Interview: Mayank Jain
Director at Crayon Motors
Startups will drive next wave of growth in the country
April 26, 2022. By Manu Tayal
In an exclusive interaction series with startup companies in the energy and mobility space, Manu Tayal, Associate Editor, Energetica India, interacted with Mayank Jain, Director, Crayon Motors. Here’re the edited excerpts from that interaction:
Que: Tell Energetica India Magazine readers in brief about Crayon Motors including its vision.
Ans: Crayon Motors was established in the year 2020. We provide appealing electric scooters (two-wheelers) at competitive prices, based on the company’s pillars of quality and unrivalled technology. Our Electric Scooters combine cutting-Edge technology, elegance, and environmental concerns to become a trusted Travel Companion. Our manufacturing plant is set up in Ghaziabad. We are over a Team of more than 50 highly motivated employees at the Pan India level, ensuring the best experience of owning an electric vehicle (EV) to the end audience. Under our expansion ambitions, we are now spending extensively on product localization and technological development. As a part of our green initiative, we plant a tree for every scooter sold.
Que: Explain in detail about Crayon Motors' electric Scooters?
Ans: We offer electric two-wheelers in the low/city speed range. Our products are designed for intra-city use and have a top speed of 25kmph. The product line provides mileage solutions ranging from 60kmpc to 170 kmpc. Each of our products is tailored to Indian roads, weather conditions, and the most basic requirements. Our scooters have features such as digital displays, anti-theft, disc brakes, and GPS monitoring, among others. In addition, we provide our customers with a variety of financing alternatives to select from. This includes funding from both banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).
We will be introducing our high-speed product line very shortly. These items are designed, developed, and manufactured in India and will be eligible for FAME-II subsidies. The company is planning to start pre-booking of orders for this upcoming range soon.
Que: Kindly share information about the company's manufacturing facility including its R&D investment?
Ans: Our current production facilities cover the area of 40,000 square feet. We are planning on expanding the same. As a firm, we are continually working to better understand our clients’ needs and objectives.
We have made significant investments in R&D. The prototyping of in-house motors and controllers was a massive success for us. The commercial production will start soon for the same. We are also working on newer technologies, including collaborations with organizations such as the Incubation Centre at IIT-Delhi. These are only a few of the various R&D efforts at Crayon. Furthermore, battery development is expected for 2023. In R&D, we are focusing on low-cost, energy-efficient products manufactured in India.
Que: Shed some light on your educational background, achievements, and experiences across sectors, along with other founders if any.
Ans: Crayon Motors was founded in 2020. In less than two years, my brother (Co-founder) Rahul Jain and I have transformed the company into one of India’s most promising & fastest-growing EV companies.
I had the opportunity to pursue an MBA from the elite IE Business School in Spain after completing my Bachelor of Business Studies at the prestigious Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, University of Delhi. However, I postponed it to realize my father’s ambition of electric mobility. My career has taken me from co-founding Dirty Laundry, an eclectic innerwear brand, to Director at U.P Telelinks Limited, a leading cable and e-rickshaw manufacturer.
Que: In your view, what are the main reasons behind the higher prices of EVs, and how it can be brought down?
Ans: The fundamental reason for the higher prices of EVs can be linked to a large dependency on imports. In India, EV technology is also in its early stages. Countries like China and Taiwan are far ahead in infrastructure and EV adoption. Economies of scale are not yet present, although they are steadily developing. This improvement will aid in the development of an EV-friendly culture. Another consideration is that cells account for a significant portion of the cost. This can be reduced so that we achieve economies of scale. FAME – II is a step towards faster adoption and development of such infrastructure.
Given the present geopolitical situation, which will continue to be vulnerable to price volatility and variances. Current technologies, particularly those based on lithium, will continue to rely on imports. As a result, innovative technologies with less reliance on imports will be necessary.
Que: In the initial phase, did you face any challenges being a start-up entrepreneur?
Ans: Well, setting up a business and facing challenges go hand in hand. The last 2 years have been tough, but I suppose that applies to everyone, not just me. Lock-downs and uncertainty wreaked the most havoc on the transportation industry. This had an impact on our planning, projections, and growth. At these times, one may reflect, build, and grow as a firm and as an individual.
Que: What are your views on government support for the start-up ecosystem in the country? Any suggestions?
Ans: This government has been particularly supportive of the SME and MSME Community. I believe that start-ups will drive the country's next wave of growth. On the Government’s part, several changes have been implemented to assist in the growth of these start-ups, such as tax advantages, relaxations in other labour standards, and so on. More can be done, given the current situation and the air of uncertainty. A few changes that include - reduced interest rates, easier access to finance/funds, lower land prices, government tenders with sole sourcing from start-ups can make a difference in the smooth functioning of SME and MSME communities.
Que: In your view, what are the key challenges in the EV ecosystem in India?
Ans: The EV ecosystem is both a challenge and an opportunity. The support from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for important components has just recently begun. The mobility/ICE industry has historically been controlled by a small number of OEMs. It’s always been a closed system. With their financial resources, years of expertise, and brand value, these industry stalwarts provide a challenge moving ahead. This will be difficult for a company that wants to not just be a member of the supply chain but also a player. We have a strategy in place and are putting it into action.
In terms of opportunities, the market is ripe for collaborations and alliances. To create a full and resilient eco-system, start-ups must collaborate, assist one another, to build a complete and robust eco-system.
Que: Kindly share details about Crayon's investment and funding? Any new plans?
Ans: We are a bootstrapped start-up. We are bullish on EVs and have not yet raised any outside money. We have shown proof of concept and have been working on our technological prowess. VCs and fund houses have expressed interest, and we are in talks with them. We intend to raise funds in the second half of fiscal year 22-23.
Que: Currently, in which cities customers can buy Crayon Electric Scooters? What are expansion plans?
Ans: We have approximately 100+ sales points across India. As a company, we are focused on extending our portfolio in Tier 2 and 3 cities, where we have seen strong momentum. Our two-wheelers are also available in cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Agra, and Jodhpur, among other places. Our goal for the coming year involves tripling our sales and service centres and adding four high-speed models to our line-up.
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