Kinetic Green plans to follow affordable engineering model for light EVs

Sulajja Firodia Motwani, founder and chief executive officer, Kinetic Green
Kinetic Green is planning to follow an affordable engineering model on its path to light electric mobility.

The company, which began with electric three-wheelers and golf carts and has added two-wheelers to its portfolio, will be tapping the last-mile connectivity demand. 

Speaking to Business Standard, Sulajja Firodia Motwani, founder and chief executive officer, Kinetic Green, said during the pandemic people opted for electric vehicles (EVs), which are good for the environment, but localisation plans of some companies had been affected because they were too busy protecting their business at the moment. 

“Our company has localised because we have expertise and our own facilities but many other companies have not been able to complete their localisation plans,” she said.

According to Motwani, the cost-benefit and technology structure, along with the green agenda, is making EVs the future of the automotive world.

She, however, cited a difference in approach in the Indian push for EVs and said it was unlike the United States, where Tesla was making a splash.

In India, 85 per cent people travel in two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and buses. Only 10-15 per cent can afford cars, she said.

“The government had rightly decided to electrify public transport, three-wheelers, and two-wheelers. This way electric vehicles can not only benefit society as a whole because they will reduce pollution but, more importantly, the cost of transportation will come down. For a developing country like ours, it makes sense to electrify mass transportation.”

According to Motwani, emphasis on electrification in this segment has another advantage. Since two- and three-wheelers operate within the city, they do not need much charging infrastructure. They can be charged once and then used.

“If you electrify this segment you create a scale, which will help in creating charging infrastructure. And create the next level of electrification, which is car, so this is the direction for electrification which is clearly evolving in India.”

Motwani said: “We started the company when there was hardly any policy, clarity, supply chain, and technology. We not only built a profitable business but worked closely with all stakeholders to contribute to policy formulation and promote the movement of green mobility for masses.” After making around Rs 350 crore in the last few years, the company is looking at a top line of Rs 200 crore in 2021-22 if there is no lockdown.

The company would not move into car manufacturing and heavy vehicles. Additionally, it is looking to tap the global market with high-end golf carts and off-road electric vehicles along with the Lamborghini family. She said the company’s joint venture with Tonino Lamborghini will leverage Kinetic Green's existing R&D as well as manufacturing facilities in Ahmednagar, which produces battery-operated vehicles such as e-autos, e-carts and buggies. The joint venture is eyeing Rs 500 crore revenue over the next four to five years, and garnering a 2.5 per cent of the total global market pie.

She said the company would make vehicles which are for the masses and provide last mile connectivity for goods and people. “We will not enter the car, bus or truck segment. We look  forward to being leaders in the light mobility space because as a company we are strong in it and our expertise lies in affordable engineering. There are many synergies in it,” she said. Besides, the brand is well known in this segment among the middle class and youth.

On the cost of EVs, Motwani said it was a new technology and developing. Initially, a new technology is expensive but then the pace of innovation increases and there is mass production. Government support also comes in because it is a better technology. “Then a stage comes when price also falls. EV is at a stage where momentum is taking place and the battery cost is rapidly coming down with a pack costing from $800 a kilowatt/hour to $180 per kilowatt. Even from here on, we expect 10-15 per cent reduction in battery price every year,” she said.

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