the shopkeeper ‘mocked’ the youngster by getting him a small motor which is usually installed in toys. However, none of these made Karthik give up on his dream. In fact, it had made him more determined and passionate.

Exactly a year later, when he was a plus one student, Karthik had proved everyone wrong by taking a ride around in the electric bike that he built. Karthik Suresh, a native of Piravam, near Kottayam, Kerala, turns 18 in a few months. However, his passion for inventing new and exciting things is beyond his age. The youngster has shown a unique zeal for knowing and building electrical and electronic objects, since childhood. He is often surrounded by electronic objects or wires, building something new or repairing the broken ones.

Karthik says he had decided to make an electric bike, on his own, as he didn’t have the heart to ask his parents, who struggled to make the two ends meets, to buy him one which costs around Rs 70,000.

Like it had been for many, the good old internet was Karthik’s ‘instructor’ in building an electric bike. After making a list of all the things that he needed to make the bike, Karthik calculated that it would cost him around Rs 14,000 to build the e – bike. As a first step, he purchased an old bicycle from a scrap shop using the money that he had been saving for some time. Though he had run out of funds, Karthik was unwilling to give up that easily. He sought his physics teacher’s help to arrange a small amount of money, which Karthik says was the main capital investment.

Karthik built his e – bike by attaching a regular bicycle with a 250 watts motor, 12 watt lead acid battery and a voltage booster chip. Charged for an hour, his e – bike can easily cover a distance of at least 10 kilometers. Karthik had exhibited his super cool invention for the first time at his school itself.

Later, the teenager won exciting prizes presenting his e – bike at the festival held at the Rajagiri School of Engineering and Technology and the prestigious Dhishna tech fest of CUSAT. His invention grabbed attention at the recent Evolve automobile exhibition held at Kochi. Many e – automobile experts who took part in the exhibition had offered to provide him the technical know - how to help him continue with his inventions and experiments.

Karthik had recently visited the IIT in Madras expressing his wish for an upgraded lithium ion battery to replace the lead acid battery that he uses in his bike. He even got the chance to share his ideas with the instructors and researchers at the premiere institute who are experts in this field.

Karthik proudly says though it has been a year since he built his e – bike, it hasn’t had any major breakdown incidents or complaints. He believes e – bikes could be made available on affordable rates for the commoners, if he could build it on an industrial basis. The youngster continues his ‘little’ experiments and inventions, hoping to enroll for mechatronics engineering, a multidisciplinary branch of engineering that focuses on both electrical and mechanical systems. Karthik is determined and confident to pursue his dreams and surprise the world with his superb innovations.

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