In 2021, Maaz Ahmed Khan was still a mechanical engineering student when his interest in electric vehicles began brewing. “It started when I got into the EV subject of the syllabus in final year,” he recalls, adding that he would look closely into the working of these machines and formulate his own ideas to make his own version of them.
But the 23-year-old’s idea was not to build a new design. Instead, it was to convert existing fuel vehicles — which would otherwise be turned to scrap — into fully functioning EVs.
The then final year student of Methodist College of Engineering and Technology, Telangana, started looking for someone’s help to start building on his vision. This brought him to a non-academic startup incubator EdVenture Park, which focuses on student innovations. He applied for a job here and was selected.
With their support, the youngster began working on his dream project, eventually founding Torq Electric in March 2021.
“A few years ago, I happened to attend the launch of Tata Nexon. Even though the vehicle excited me, I also thought, ‘Why should we buy a new EV if there exists a technology to convert existing vehicles?’,” he tells The Better India.
He continues, “I also had ‘electric vehicles’ as a subject in college. I learned that after 15 years of running, the fuel usage of any vehicle goes up and it contributes to greater pollution. Instead of turning it to scrap, you can convert it.”
On 27 August 2021, Maaz came up with the prototype of a two-wheeler EV, which he built by transforming an old petrol scooter and spending Rs 60,000. The model was covered widely by the media and popularised further through the internet, he recalls.
“Even then, it took time to gain people’s trust. A few months later, I managed to get some customers. A majority of them were unwilling to let go of their two-wheelers due to emotional attachments and similar reasons. Converting these into electric vehicles seemed like a great idea to keep your old favourite bike,” he explains.
Maaz says he has so far converted seven bikes, and received orders for 15 more.
Additionally, he helps engineering students to take up college projects related to EV and supports them with the related technical know-how.
For a greener future
Even though it takes just 5-7 hours to convert a two-wheeler into an EV, Maaz asks for two days to check and ensure the vehicle’s safety after riding.
He provides two types of models — fully electric and hybrid vehicles. Those who wish to keep fuel as an option can opt for the latter. He says the price to convert any type of two-wheeler into a fully electric EV is Rs 50,000. For hybrid, he charges Rs 55,000.
“In fully electric two-wheelers, the engine and fuel tank are replaced with a powerful motor and batteries. In hybrid conversion, a motor and battery are added to the existing engine. This gives the flexibility of driving on both electric power and engine power,” says the engineer.
The base variant of the vehicle takes about three to four hours to charge, and can run up to 75 km at an average speed of 45 km/hr, Maaz says. Customers can also give their preferences, for which prices may differ.
“EVs are in their early days in India. But undoubtedly, they are the future. It is important to be aware of the pollution from fuel vehicles. Soon, we might be living in a country where breathing feels like smoking a cigarette. But we can prevent this by showing responsibility. Like shifting from plastic bags to cloth bags, or using public transport, opting for an EV is a great step,” Maaz says.
Through his company, he aims to create sustainable living through automotive manufacturing, with the vision to create an eco-friendly world.
Even though his current innovation is receiving great response, the engineer’s dream is to launch his own design of an EV, exclusively for Indians. He also plans to extend the current innovation to three and four-wheelers.
“The rise in fuel prices has most affected the auto drivers of the country. After a little research, I discovered that if they switch to EVs, they can save around Rs 400 a day. This accounts for Rs 12,000 a month. Thus, my plan is to launch an innovation pertaining to three-wheelers,” he shares.
Visit his website here.
Edited by Divya Sethu
Photo Credits: Maaz Ahmed Khan