Start-ups riding the futuristic EV wave
While the spotlight may be firmly on India’s largest automobile manufacturers during the ongoing Auto Expo, electric vehicle (EV) start-ups have ramped up their participation in the nascent EV ecosystem. The expo this year has witnessed 18 start-ups unveiling EV and other green mobility solutions, even as industry leaders begin launching their own EV bets in an effort to gain a foothold in a segment that is likely to become dominant in the years to come.
One such start-up is Gurugram-based Evolet India, which made its debut at the expo with the launch of an entire range of EV products — including sports bike ‘Hawk’, scooter ‘Raptor’, off-roader ‘Warrior’, and ‘Dhanno’, a moped. It already sells e-scooters Polo, Pony and Derby. The company also sells commercial segment EVs including e-autos, which were showcased at the expo.
Other EV start-ups at the expo are Pune-based Everve Motors, New Delhi-based M2go Electric Vehicle, Bengaluru-based ONB Technologies India, Odisha-based Omjay EV, Goa-based Kabira Mobility, Hyderabad-based Charjet E-Mobility, and Tamil Nadu-based Raptee Energy.
However, they are not alone. PURE EV, an Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad-incubated start-up, is in the process of launching a high-speed motorcycle with battery swapping technology in early 2020.
One Electric, a Noida-based EV company, has announced the launch of their high-speed electric motorcycle, KRIDN. According to One Electric, the motorcycle has been under development over the past two years, and has been designed specifically for the demanding Indian roads. This motorcycle is planned to be launched in Delhi-NCR by March 2020, followed by Pune, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai.
While traditional players have thought long and hard about investing in new technologies, experts say these start-ups are ambitious, ready to invest in future, and are introducing new technology and designs.
Two fledgling automobile manufacturers need special mention: Ather Energy and Torks Motor. Ather, which manufactures high-tech electric motorcycles, has a current production capacity of 30,000 units per year and is expecting to reach full capacity utilisation by early 2022. The potential in the space even prompted Flipkart’s co-founder Sachin Bansal to invest over $32 million in Ather Energy. The company is already backed by Innoven Capital and Tiger Global, besides an investment from India’s largest two-wheeler maker, Hero MotoCorp Ltd.
Pune-based Tork Motors, meanwhile, has already raised funds from Bharat Forge, Ola founder Bhavish Aggarwal and Tata group patriarch Ratan Tata. The company is currently working on the Tork T6X electric bike for India, and is planning to launch the model soon.
Recognising the potential in the EV space, auto major Maruti Suzuki has also tied up with nine start-ups in the segment.
The electric three-wheeler segment, which is largely unorganised and currently dominated by imports from China, is estimated at over 6,00,000 units in 2018-19.