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Startup Insights

How well are Indian electric scooter startups differentiating?

Notes by Narsi

If one really sits and counts, one can perhaps count close to one hundred electric scooter companies in India, a good many of them startups.

Even for a large country, a hundred is a lot. That tells you two things - electric scooters are hot right now, and there are no major entry barriers to starting an electric scooter company.

From an innovation or an IP standpoint however, until now, most electric scooter startups are only a grand version of an electric scooter assembler.

Only a handful of them have backward integrated to the extent that they can make their own powertrain and batteries.

And in batteries anyway, no electric scooter company makes its own battery cells - at best they may be making their wn battery packs (the future might be somewhat different with large EV boys such as Ola Electric keen on setting up Li-ion cell making units in India).

If they are mostly assemblers, then the opportunities for production differentiation become more challenging. Sure, some of the prominent electric scooter makers such as Ather have started incorporating significant splashes of digital in their offerings, but then with the kind of IT skills Indian engineers possess, almost every scooter company can perhaps incorporate these too.

So how can electric scooter companies really differentiate themselves in India? Through price? Through partnerships? Through business models (e-scooter as a service instead of as a product)? Adding many premium features and targetting high end customers?

Startups have no business to be in segments where they cannot innovate and differentiate. So, rather than go after more and more product lauches, it is time that the electric scooter startup segment in the country did some real introspection.

See all Insights from: Low Carbon Mobility


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