At a time when most ventures are struggling to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic with their businesses intact, Mumbai-based startup Earth Energy EV has gone on to launch three electric two-wheelers. Calling itself India’s first electric cruiser motorcycle company, last month the startup launched the Glyde+ electric scooter, Evolve Z and Evolve R (both electric motorcycles).
(Inage above of Earth Energy EV CEO and Founder Rushi Shenghani and the Evolve R.)
“For the past three and a half years, we have been intensely working in the EV space. In the past three years, we came up with seven prototypes of the Glyde+, Evolve Z, and Evolve R, which we finally launched last month. At present, we are predominantly in the two-wheeler segment, but this December, we’ll launch our four-wheeler commercial vehicle as well,” says CEO and Founder Rushi Shenghani, speaking to The Better India.
All three variants have a battery range of 110 km on a single charge, although differences predominantly emerge in the battery specifications, motor configuration and top speed.
While the Glyde+ is powered by a 2.5 kW electric motor that offers a top speed of 70 kmph, the Evolve Z supports a 96 AH lithium-ion battery pack with a 6 kW motor and a top speed of 95 kmph. Having said that, the stand out is the Evolve R, which supports a 115 AH lithium-ion battery with an 8 kW battery pack and offers a top speed of 110 kmph.
Charging in 40 minutes
A notable feature of Evolve R is that it can be charged entirely in 40 minutes with a fast charge facility. But this facility is only available at their dealership network.
“Every dealer of our vehicle is going to have a fast-charging station and three slow charging stations at their dealership. For the first year, these dealerships will offer free charging to commuters. Nonetheless, these vehicles can be normally slow charged in 2.5 hours and all our vehicles are compatible with every public charging station in India. We have made our vehicles compatible with every charging station set up in India because we comply with Bharat EV charging norms,” informs Rushi.
Along with their EV scooter and motorcycle, the startup will give consumers a home charging station that’s going to be free of cost with every vehicle that goes out. This home charging station can charge your vehicle completely in 2.5 hours.
“In case of fast charging, you will have to visit our dealerships. These dealerships are present in Maharashtra and Gujarat, and we have come to an agreement with a major distribution partner for all South Indian states. Our dealerships are going to be located predominantly in Tier 2 cities. In Mumbai, we already have dealerships in Goregaon and Alibaug, and in Gujarat across Valsad, Surat, and Vadodara. By the end of the next quarter, we are expecting around 50 dealerships to come up. Our long term objective is to ensure that those buying from our dealership don’t live more than 10 km away so that they can always go there to fast charge their electric vehicles, if required,” he adds.
Other common features
All three two-wheelers are high-speed vehicles with smart features and a 5-inch TFT (thin-film-transistor) display. All Earth Energy’s vehicles come with a default in-built app-enabled with smartphones that helps the rider keep their live navigation status, incoming calls/messages alert, trip history, and current destination on-screen for the confidence-inducing uninterrupted ride. The app also allows the third party usage model for food delivery agents.
“The entire order mapping can be easily done on the display screen itself. The entire range inculcates an automatic headlight enabled feature for switching effortlessly during night and day time and an LCD which will help riders see in dark and light mode, Battery SOC, real-time range and TBT (turnabout time) navigation, etc. The app digitally clones the user’s vehicle and provides up to 270 parameters to diagnose, but we show around 50 parameters on screen. The users can also book the maintenance services with one click using the app,” noted the press release issued on 17 February 2021.
Another key feature of these electric two-wheelers is the desire of the makers to give commuters an experience that is very close to their IC-Engine counterparts.
“We do not do hub motors, since all of our vehicles come with belt drives or chain drives. If you look at our high-speed scooter, it has a belt-drive transmission system. The Evolve Z and Evolve R, meanwhile, have a chain drive transmission system. We attempt to give our consumers a two-wheeler experience very close to their petrol counterparts in terms of torque, pick up, and other riding parameters. Riding comfort is also great since there is no unsprung mass on the rear wheel. The feel of riding our vehicle is unlike Chinese made-EVs or those Indian-made vehicles with hub motors,” claims Rushi.
All three vehicles are made in India. The company has established a 7000 sq ft R&D setup in Vasai on the outskirts of Mumbai and produces Li-on battery packs in-house. The facility is involved in the development of electric motorcycles, scooters, commercial vehicles, autonomous vehicle drivetrains for global consumers, and EV smart chargers.
The new range comprises 96% Made in India electric vehicles which were made possible by tying up with only Indian OEMs and domestic auto part manufacturers for rims, tyres, suspensions, chains, handlebars, pulleys, etc.
“We have sourced every single component from Indian suppliers except for the cells that have come from outside the country. Only the final assembly of the components is currently being done at our manufacturing facility to bring the capital expenditure down. But we are working towards shifting the entire manufacturing process in-house. By the end of this year, we are moving to a bigger facility in Gujarat,” says Rushi.
Price, Funding and Dealing with the Pandemic
All three electric vehicles are priced between Rs 92,000 (Glyde+) and Rs 1,42,000 (Evolve R). This fact is particularly relevant in the high-speed EV scooters market. Looking at this market, most are priced above Rs 1 lakh, whereas the Glyde+ has an on-road price of Rs 92,000.
Meanwhile, in terms of funding, the company raised seed round funding led by LR Joshi, managing director of Pranada Biopharma along with other private equity investors last May. The funds facilitated the launch of its three upcoming electric vehicle models which have been going through on-road trials over the last two-and-a-half years. “We are not disclosing the amount of funding we have received in public, but it’s quite substantial,” he adds.
And unlike most ventures, the pandemic, Rushi claims, really helped the startup. In the early months of the lockdown, the startup doubled up as battery manufacturers for medical equipment companies and therefore kept their shop open.
“As an automotive company, we have always been into battery manufacturing. During the pandemic, we doubled up as battery manufacturers for medical equipment companies. Since we were totally operational during the pandemic, we also used up some of the time to develop these vehicles further that we had already been working on for over two and a half years. The pandemic did help us speed up the process of launching these vehicles last month. We will sell our first batch of vehicles in the first week of April. Consumers can pre-order their vehicles through our website and receive them from their nearest dealership. We have enough orders in place, but are still accepting pre-orders,” says Rushi.
Incorporated in late 2017, the Mumbai based startup is confident of moving towards building a new era of sustainable mobility solutions that they believe will align with the Union governments’ vision to electrify all vehicles in India by 2030.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)