Today the key challenge facing major Indian cities is the alarming increase in air pollution from vehicular emissions. To minimize fossil fuel emissions, electric vehicle adoption is being aggressively promoted by the government. It launched The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) in 2013, and aims to make India completely electric by 2047.
Aside from ecological considerations, the world around us is getting connected, enabling integration of devices and making our life experiences seamless. Newer electric vehicles in the market often stand for these advancements in connectivity and technology.
Let’s take a look at a few startups that are pioneering adoption and adaptation in the Electric Vehicle space in India-
Founded by two IIT Madras graduates- Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain- Ather Energy creates intelligent vehicles that are ready to revolutionise commuting in India.
As it started out, the Bangalore based startup received a funding of Rs.45 lakh from IIT Madras. Later, around 1 Million in funding was raised from Flipkart founders Sunny Bansal and Binny Bansal.
Recently Ather Energy secured funding from Tiger Global and Hero MotoCorp.
Its first scooter- the Ather 340 was launched in 2016. It has a Lithium Ion Battery pack of 1.92 kwh- which boasts of a high capacity for range, high power output for a quick acceleration and speed, a long life and fast charging.
Ather 340 can travel a promising range of 60 km having a top speed of 70 kmph. It is a smart electric scooter that has telescopic suspension, disc brakes and mobile connectivity.
The newest model, the Ather 450-is breaking the paradigm. It can go from 0 to 40 kmph in just 3.9 seconds, with a top speed capacity of 80 kmph.
A touchscreen forms the gateway to an intelligent ride experience. An intuitive information display ensures that it only shows the relevant information such as directions, faster routes or nearby charging points; and the onboard navigation provides information on the go, whether it is a better route or traffic updates.
Additionally, a mobile Ather app allows owners to view their ride patterns, get tips for improving vehicle performance and even request for vehicle diagnostics.
Pune based startup, dedicated to designing and development of electric motorcycles, is backed by Bhavish Agarwal (Founder Ola Cabs) and Ankit Bhati (CTO, Ola Cabs). In 2018, Bharat Forge funded Tork Motors to promote electric mobility in India.
The Tork T6X is India’s first electric performance motorcycle.
With a whopping 27 Nm of instant torque and a comfortable cruising speed of 100 kmPh, and a range of 100 km for every charge- the electric motorcycle holds its own just as well as traditional motorcycles. With advanced features such as a 4.3″ TFT screen, utility storage and app and cloud connectivity- the T6X brings a revolution to electric vehicles.
TIROS (Tork Intuitive Response Operating System) is the intelligence that drives the T6X. Apart from analysis and compilation of data for every ride, power management, real time power consumption and range forecasts, TIROS also likes to learn how you ride.
With easily customizable ride modes to adjust power delivery, the motorcycle can be tuned anywhere from sporty maverick to comfortable eco-cruiser at the touch of a button.
The T6X ushers in a host of never-before features for the smart modern urban commuter, driven by cutting edge features and progressive technology.
Mumbai-based smart urban mobility startup Strom Motors- founded in 2011 by Pratik Gupta, Jean-Luc Abaziou, and Dr Gilmer Blankenship, aims to redefine urban mobility and re-invent India’s personal transportation through its smart electric car.
One of the key focus areas of the startup is to optimize the drive dynamics of the car, in-car tech, and Internet of Things (IoT)-based vehicle diagnostics for condition-based rather than time-based maintenance of vehicles.
Their recent enterprise- the Strom-R3 is a fully air-conditioned, two-seater reverse trike with a compact design, premium interiors and a high torque electric drive-train that has been designed to be the perfect vehicle for the densely populated cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru.
Strom Motors will also be setting up its assembly plant in Mumbai for Strom-R3 which has already received over 100 pre-orders from the Maharashtra region.
Strom Motors has recently tied up with what3words, one of the innovative geo-addressing company based out of UK, to optimize GPS mapping and bring accuracy to navigation in a complex road infrastructure such as India.
Strom Motors was awarded as the top 10 technological startups by the government of India.
ATI Motors is a Bangalore based startup that is attempting the unthinkable- designing an autonomous Electric Cargo vehicle.
The leaders leading a team of thirty running the show is uniquely interesting- Dr. V Vinay, Saurabh Chandra and Saad Nasser. Saad skipped high school and is working with the company since age 16, Chandra is an undergraduate and Vinay has a PhD.
A level-4 autonomous cargo vehicle (one that is fully autonomous within private spaces, according to classifications set by the Society of Automotive Engineers), which could carry up to 1 tonne of payload, is an attractive commercial proposition being worked upon by the group.
This vehicle- dubbed the Sherpa- is meant to finish at least one full shift of about eight hours on a charge. In that time, it should consistently deliver its payload from one point to the other as and when required.
The entrepreneurs have also taken inspiration from Robotics to simplify how Sherpa operates: The wheels, each of which has a motor connected to it, can be turned at different speeds simultaneously. That is how robots turn one way or the other, and the same mechanism is used for the Sherpa to turn. This completely eliminates the need for a steering mechanism.
ATI Motors aims to create international impact, making competitive waves with segments dominated by global auto giants with deep pockets.
Chetan Maini, founder of India’s first electric car Reva Electric (sold to Mahindra and Mahindra), has founded Sun Mobility which develops customized electric solutions for India’s changing mobility needs.
Sun Mobility tackles four main roadblocks in mass adoption of Electric Vehicles like high costs, long charging time, equivalent infrastructure, and range anxiety.
Its modular Smart Batteries™ are smaller, lighter, and swiftly swappable confronting long-charging time. Modular and flexible, these batteries are adaptable to multiple vehicle platforms.
The strength of these intelligent and connected batteries combined with their Quick Interchange Stations Network – which are easy-to-install, requires limited space, and work on a pay-as-you go model – creates a convenient re-fuelling infrastructure that is faster and cheaper than existing petrol and diesel pumps for ICE vehicles.
This interconnected, intelligent system powered by renewable energy will be tracked by a Smart Network. The network monitors the battery and station, which are IoT enabled and linked to an app. The Smart Network provides real-time feedback to customers and fleet owners.
The payment system too is completely digitally enabled, where you only pay for the energy you use. The network detects the batteries’ state of charge and automatically locates the closest station.
The company recently entered into a strategic partnership with Ashok Leyland to create infrastructure that would charge Ashok Leyland’s electric vehicles on the go. This alliance was sealed in the backdrop of the government’s vision to go completely electric by 2030.
(Edited by Anu Choudary)