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Indian E-mobility Startup Trends


Last Updated: February 2020 by Narasimhan Santhanam



This posevnext-logo-v-smallt is a part of EV Next’s EV Perspectives.

EV Nexta division of EAI, is a leading market intelligence & strategic consulting firm for the Indian e-mobility sector.


This post is part of a series titled “Taking India’s E-mobility to the Next Orbit” from EV Next Perspectives. See all posts for this series from here. See previous post –International E-mobility Startup Trends.

Introduction

Until about 2017, e-mobility was almost unheard-of term in India. Since then, however, the Indian industry has started taking electric mobility seriously.

Simultaneously, a startup ecosystem started taking shape in this sector. From almost nothing just a few years back, there are well over a hundred e-mobility startups in India currently, most of them founded post-2017.

Yet, the Indian e-mobility ecosystem is nascent, and we are at least a few years behind the US, EU, and China when it comes to EV adoption. But being a late mover has its advantages; we can learn from the efforts – and mistakes – of pioneers.

With the help of our consulting team, we analyzed over 100 Indian e-mobility startups to get a better understanding of their efforts. We provide brief profiles of some startups which provide differentiated benefits.

Note that some of the prominent startups such as Ather Energy, Tork Motors, Sun Mobility, Ultraviolette are not included in this list. The reason is that many startups and investors are quite aware of these, and we wish to provide a flavor of the relatively less-known startups who also have differentiated offerings.

Profiles of Select Indian E-mobility Startups

  1. Altigreen Propulsion Labs
  • Founded: 2013
  • Founders: Amitabh Saran, D. (Computer Science) with engineering and business experience; Shalendra Gupta, MBA with finance, business development, and manufacturing experience
  • Products: Powertrain retrofitting for fully electric and hybrid vehicles
  • USP: Hybrid retrofitting for both petrol and diesel options; requires no external charging because of regenerative braking
  • Target market: Fleet operators.
  • Current Status: Well established, undertaking projects
  • Future Plans: Recently received an order to retrofit two hundred 3-wheelers, and developing electric powertrain for tractors
  • Funding: Funded by Jupiter Capital and an institutional investor
  • Headquarters: Bengaluru
  • Website: http://altigreen.in/
  1. Quanteon Powertrain
  • Founded: 2018
  • Founders: Venkata Narasimham, earlier with Indian Navy; Neelam Sherawat
  • Products: Axial flux direct-drive motors for electric vehicles.
  • USP: Motors to facilitate in-wheel architecture for EVs
  • Target market: OEMs
  • Current Status: Commercial
  • Future Plans: –
  • Funding: Self-funded
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Website: http://www.quanteonworld.com/
  1. Cell Propulsion
  • Founded: 2016
  • Founders: Nakul Kukar, Paras Kaushal
  • Products: Electric retrofitting for buses
  • USP: Diesel to electric retrofit for buses and cars
  • Target market: Fleet operators
  • Current Status: Pilot retrofit kit developed
  • Future Plans: Working with BMTC
  • Funding: Endiya Partners, angel investors
  • Headquarters: Bangalore
  • Website: http://www.cellpropulsion.com/
  1. Pi Beam Labs
  • Founded: 2013
  • Founders: Visakh Sasikumar founded the company while studying at IIT-Madras
  • Products: Electric 3-wheelers with pedal assistance, geared manual 3-wheelers (cargo vehicles)
  • Target Market: Factories, industries
  • USP: Solar-powered electric 3-wheeler. e-vehicles for logistics within industry premises
  • Current Status: Series A funded
  • Future Plans: Developing electric 2 & 3-wheeler commercial vehicles
  • Funding: Funded by Eagle 10 ventures, Blue Hill Capital and high net worth individuals.
  • Headquarters: Chennai
  • Website: https://pibeamlabs.com/
  1. RevOS
  • Founded: 2017
  • Founders: Mohit Yadav (background in the automotive industry), Jyotirajan Harichandan
  • Products: Tracking and control system integrated into the vehicle. Monitors motor controllers, BMS and fuel injection (hybrid, ICE vehicles). Hardware and software integration
  • Target Markets: 2, 3-wheeler OEMs
  • USP: Integrated technology company for EVs and also for ICE vehicles
  • Current Status: Commercial. Clients include Sun Mobility, OK Play electric, YoBykes (Electrotherm) and Udaan EV; the platform is patent-pending but the company is operational
  • Funding: Seed funding round by ITI Growth Opportunities and Chetan Maini of Sun Mobility
  • Headquarters: Bangalore
  • Website: https://www.revos.in/
  1. Log9 Materials
  • Founded: 2014
  • Founders: Akshay Singhal; Kartik Hajela (both have been featured in Forbes Under 30 Asia)
  • Products: Graphene-based metal-air batteries
  • Target Markets: 4-wheeler OEMs
  • USP: Metal-air batteries with graphene nanotechnology
  • Current Status: Demonstrated their battery working by using it in a Mahindra E-verito
  • Funding: Exfinity Venture Partners, Surge Ahead, Metaform Ventures, and other individual investors
  • Headquarters: Bangalore
  • Website: https://www.log9materials.com/
  1. Meladath Auto Components
  • Founded: 2016
  • Founders: Rakesh Meladath Karunakaran, Winnie Gangadhar
  • Products: Hybrid retrofitting for 2-wheelers
  • Target Markets: Retail users, fleet operators
  • USP: Electric powertrain with regenerative braking ability
  • Current Status: Well-established and recognized by various organizations
  • Funding: Investments from Bosch
  • Headquarters: Bangalore
  • Website: http://www.meladathauto.com/
  1. Liger Mobility
  • Founded: 2018
  • Founders: Ashutosh Upadhyay (IIT Kharagpur Alumni) and Vikas Poddar (IIT Chennai Alumni). Company incubated at IIT-Bombay
  • Products: Self-balancing electric scooter
  • Target Markets: Retail users, especially women
  • USP: Self-balancing scooter with infused IOT
  • Current Status: a Pilot model developed and tested, being showcased
  • Funding: Unknown
  • Headquarters: Mumbai
  • Website: http://www.ligermobility.com/
  1. Revolt Motors
  • Founded: 2018
  • Founders: Rahul Sharma (Founder of Micromax)
  • Products: Electric bike
  • Target Markets: Mass market
  • USP: AI-enabled motorcycle
  • Current Status: Delivering their first set of vehicles to the customers
  • Funding: Self-funded
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Website: https://www.revoltmotors.com/
  1. eMotion Motors
  • Founded: 2014
  • Founders: Pranav Singanapalli
  • Products: Geared electric bike with solar cells for charging, electric scooters & bicycles
  • Target Markets: Diversified
  • USP: High-performance electric bike with 200 km range and cloud integration
  • Current Status: Pilot model has been developed and tested
  • Funding: Details not available
  • Headquarters: Coimbatore
  • Website: https://www.emotionmotors.in/

A few other startups with interesting value propositions are listed below

Name Product Location Website
Mobycy E-Bicycle fleet Gurgaon https://www.mobycy.com
Alta-Azu E Mobility Ultrafast charging buses Bengaluru https://azuemobility.in
Bhorzvan Motors Retrofit 2-wheelers, Custom-made motors Pune https://bhorzvan.com
Croyance Retrofit LCV Bengaluru https://croyance.co.in
Pixy Electric Cars Retrofit for jeeps, other limited purpose EVs Pune https://www.pixycars.co.in
Orxa Energies E-bike Bengaluru https://orxaenergies.com
Yulu E-bicycle fleet Bengaluru https://www.yulu.bike
Earth Energy EV Long range cruise bike Mumbai www.earthenergy-ev.com
Menza Motors High performance bike Ahmedabad. https://www.menzamotors.com
Polarity Smart Bikes E-bicycles Pune https://polarity.in
Srivaru Motors High performance bike Coimbatore https://srivarumotors.com
Smado Labs Foldable bicycle Kochi https://tezlaa.com
Ziptrac Cleantech Li-batteries repurposing, recycling New Delhi https://www.ziptrax.in
Ion Energy Advanced BMS Mumbai https://www.ionenergy.co

Indian E-mobility Startups – Highlights of Efforts

We researched over 150 Indian e-mobility startups. Many of them, at least right now, have very little to show for differentiated benefits to specific end user segments. Some of those that do relatively better on differentiated value proposition have been profiled in the earlier section.

Our analysis of this comprehensive list of startups provides useful and actionable insights for both e-mobility startups and for prospective investors.

One aspect that stands out from our analysis is the effort by many of these startups to adapt technologies, products or business models to provide customized specific benefits for the Indian end-user segments. Other aspects on which the startups are providing differentiated benefits are:

  • Retrofitting – Among the list of startups offering good value propositions, retrofits is a frequently recurring theme. While retrofits have their share of challenges, mainly because of quality concerns, they provide a quick solution to turn a large proportion of specific vehicle categories in EVs or hybrids – something that “original” electric vehicle will take considerable time to deliver.
  • Vehicles for niche markets – This is an obvious aspect of differentiation, and it is not surprising that quite a few startups are working on this. We, however, feel that there are even more opportunities in the niche EV market in India than have been tapped by startups – especially when we consider diverse niche markets being pursued internationally.
  • Use of IT & power electronics – Another strength that Indian startups have leveraged is the IT/software/power electronics expertise that the country possesses. Given India’s global dominance in these fields, this focus has the potential to take the successful startups to the global e-mobility stage.

Based on the analyses, where do we feel Indian startups can do a better job?

  • Actual market research – We have been interacting with dozens of EV startups in the past 2 years. While many of them are run by passionate founders, and some of them really good at what they do, we have seen only a few of them actually go into the market and understand customer needs fully. A good many of these companies are operating partly out of intuition and partly based on what they read in the media. We are confident that startups that achieve a superior understanding of user needs will go on to build products that have sustainable competitive advantages.
  • Partnerships – Indian electric vehicle companies need to really rev up on partnerships. While there have been a few high-profile financial investments in this sector, there have been very few partnerships[1] based on strategy and business development. This is one aspect where international EV startups appear far ahead of their Indian counterparts.
  • Business model – We are yet to see Indian EV startups employ innovative business models uniquely positioned to overcome challenges and enhance benefits to focused user segments. International startups once again have done a much better job in this aspect.

Finally, how well have the Indian startups used the framework that we had developed in Section 1? It is clear that some of the startup efforts show a strong alignment – be they startups that are working on the relatively “low-tech” retrofitting, those working to satisfy niche user needs such as vehicles for in-factory logistics, or those targeting segments that value safety features such as self-balancing. But for a majority of startups, we feel that they could significantly increase their chances of success if they spend more time sharpening their value propositions targeted at specific end-user needs.

 [1] Some prominent examples of financial investments: Hero Motors in Ather Energy, Bharat Forge in Tork Motors and TVS Motors in Ultraviolette

This post is part of a series titled “Taking India’s E-mobility to the Next Orbit” from EV Next Perspectives. See all posts for this series from here. See the next post – Takeaways for Indian e-mobility startups & investors.

The complete list of blogs in the series – 


evnext-logo-v-smallKnow more on how EV Next can assist your business in your strategy for the e-mobility and electric vehicles sectors, Here

Wish to know everything about India’s EV market from one place? Check out the India EV Expert Guide, an 800-page comprehensive guide to the Indian EV marketHere



Categories: E-mobility, Electric Vehicles, EV Companies and Startups

Author - Narasimhan Santhanam


Thank you for reading this post – hope it was helpful. You can connect with me at narsi@eai.in. My detailed profile here and my LinkedIn profile here

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