Hyderabad - In early September, transport minister Nitin Gadkari said the government was “crystal clear” about its plans to shift to use of alternative fuel to do away with pollution and heavy imports of petrol and diesel.
As part of the plan to attain 100% electric mobility by 2030, the government would release a tender in the next few months to acquire 50,000 electric three-wheelers.
Hyderabad-based automobile startup Gayam Motor Works is waiting for such an opportunity.
Started by two brothers, Raja and Rahul Gayam, GMW designs, manufactures and sells electric vehicles such as passenger and cargo SmartAutos powered by lithium-ion batteries. It is also the first company to develop a battery-swapping system for electric vehicles in India.
“One of the fundamental challenges putting electric vehicle penetration on hold is lacking of charging infrastructure. In countries like US and China where Tesla and BYD have grown, there is a built network of charging stations. But is charging a solution for a country like India?” asks Sri Harsha Bavirisetty, chief operations officer, Gayam Motor Works.
“We are one of the very few players who have already developed the battery swapping system reducing this charging time from several hours to less than a minute. The driver only gets to the stations, swaps the battery and moves ahead,” he said.
With rising awareness on emissions, many people have turned their attention to electric vehicles. The government of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and e-grocer Big Basket were among the first few to adopt the smart way of mobility. While Andhra Pradesh uses the SmartAutos for waste disposals, e-grocer Big Basket uses it for logistics.
“Setting up the infrastructure for businesses is easy for us. Most logistics companies get loaded from a single hub. They have placed their hubs in strategic locations for last mile delivery where we place the charging infrastructure,” said Harsha Bavirisetty.
This apart, a number of logistics firms are approaching this startup for an alternative to fuel-based two wheelers. GMW has also developed the Limitless bikes which can go atleast 30 kms in a single charge.
“UberEats, the food-delivery wing of Uber, was the first customer for the prototype bicycle and is using it in Singapore, Hong Kong and San Francisco. We have recently shipped our bicycles to Central Amercian police as well,” says Harsha.
Back at home, Vizag district of Andhra Pradesh has deployed e-bikes for supervision and patrol by sanitary supervisors.
At a time when most countries are adapting electric mobility, there is a lot of scope for companies like GMW.
“India is the biggest producer of three wheelers and 40% of the vehicles are exported to African and Asian countries. About 45 million rides are taken daily in India on auto rickshaws. Hence there is huge market for electric wheelers.”
“The government’s recent plans and announcements are very encouraging for electric three-wheeler players. We have a product that is suitable for Indian conditions and we have customers in place already. Hence we are placed in the best position in the market to accelerate the government’s vision on electric three-wheelers,” he adds.
So will GMW bid for the government tender to provide 50,000 electric vehicles? “We are looking forward to it,” says Harsha.