Interview: Hari Kiran

Co-Founder & COO at eBikeGo

Indian EV Market is Difficult but not Impossible to Crack

March 26, 2024. By Abha Rustagi

With our production facility in Pune having an annual capacity of 100,000 units, we aim to innovate across our product range, including electric scooters, motorcycles, wheelchairs, and cycles, says Hari Kiran, Co-Founder & COO at eBikeGo in an interview with Abha Rustagi, Senior Journalist, Energetica India.

Que: Can you share the journey of eBikeGo from its inception in 2019 to becoming the Startup of the Year in the same year?

Ans: Dr. Irfan Khan and I founded eBikeGo in 2019 with a vision to revolutionize urban mobility through electric vehicles (EVs). Starting as a bike rental service catering to businesses like Zomato, Swiggy & other FMCG brands in major cities, we quickly stood out with our sustainable model and innovative approach.

With our cautious scrutiny, we found out that the Indian EV market is difficult but not impossible to crack, if we had the right blend of technology & talent and a basic understanding of consumer needs. With our successful pilot pan-India, we gathered 1 petabyte of data and above-mentioned insights.

The company's rapid growth and contribution to eco-friendly transportation were recognized the same year when it was celebrated as the Startup of the Year. This praise was a testament to eBikeGo's impactful entry into the market and its potential to lead in the EV sector. In 2024 and beyond with our very prestigious and valuable collaboration with Acer Electric, we envisioned to change the global landscape with a robust, dependable and innovative electric vehicles portfolio for the masses, proudly Made in India.

Que: eBikeGo initially started with vehicle rentals and later transitioned into electric rentals. What were the factors that prompted the shift towards manufacturing electric vehicles?

Ans: The decision to transition from vehicle rentals towards manufacturing electric vehicles was influenced by a vision to have a more substantial impact on environmental sustainability and urban mobility.

India being a growing economy contributes to a major chunk of two-wheeler usage across the globe. The demography offers varied usage of two-wheelers in everyday life from commute, businesses, as well as emergency services (if need be).

Thus, the Indian rural market becomes a challenging yet very promising target group for us when it comes to manufacturing and distributing robust two-wheeler electric vehicles.

This strategic shift allowed eBikeGo to control the quality and innovation of its offerings. The brand collaboration with Acer to unveil the new Acer MUVI 125 4G electric two-wheeler emphasized eBikeGo's commitment to delivering cutting-edge, sustainable mobility solutions, leveraging technology for smarter, cleaner, and more efficient urban transportation for the masses in India & across the world.

Que: The collaboration between eBikeGo and Acer resulted in the unveiling of the Acer MUVI-125-4G electric two-wheeler. What are the unique features of this vehicle, and how does it cater to the needs of urban commuters?

Ans: Considering the common man in mind the product has been re-invented in collaboration with the technology giant Acer. With Acer electric our flagship product Acer Muvi 125 4G offers modern technology blended with the comfort and utility of an everyday vehicle.

The Acer MUVI-125-4G electric two-wheeler, a product of the collaboration between eBikeGo and Acer, is designed with the urban commuter in mind. It has a top speed of 70 km/h, powered by a 3 Ah swappable battery, ensuring convenience and uninterrupted travel. The scooter features a 4-inch LCD with Bluetooth support, allowing for easy access to vehicle diagnostics and management through a mobile app. Its hydraulic braking system ensures safety, making it a perfect blend of technology, convenience, and sustainability for the urban landscape.

Specifically engineered for Indian terrain, this vehicle comes with 16 inch wheels to overcome the uncertain hurdles, a battery that fast charges within 3.5 hrs and a 3kW power engine.

Que: In your opinion, what policy changes or incentives could further stimulate growth and innovation in the electric vehicle sector in India?

Ans: To stimulate further growth and innovation in the electric vehicle sector in India, policy changes and incentives could include tax benefits for EV manufacturers, subsidies for consumers purchasing EVs, and significant investments in EV infrastructure, like charging stations. Policies promoting research and development in battery technology and sustainable materials, along with streamlined regulations for EV startups, can accelerate the adoption of EVs and drive innovation in the sector.

Reduction in customs duty on lithium-ion batteries from 21% to 13% and the extension of subsidies for EV batteries for another year under the FAME II scheme, will be a beneficial factor, as the manufacturing of batteries required for EV will be a boom by 2030.

Que: What are your views on the adoption of swappable batteries within the industry?

Ans: Swappable batteries represent a pivotal innovation in the EV industry, addressing key concerns around charging time and range problems. Their adoption can significantly enhance the usability and convenience of electric vehicles, making them more appealing to a broader audience. eBikeGo's incorporation of swappable batteries in models like the ACER MUVI 125 5G illustrates our belief in this technology as a game-changer for improving the electric mobility experience and catering to the everyday requirement of the people.

Que: Could you provide insights into your future plans for technological innovation, expansion, and growth?

Ans: eBikeGo's future is focused on pioneering technological advancements, expanding our market presence, and exploring new growth avenues. With our production facility in Pune having an annual capacity of 100,000 units, we aim to innovate across our product range, including electric scooters, motorcycles, wheelchairs, and cycles.

Our international expansion into markets like Oman, Spain, and the USA, alongside strategic collaborations like those with Acer and WHILL, underscore our commitment to becoming a global leader in electric mobility. Further, we plan to use AI and IoT technologies to enhance our vehicles' efficiency and user experience, ensuring eBikeGo leads the charge towards a greener, more connected world.

The Government has targeted a growth of 30% share for EVs in all new vehicle sales by 2030 which will create around 5 crore direct and indirect jobs opportunities, as per the Economic Survey. Over the coming years we and our group of companies would also contribute to the same as we improve and grow our operations not just Pan-India but also worldwide.

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