Indian automobile startups

In 2010, when Raja Gayam turned into converting his father’s bus body building unit in Hyderabad into an autorickshaw production plant, he additionally determined to set up Gayam Motor Works (GMW) to fabricate electric-powered auto-rickshaws. His brother Rahul, who joined him in 2013, was then working inside the US’s clean power space. They desired to boost up the world’s transition in the direction of smart and sustainable mobility.

This became manner earlier than the Indian government introduced its policy to incentivize electric powered car (EV) shoppers in 2015 and Vision 2030—its plan to turn India 100 percentage electric using that yr. The Gayam brothers sensed a big marketplace in India, the sector’s 1/3 largest three-wheeler producer, and exporter. They set out to create a product and service that could conquer the EV ecosystem’s vast limitations: Lack of charging infrastructure, lengthy charging time, restrained battery variety, and unreliable power grids.

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“Gayam Motor Works is the producer of India’s first electric-powered three-wheelers powered by using lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries with a swapping system (Pune-based totally Kinetic Green Energy and Power Solutions Limited released its e-rickshaws, Kinetic Safar, with Li-ion batteries best final 12 months) and an e-cycle referred to as LIMITLESS,” says Sri Harsha Bavirisetty, chief operations officer at GMW. Using imported Li-ion batteries, it has advanced proprietary Li-ion battery era and clever Battery Management Systems (BMS) for e-mobility and charging points, he adds. Eight years on, the business enterprise exports its e-autorickshaws and e-cycles to fifteen international locations, including the USA, and markets in Africa, Asia, Central America, and Europe, apart from promoting them at domestic.

The firm basically caters to the remaining-mile connectivity phase. For its e-autos, it has clients like BigBasket, Amazon India, and Flipkart’s logistics arm e-kart (pilot segment in Hyderabad), at the same time as for its e-cycles, it has clients like UberEats in Singapore, Hong Kong, and San Francisco, in addition to Swiggy (pilot phase in Bengaluru) in India.

“Charging batteries at stations and swapping batteries within mins instead of anticipating them to rate for hours feels like a super way to defeat variety anxiety. In two to 3 minutes, a driver can drop off his discharged battery and have a 110 km variety to get returned on the road,” says Bavirisetty, adding that because they carrier B2B logistics, they use organization warehouses, where the motors are loaded and unloaded, like charging points and battery swapping bunkers.

GMW—wherein Raja, with his car production understanding, is CEO and Rahul, with his technical, historical past in EVs, is CTO—is now planning to construct infrastructure for the retail marketplace after a $15 million Series A investment spherical. It is also planning to get into motorcycle-sharing at hotels, resident regions, ports regions, and IT parks and talks with Microsoft, Adani, and Art of Living. Likewise, the Asian Development Bank is doing a technical evaluation with them to set up a battery-swapping mechanism in Afghanistan.

Whether it’s e-commerce, fintech, journey-hailing, or meal shipping, the biggest disruptions inside the ultimate decade inside the Indian market have been pushed with the aid of startups. The equal appears to be the case with the auto enterprise.

Even as most legacy carmakers—barring Mahindra—are busy chalking out their EV plans, numerous Indian startups are taking the lead in creating EV surroundings within u. S . A.

In each enterprise, conventional gamers have vested hobbies in retaining the reputation quo. They have invested billions of dollars over several many years in studies and development (R&D). It’s tough to give up at the fossil gasoline legacy and diversify property, plans, and manufacturing right into a nascent area,” says Sanjay Puri, founder, AutoNebula, a Pune-based related mobility accelerator. It is this latency that offers startups the headspace to dive into a new marketplace. “Many revolutionary leaders are leaving their corporations to start their own ventures in the EV space—a trend that a US-based totally [then] startup Tesla made mainstream,” he adds.

Take Gurugram-based Okinawa Autotech as an example, which started in 2015 to supply an EV that mixed energy, variety, protection, and environmental sustainability. Since its release in January 2017, Okinawa has offered 5,000 gadgets of the Ridge, its first e-scooter. In December remaining yr, the Ridge was followed by using the longer-range and better-top speed Praise. “We have acquired 2,000 bookings thus far and expect to promote 25,000 devices in 2018,” says Jeetender Sharma, founder, and managing director, Okinawa. The scooter is powered by way of valve-regulated lead-acid batteries, and the Praise will get a Li-ion battery choice quickly.

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Okinawa has a manufacturing facility in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan, which churns out three hundred gadgets in keeping with the shift, making six hundred devices in a day. The forty,000 sq.Toes facility became began with an investment of ₹30 crores and have an annual potential of 1.8 lakh units. “We plan to make investments ₹250 crores over the years inside the plant and manufacturing processes, R&D, new product development and sales and advertising for supplier growth,” says Sharma. Okinawa can even soon install the 2nd plant to introduce “a spread of automobiles.”

Smartphones on wheels

Gurugram-based totally 22Motors and Bengaluru-based Ather Energy aren’t stopping at an e-scooter but going further—they’re inside the race to launch India’s first clever scooter. Li-ion batteries, SIM card, Google Maps, GSM, touchscreen, apps, notifications, smart features, Artificial Intelligence, person profiles, security functions—the electric scooters’ features in improvement using these homegrown startups sound much less like automobiles and more like smartphones. Both the e-scooters will use statistics accumulated from multiple sensors on nearly every part of the linked vehicle to determine the rider’s using method and permit the owners to personalize their cars.

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“EVs lend themselves to provide use instances in intelligently connected mobility. With all of the records from the automobiles, records scientists can assist customize the e-scooter and every trip for the rider,” says Tarun Mehta, co-founder, and CEO, Ather Energy. The organization was an installation through IIT-Madras alumni Mehta and Swapnil Jain, co-founder and CTO, in 2013. They were perfecting their clever and related S340 for the final 4 years. “Matching the performance of current petrol scooters turned into our number one attention; we can’t rely on altruism on my own for sales,” says Mehta. The S340 will be connected to the cloud, and “will hold learning and improving with utilization,” he adds.

Ather plans to install an assembly line in Bengaluru to make its personal battery packs to cater to the desires of its car perfectly. “We constructed the first one 3 years in the past. We ultimately sense right approximately its overall performance and best,” says Mehta. The S340 is presently going for walks production rounds though a release date declaration is still a while away.


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