A machine that washes motorcycles in two minutes, using just a few litres of water – meet the team that made this possible in India.
Mumbai-based Niraj Taksande, Bhushan Karn, and Jigar Vora have been friends for a long time now. And one of the many interests that they share is their love for bikes. Motorcycles not only bring them together to hit the road and have the time of their lives quite often, but it also brought them together to start a company.
Express Bike Works (EBW), the trio’s brainchild, is a two-wheeler service centre with presence across 25 service stations in India and abroad. And what’s special about them?
The company claims that their machine can clean any bike in less than two minutes using just one-fourth of the amount of water that a roadside garage uses for the same.
“We often go on long motorcycle rides. This meant that our bikes used to get extremely dirty almost every weekend and the same bikes had to be taken to work later. But the problem was that getting your bike cleaned on a Monday morning is not an easy task. We had to spend more than an hour at roadside wash centres that are usually not in great a condition. There is water splashing all around with no proper place to sit; in a nutshell, it is not a great place to spend an hour on a Monday morning. We needed something quicker and better,” says Niraj.
This was how the friends started thinking about the immense scope of improvement in this scenario. They noticed rampant wastage of water at the roadside service shops. Moreover, all the water mixed with chemicals and detergents was flowing into the drains or just on the roadside. “We thought that if there are so many techniques for water recycling, they should definitely be implemented in the washing industry as well,” says Niraj. Moreover, many local garages usually keep bikes with themselves for the day and ask customers to return in the evening, which is not the most efficient way of providing service.
Looking for a solution to tackle this problem, they began conceptualising a machine that would save water and time, while cleaning bikes with the same efficiency as roadside shops.
After starting work in April 2013, they developed a prototype within eight months and launched EBW in 2014.
Their machine is basically a kiosk that can accommodate bikes of any size available in India or abroad. A customer has to drive with the bike inside the kiosk, come out, shut the door, and click a button. There is an array of nozzles in the machine specifically designed and positioned in a way that the water coming out is at optimum pressure to clean bikes. The water is mixed with biodegradable detergents. The total time that it takes for a biker in this entire process is two minutes.
Roadside washing centres also clean the bikes manually using a single water gun with which they have to first wash the bike, then scrub and rinse, etc. In case of EBW, most of these activities happen in parallel.
Additionally, bike wash and service centres in India use more than 50 litres of water per bike and let the water run out on the streets, adding to the sludge. This water is mixed with hard chemicals and is hazardous for the washer and to the environment.
EBW device has also been scientifically designed through experiment and the team’s self-derived empirical formula so that optimum amount of water is used, which is about one-fourth of the water used in a garage. The water flow and pressure are also optimal, derived after several trials and the team claims to have saved 12 million litres of water in two years.
Once the bike is washed, a water recycling system collects all the water used. The recycled water is used for watering nearby plants and just 6-7 litres are discarded as sludge. The sludge is then collected by the pollution control department.
“This cleaning technique is something that is already being used for cars, but owing to the uneven surface of bikes, not many people use it for motorcycles. So we thought we could make something that could be useful for bikes also,” says Niraj.
Today, EBW is in stores in Pune, Nashik, Guntur, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Cochin, Coimbatore, and more. They work on a franchise model and provide machinery and training to different stores.
Niraj is a mechanical engineering graduate from Mumbai University who completed his MBA from IIM Indore. Bhushan completed his BTech and MTech from IIT Mumbai and Jigar too is an IIT-Mumbai alumnus. All three of them had worked in different fields for a few years and quit their jobs to start this company. They used their own savings to start in the beginning and were later funded.
The team hopes to take EBW to more places across the world, and revolutionise the way we look at bike wash sessions in India. Know more about EBW here.