Up until a couple of years ago, the electrical Vehicle (EV) industry was riddled with several doubts and questions regarding the feasibility of infrastructure, and lack of incentives or policies that would boost the industry. However, post 2018, it’s seen the formation of favourable policies and a subsequent boom in EV startups. According to data by the Society of Manufacturers of electrical Vehicles (SMEV), there was a 20% rise in domestic sales of EVs, despite the challenging financial year of 2020.
The body further outlines that although EVs bring but one per cent of the entire vehicle sales in India, the industry is predicted to rise to five in the foreseeable future. Thanks to some policies for EV adoption, like the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP), Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles (FAME) Scheme, and income tax rebates, several EV companies are flourishing within the Indian market.
Besides thriving, EV companies, especially those making E-cycles, also are introducing technically advanced vehicles with cutting-edge features like reverse gears, theft alarm, and side-stand sensors. They pride oneself in upholding values of green mobility, while being cost-friendly and suitable for Indian roads and other people .
One such startup, targeting customers who are looking to form a shift to more sustainable lifestyles, is Pune-based Nexzu Mobility, started by Atulya Mittal in 2015. The venture, which was previously named Avan Motors, sells e-cycles and e-scooters.
Atulya, a Harvard graduate school alumnus, was an investor at Papa John’s India, one among India’s largest pizza chains. He was stunned when he couldn’t find affordable scooters for deliveries, especially within the EV segment. Thus began his tryst with electric scooters and finding answers to real bottlenecks that made EV adoption challenging.
The next thing he knew, he was aggressively researching the basics of EVs, market opportunities, supply chain, manufacturing parts.
“At first, once we started exploring this market, there was little or no specialise in the world . It was 2015, and hardly anyone, maybe apart from a couple of companies, were performing on electric two-wheelers in India. The first challenge was finding adequate relevant market information to make a view on whether this concept had legs,” Atulya tells.
Atulya further underlines how their EV model not only benefits owners thanks to affordable costs, but also adheres to environment-friendly guidelines.
For example, the driving cost of an EV is Rs 0.2/km, against the fossil-fuel guzzling vehicles that cost 1.5/km. “On the charge of Rs 10, our e-cycles can run 150 km and scooters for 45 km. For Rs 50, the cycles can run up to 1,000 km,” says Atulya.
With fewer parts, the made-in-India cycles are low-maintenance, thus saving more costs. Most importantly, they will be charged anywhere, using basic sockets that phones or laptops do.
“Our electric cycles are designed, engineered, and made in India. So Nexzu helps shape the Indian electric mobility industry by pushing local manufacturing and development in India,” Rahul Shonak, COO, Nexzu Mobility, tells.
Features of the e-cycles
- Priced between Rs 31,983 and Rs 42,317, the e-cycles were launched just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit India.
- The electric bicycles are fitted with a 36-volt, 250-watt brushless DC motor and 26-inch nylon tyres.
- The e-cycles have two variants, Rompus+ and Roadlark.
- With a life cycle of 750 charges, both the cycles take 3-4 hours for a full charge.
- While Roadlark can run for 80 kilometres on a single charge, Rompus+ can go over 30 kilometres.
- Roadlark has a range of 65 km in pedal mode and 55 km in throttle mode. Rompus+ has a range of 25 km in pedal mode and 20 km in throttle mode.
- Roadlark comes with two batteries, one detachable and on installed in-frame.
- Accessories come as a part of standard fitment. This includes two sturdy mudguard (front and rear), lights, dual disc (front and rear), wheel reflectors, rear reflectors and horns
- The motor and battery offer 18-months warranty.
With a presence of over 70 dealers across India, customers can either book the cycles via them, or head over to the website for online purchase.
The company’s plant in Chakan in Pune features a capacity to manufacture 50,000 bikes per annum . “At our current trajectory and growth trend, we expect to be maxed out at this facility within the coming months, which is once we will start to expand,” says Atulya.
Dr Ritu Singh, a teacher at Government College, Noida, says Nexzu’s e-cycle may be a feasible solution for her. “When I heard about Nexzu’s cycles, i used to be delighted at the prospect of hassle-free mobility. In today’s world, when petrol prices are rising to Rs 100 per litre, EVs are the sole solution. I never realised riding a cycle might be so effortless, and feel a way of pleasure and pride when I’m on the road,” she tells.
Meanwhile, Maria Mendizabal, CEO at MBM Associates from Delhi, says, “I am hooked in to the necessity of a balanced lifestyle and Nexzu electric cycle mirrors my ethos because it may be a perfect balance between being eco-friendly and cost-effective.”
Overcoming challenges & future plans
Apart from gathering information within the initial period, the most important learning curve for the corporate was finding its way into the auto industry. Although they took help from industry experts to deal with this issue, there remained certain things that weren’t in their hands.
One example was when FAME II replaced FAME I overnight. “With the introduction of FAME II, strict localisation norms changed overnight. We had to re-engineer our entire pricing structure and for about three months, the market was entirely quiet. However, as a result of FAME II, we see the local supply chain developing rapidly, so a replacement challenge has been on how quickly we will localise,” says Atulya.
Coronavirus posed a challenge also . Their dealer network, factory and offices were shut. in order that they took alternate routes, worked remotely and identified areas to strengthen the corporate .
“Looking back, annually has brought a minimum of one existential crisis for the corporate . However, each time, we emerged stronger. Each of the grey clouds had an enormous bright side . We’ve had many trials by fire as a really young company, which provides me tremendous confidence that as we grow, we’ll make our mark on the industry,” he adds.
Despite the challenges, Nexzu Mobility has effectively made its mark and established a robust presence in India’s green mobility segment over the years. The corporation aims to capture international export markets and also introduce new products, including two premium e-cycles within the near future. During a bid to simplify access to Nexzu’s products, the corporation will soon go survive online platforms like Amazon, Paytm, Choosemybicycle and BikeForSale to sell e-cycles.