Anil Ananthakrishna, Founder and Chairman, Ekovehicles Pvt Ltd

15th Jan 2009
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In Hard Times, Charles Dickens famously described the classroom as an "inclined plane of little vessels then and there arranged in order, ready to have imperial gallons of facts poured into them until they were full to the brim".


Education as a whole can be viewed as one of the greatest rites of passage for a human being in the modern world. The holistic nature of institutional education helps us make that transition from childhood to adulthood to eventually becoming a working professional. However, a large portion of students leaving the world of books and exams usually emerge clueless about the road ahead. Such was the story of Anil Ananthakrishna when he completed his engineering back in 1973. No one, not even Ananthakrishna himself, could have imagined that his engineering background when coupled with his passion for gadgetry would result in the world famous brand Ekovehicles.


From the very beginning, Anil had a creative bent of mind which saw him create proto types for digital consoles as well as centrifugal oil purifiers. Interestingly, during the Indian oil crisis of 1973, Ananthakrishna found that his centrifugal oil purifier design was a big success in the markets as it helped the consumer limit oil wastage.

Noticing his son's creative mechanical aptitude, the Late Mr.A.K.Ananthakrishna and his friend Dr.C.B.Shaw, the distributor of Hero Cycles in South India handed the young engineer the challenge to produce an electric cycle like those available in the United States. Anil's father had the gift of foresight. He foresaw all the problems related to the rising levels of air pollution and predicted that future generations would have to look at alternative fuel options or deal with toxic levels of air quality. Moreover, this futurist believed that healthy transportation was a viable option and could prove to be a cost effect option for one and all. 

With these words ringing in his ears, Anil took the decision to dedicate his life to the pursuit of an alternative vehicle. The ongoing support of his father meant that Ananthakrishna was allowed to focus on research and development instead of doing a regular 9-5 job. This strategy would soon pay rich dividends as our entrepreneur would one day go on to develop his own eco-friendly two and four wheel vehicles. His accomplishment has revolutionized the transportation industry and, more importantly, turned his father's dream into a reality.


As Anil went about describing his early flirtations with eco-friendly vehicles our creative cells went into overdrive as we relived the scene from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang where the incredible Caractacus Potts worked feverishly night and day until he rolled out his shiny, new creation from his shed! While Mr.Ananthakrishna's inventions may not sail the high seas or soar among the clouds like the car in the film, they did have other similarities. For example, while building his very first invention Anil resorted to nabbing the battery from his father's Austin to power his Electro bicycle! Fortunately, Anil always had the backing of his peers and Dr.Shaw even offered the young inventor a few of his cycles for his early electric prototypes. With the news of Anil's early success, several companies like AIMCO batteries, NEC batteries, Global batteries began inundating him with offers.

 

The first working model could cover 8/10 km range with speed of 10-15kms. However, the challenge now was to strive for better statistics and to turn this design into a true engineering miracle. As the days passed, the development phases turned into road trials and that meant taking the invention to the streets of Bangalore. On one such run, a traffic policeman suddenly noticed the figure of a man cruising past on an unusual mobile which seemed to run without petrol. How could this be? Anil was immediately stopped as there was no legal provision for such an oddity. Thankfully, the Transport Commissioner ruled in his favour and allowed Ananthakrishna to continue with his experiments on the road. Despite the backing of the Commissioner himself, Anil would encounter another daunting hurdle that would lead to another great life changing decision. While trying to register his invention under the Motor Vehicle Act he found that he had reached a dead end as the State Government did not have any provision to legalize such a vehicle and, hence, his application was rejected.


But that did not deter this passionate entrepreneur as he soon shifted base to Germany where he was warmly welcomed to carry on with his experimentation and even set up a facility. While still in Germany, he was also invited to several other countries promising aid including the Netherlands, Canada, the United States and Mexico. Anil Ananthakrishna was now a globe trekker shifting from one corner of the globe to another and building bridges with various R&D departments to aid his project. There finally came a time when his machine was complete. This signaled the beginning of the next phase: making the vehicle commercially viable. If there is one thing we learnt during our time with Mr.Ananthakrishna, it was the fact that there was no obstacle large enough to keep him from his goals and sure enough he managed to market his designs as well.

Recognition came from every imaginable avenue and quarter. In fact, you can actually retrace his steps through his chronicled achievements all over the globe at www.ekovehicle.com


In the year 2004, having turned his father's dream into a commercially viable alternative, Anil finally decided to shift base back to his motherland. This entrepreneur wanted his own countrymen to share that very dream in a greener, healthier, pollution-free India. To do this, Ekovehicles restructured the price range to accommodate the product amongst the middle and lower middle income group. Business was good. In fact, it was booming!


But can a relentless entrepreneur ever relent? Apparently, no. Anil feels that the momentum has just picked up and he is looking at taking his venture up a notch – making cost effective three wheel, pollution-free vehicles for Indian roads. The expansion plans do not end there for he also wants to release more designs and sell larger volumes of existing two wheel vehicles.


Impressively, Anil Ananthakrishna has managed to get the government to allocate a unique ElectroVehicle Zone. The ElectroVehicle Zone is all-compassing system comprising of eco-friendly vehicle manufactures, component makers, designers and anyone connected to such products. After all, if we can have an IT zone and various SEZs then we must also promote ElectroVehicle Zones!


YourStory is honoured to share the inspirational, touching and powerful tale of Mr.Anil Ananthakrishna and Ekovehicles. We urge the entrepreneurship community to subscribe to this entrepreneur's steadfast spirit and never say die attitude. Always remember, where there is a will, there is a way! We will continue to track the progress of Ekovehicles as Anil carries forth his father's legacy for years to come. Be green. Be healthy.

To end this story, we shall leave you with Anil's vision statement - To Promote Environment Consciousness and Create a Pollution free atmosphere for the present and generations to come.

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