Sat | Sep 30, 2023

Growth & Jobs | $100 million start-up aims to sell 250 e-bikes in first year

Published:Tuesday | November 2, 2021 | 12:08 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer
Electric bikes on display inside Ellesco Warehouse.
Electric bikes on display inside Ellesco Warehouse.
Peter Chung, operations manager at Ellesco Warehouse,  rides one of the pedal assist bikes at the facility.
Peter Chung, operations manager at Ellesco Warehouse, rides one of the pedal assist bikes at the facility.

Spurred by the mushrooming of fast-food delivery services amid surging demand during curfews, hotelier Lee Issa has seized on the coronavirus pandemic’s motorcycle boom to form a new company specialising in electric bikes and scooters.

Pitched as environmentally friendly vehicles, Ellesco also sells warehouse equipment from its Ferry, St Catherine, headquarters.

The $100-million start-up is a standalone entity with no strings attached to Issa’s flagship business, Couples Resorts, which operates four hotel properties locally.

Seeking to become the dominant supplier of e-bikes locally, Issa said Ellesco is aiming to sell at least 250 bikes and scooters in its first year of operation, hopefully hitting annual sales of 1,000 by year five.

With similar motorcycle prices ranging from J$50,000 to J$100,000 locally, depending on brand and CC rating, Issa is confident that the J$195,000 tag of Ellesco’s e-bikes will provide a competitive option for everyday bike enthusiasts and companies alike, wooed by the incentive of no fuel cost and less maintenance.

“Our e-bikes are pedal assist and comparative bikes sell for US$1,200 (J$180,000) to US$1,300 (J$195,000) on Amazon. Hence, we are very competitive for e-bikes at J$195,000. Moreover, these bikes and scooters attract no general consumption tax,” Issa told The Gleaner.


The Ellesco chairman said the technology used in its vehicles ensures affordability and durability.

“Instead of filling up a fuel tank, you simply charge your e-vehicle like you would charge your phone by plugging it into a power outlet. Ellesco vehicles draw very little current, so you don’t have to worry about your light bill soaring through the roof.

“E-vehicle owners can enjoy financial freedom knowing that the batteries last three to five years and the vehicles have less moving parts that require maintenance,” Issa said.

The e-bikes, with pedal assist, can travel 30-60 kilometres before needing to be charged, and e-scooters can travel 75-150 kilometres on lightweight lithium batteries.

“We have different models to suit different needs, plus a full range of original spare parts from the manufacturer located in China,” Issa said.

He is particularly enthused that Ellesco’s e-bikes, scooters, and warehouse equipment leave no carbon footprint.

“These e-bikes and scooters come with Bosch motors as well as Samsung and Greenway lithium batteries. The world is moving away from combustion engines and burning fossil fuels,” said the Ellesco chairman.

“We want to preserve Jamaica’s environment for many generations to come by lessening air pollution. Climate change is the biggest long-term threat to humans, so we have to do better for ourselves and our children now,” he added.

In addition to e-bikes and e-scooters, Ellesco’s electric warehouse equipment, such as pallet stacker trucks, is also available for viewing at its showroom.