Vikas Gupta, Founder, CEO and CFO of e-Ashwa Automotive is a qualified CA, CS, and CMA with over decades of experience in all facets of Accounts, Finance, Compliance, Business Management, etc. He always had a liking towards doing something new something challenging which not only attribute to personal growth but support environment-friendly & greener India drive by the Government, and help in providing employment. The reason that propelled him to dive into the EV segment was the spark that he was looking for years and found it ultimately into the electric vehicle segment.
In an exclusive interview with Climate Samurai, Vikas Gupta shared about the battery manufacturing plan, export, policy and more, here is the excerpt:-
- Tell us about your manufacturing unit (s), is it for three wheelers or two wheelers too? Are the batteries used in these e-bikes manufactured in this facility?
We, e-Ashwa, manufacture a wide range of vehicles in both 2Wheelers as well as 3Wheelers. Battery is a very specialized component, and, currently, we rely on the capability of our trusted partners on the same. In future, e-Ashwa may enter into the manufacture of battery too.
For battery manufacturing e-ashwa will enter into the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries, will be using High-grade cells. Our team is also working on other chemistries.
- Do you export the e-bikes from the manufacturing plant?
Currently, there is no export; however, we are in advance discussion for exporting vehicles to South Asian as well as some African countries.
Also in advanced level with Gulf countries.
- Do you have any plan to expand the manufacturing facility?
It’s a regular feature of e-Ashwa which follows the policy of decentralized manufacturing facilities and we have so far set up 14 units each having 2500 vehicles production capacity each month
- Can you share with our reader about the percentage of the revenue that you put in the R &D, and what kind of vehicle designs you are working on?
We invest 4% of our revenue into the R&D activities and are working on making an electric vehicle at par with any smartphone device apart from continual improvement in the capabilities of the vehicle.
We are Working with institutes for alternate sources of energy to drive our vehicles.
- According to the UN’s 2018 report 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. Rapid urbanization is definitely going to affect the space on the road and create parking space crunch, do you think in coming days Micromobility will be the only solution?
We feel that this is an area wherein Public bodies are more effective in taking actions and aligning resources accordingly; however, as an environment and pocket-friendly vehicle manufacturer, our target is to work on providing a vehicle that suits the need and pocket of every individual.
- Is India ready to embrace the e-bikes? The price tag of e-bikes, unavailability of the charging station and millage has been the major repellent, how you are addressing it or this can be addressed?
Our experience so far suggests that India is ready to embrace e-bikes. India is far ahead of many Asian and European countries in adopting and advancement of electric vehicles and this lead will continue. These bikes are quite priced competitive and slowly and steadily charging Infrastructure is being created.
Our R&D team is continuously working to increase the mileage and so far, we have been able to offer our vehicles with a maximum mileage of 140 Kms in a single charge.
We are working to provide the vehicles in the market having a mileage of 250km with the same space required for batteries. So that charging requirement will itself become half.
- What is kind of market share do you aim to capture in the Indian electric mobility space? Can you share the plans and strategy to capture the market?
We expect to capture at least 15% market share by end of CY 2022. We are working to strengthen our production capacity as well as the Dealer and Distribution network to attain this target.
- It will need rigorous branding and advertisement as you will be competing against the players already existing in the market and the one mushrooming today. What makes your electric three-wheelers and two-wheelers different from others?
Most of the electric vehicles in the country are alike in so far as features, look and feel is concerned and the only thing that makes you stand apart is the selling, service and market proposition used by you. e-Ashwa offers the largest range of vehicles in the market and has a widespread network of after-sale service, repairs and spare parts, components and accessories offering and with this unique proposition e-Ashwa gets an edge over its competitors.
- What will be the major highlights of growth for your company in 2022? Is there any plan to enter the battery manufacturing segment?
In 2021 e-Ashwa has seen a tenfold growth in most of the parameters and we are expecting to have even better growth in the year 2022. We don’t have any plan to enter battery manufacturing at least for the year 2022.
- Share your views on the current Electric Vehicle policy and what changes need to be made to support startups and increase jobs in this domain?
The government has introduced lots of measures to promote electric vehicles but have nearly ignored the core components used in the manufacture of electric vehicles and hence the true benefit of Government policies is still not visible. If Government wants to encourage the production of electric vehicles fully in India, it has to promote the manufacturers of various core components of the vehicles. GST on all the parts and components is another area that needs the attention of the Government.
Providing the indigenous vehicle is itself supporting the vendors for job creation as well as upgrading the automobile sector with future technologies, the bi-product of that is job creation.
- Can we see e-Ashwa incorporating the battery swapping system in their scooters and bikes soon?
Yes, this is very much in pipeline and hopefully, with the beginning of FY 2022-23, we can start seeing e-Ashwa swapping machines in the market.
- What are the most common issues found in EV batteries, how this can be addressed?
The most common issue in EV batteries is the degrading performance with the passage of time. This issue is more with Lead Acid batteries than with Lithium. Our R&D team is working to get a solution to this issue and with the change in architecture/ chemistry, this issue will be sorted out.
- Finally! Globally, governments are backing the use of electric vehicles to cut down on pollution, greenhouse gases and rein global warming. But the use of non-renewable sources of energy in the manufacturing plants or for the charging of the batteries and unavailability of the recycling policies looks completely out of sync with the motive.
This is a very valid question, like many others we are promoting to have usage of solar energy in the manufacturing process as well as charging stations at large, however, such usage at individual households wherein our vehicles are used, is something beyond our control. We are also trying to promote Lithium over Lead wherein recycling is of lesser concern and at the same time, we are working at our level to have some mechanism of proper recycling of even Lithium and other parts at our dealer and distributor network.