How Euler Motors is using EVs to power last-mile delivery for large firms

The year-and-a-half-old start-offers electric three-wheelers that corporate clients like DHL, Big Basket, Ecom Express and several others use for last-mile delivery
India's attempt to push the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) has opened a floodgate of opportunities for start-ups working in this space towards creating the building blocks for its success. 

While players like Ather Energy and a handful of established auto-makers are making e-scooters and cars for passengers (PVs), Euler Motors, a year-and-a-half-old start-up is looking at solving last-mile delivery and logistics through EVs. The Delhi-headquartered enterprise, which is backed by Blume Ventures, offers electric three-wheelers that corporate clients like DHL, Big Basket, Ecom Express and several others use for their last-mile delivery. Given that EVs have short-range, typically less than 100 km, they are better suited for use in a smaller radial areas, typically intra-city.

Saurav Kumar, founder and chief executive officer at Euler Motors says the offering has found a product-market fit. The company has, for the past 6-8 months, been using about 100 self-manufactured electric three-wheeler prototypes to make deliveries as part of a dozen pilot projects currently underway for different clients.

Kumar has had a penchant for motorised vehicles, essentially robots. Though he studied computer science at Delhi College of Engineering and later at Cornell University, he had worked on robots -- from unmanned aerial vehicles to underwater surveyors -- at school and colleges. So, electric mobility came as a natural progression for him.

In the first stage, Euler is offering EVs for hire, in what Kumar calls ‘mobility-as-a-service’ that covers maintenance and support and charging. This gives customers a sense of how the adoption of EVs works for their businesses. “By next year, we will launch the EV three-wheelers that our customers can buy and maintain on their own,” says Kumar. The ultimate plan is to expand into fully-electric three- and four-wheelers, aimed at the commercial market.

Having started the company in April 2018, it is a massive feat for Kumar to roll out 100 EV prototypes on the roads in such a short frame of time. He says his company did not have to worry about how the vehicle looked, or how it was being branded, as long as it accomplished the task of delivering loads. Euler Motors operates two manufacturing units in the National Capital Region.

“We are a start-up, so we only had 18-24 months to roll out a product and see if it worked,” says Kumar. In the meantime, Euler Motors has created about 70 charging stations and partnered with service centres for maintenance. 

Two things stand out for Euler Motors: one, it started by solving for a select class of customers, those in e-commerce, logistics and courier, and utility companies. “Solving for one ecosystem”, says Kumar. Secondly, as Euler Motors is building EVs ground up, a lot of the tech going into the vehicles is proprietary and built in-house. 

The start-up has developed lithium-ion battery packs using architecture it created in-house, tech systems for temperature management, road condition optimisation and back-end software to power the vehicles. The current model of the cargo electric vehicles can cover 80 km on a single charge with a capacity to carry 500-Kg loads at a speed of 25 Km/hr. The battery system in the vehicle takes three hours to get fully charged. 

"We understand the challenges of the sector, but we believe that our indigenously created battery pack and upcoming innovation in the light commercial vehicle will set the industry standard. This will help e-commerce companies, logistics providers and independent fleet owners,” Kumar says.

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