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Friday, February 3, 2023

Motovolt targets Indian cities & villages with affordable transport options

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Motovolt provides low-cost and sustainable transportation options to cities and rural areas across India.  The Kolkata-based e-mobility startup was founded by  industrialist Tushar Choudhary.

Ex-co-founder of Himadri Speciality Chemicals, a publicly traded company, Tushar Choudhary noted how China has utilised e-mobility solutions during his regular travels there.

Back home, Tushar witnessed how the poor struggled with travelling, frequently transporting products over long miles on bicycles. Tushar was sure that nothing would work better to tackle India’s last-mile problem than the omnipresent bicycle.

He launched Motovolt in December 2019 with one goal in mind: to manufacture e-bikes that work for the whole Indian population and transform the way people travel.

Motovolt, established in Kolkata, specialises on electric motorcycles and two-wheelers that go at less than 25 kmph and require less than 250W of electricity. The firm intends to serve an underserved market in India’s urban and rural areas by providing economical and sustainable commute solutions.

Tushar explains, “We established Motovolt with the objective of developing and designing smart e-mobility solutions that positively influence lives throughout communities and contribute to a sustainable future.”

According to Tushar, everyone understands that e-mobility is the future, but solutions must be accessible to the average man for broad adoption in a country like India. The firm provides a variety of e-cycles suitable for usage in urban, suburban, and rural areas.

He says, “Motovolt’s cheap e-mobility solutions provide cutting-edge technology and features.”  Hum (India’s first multi-utility e-cycle), ICE (a foldable e-cycle), Kivo (for urban commuters), Kivo Easy (another e-cycle), Kivo 24 (with a 24-inch wheel for a pleasant ride), and URBN are the startup’s six products with 45+ versions (a smart e-bike that does not need a licence or registration since the top speed is capped at 25 km per hour).

The e-cycles cost between Rs 28,400 and Rs 43,000, while the e-bikes cost between Rs 49,999 and Rs 55,000.

According to Tushar, despite the fact that 90% of Indians commute by bicycle, two-wheeler, or public transit, e-bikes do not appear to be an alternative “because of Indian roads.” He says that, despite the numerous businesses attempting to enter the electric two-wheeler sector, there remains a significant gap in terms of economical and durable e-bikes.

According to Allied Market Research, the worldwide electric bike market will reach $118.66 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 10.5% between 2020 and 2030.

According to Tushar, the URBN is a next-generation smart e-bike built for the Indian market.

He says, “The zero-emissions e-bike embodies the ambitions and confidence of the modern Indian youth. It is the best choice for today’s generation because it does not require any license/registration and comes with a slew of features. Our company is seeing double-digit growth. As a result, we may witness adoption taking place.  Because this is a new category, awareness is still low, therefore overall development is not seen in all sectors.”

When it comes to buying an EV, most clients have one question: ‘How will I charge it?’

Motovolt has addressed this issue by providing replaceable batteries that are easy to charge “anywhere and anytime”.

The Motovolt app includes a variety of user-friendly functions such as position tracking, system health updates, battery performance monitoring, ride information, air updates (carbon dioxide emission savings, fuel consumption savings), roadside help, and more.

It also provides a cost recovery computation and predictive analysis (in case of a functional issue). There are four riding modes on the e-bikes: conventional pedal, throttle, pedal assist, and cruise mode.

In cruise mode, the rider may choose their preferred pace and ride without having to use the throttle or pedal. The battery pack/battery management system is designed with Indian roads in mind.

The founder and core team bring with them an in-depth expertise about the lithium-ion business (since Himadri Chemicals is a raw material provider for this sector) and have built a “one-of-its-kind battery”.

The batteries are assembled and tested at the Taratala Plant in Kolkata, and they go through many rounds of testing to assure safety and optimal performance. In addition, the business has established a design and development centre in Bangalore. “Technology continues to be our primary priority.

Tushar explains, “Motovolt Transportation’s objective is to deliver smart, technologically sophisticated, sustainable mobility solutions for every section of society.”

Funding and business model

Motovolt employs both online and offline sales techniques, as well as a B2B sales presence. It now has over 100 physical touchpoints, including exclusive dealer locations and multi-brand outlets.

To reach a larger client base, the firm also employs its own ecommerce platform as well as sites such as Amazon, Flipkart, and CSC Grameen E-Store.

Since its inception in early 2020, the firm has sold 10,000 e-bikes in both urban and rural locations. Bookings for e-bikes have now begun. It intends to expand its distribution reach from 100+ physical touchpoints to more than 250 by the end of fiscal year 22-23. It also intends to offer e-scooters in the near future.

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