There has never been a better time to start an electric vehicle business. Pollution in all of India’s major cities is alarmingly on the rise, and public opinion is strongly backing the need for cleaner, petrol-free vehicles.
No surprises then, that electric mobility startups have come in the fray. And joining them is Rahul Sharma, the co-founder of Micromax.
Rahul recently announced the launch of his company Revolt Intellicorp, which will manufacture AI-powered electric two-wheelers. He said in a release that his company would manufacture India's first AI-powered vehicles.
While currently, the world seems far from having vehicles that can drive by themselves for long distances without human intervention, Rahul is betting on it already. Media reports state Revolt Intellicorp’s facility in Manesar, Gurugram, can manufacture up to 120,000 vehicles per year.
In a press release, the founder of Revolt Intellicorp said, “As a mechanical engineer by qualification, I always found mobility and the expanse of opportunities it offers, very intriguing. There is a colossal need for using technology to disrupt urban commute and make it cleaner and sustainable. I’m doing my bit and I feel this is the right time for every player operating in this space to come together for the greater good of our environment. My vision is to see every household in India have access to sustainable mobility.”
The government today offers a subsidy for electric vehicles priced below Rs 1.5 lakh. The entry of a seasoned entrepreneur like Rahul in the EV space is great news for the industry because it validates that there is a future in this business.
The only question, though, is when the consumer will change the mindset to bet on electric vehicles. The government’s bet is to replace internal combustion engines for good. Going by such a vision, investments in the sector are bound to be huge. Industry sources estimate that to build such a business, it takes investment of over Rs 700 crore.
What the vehicle can deliver is something Rahul would showcase closer to the launch. It took Ather a good four years to get from prototype to launch. To add, the market needs to have the infrastructure ready for mass adoption. Magenta Power plans to set up 450 charging stations across the country, and is among the few offering charging infrastructure. Magenta has 32 charging stations in the Mumbai and Pune region. Then there is Ather, which has close to 32 centres in Bengaluru. The strategy for Ather is to set up the infrastructure first.
Electric Mobility is cool today, but a viable business model and success story in terms of RoI will happen only when there is large scale adoption, which, at the moment, is tilted in favour of petrol vehicles because of investments made over a long time in plant, vendor ecosystems and people in the internal combustion engine world.
Till then, Rahul, and others like him, would need an enormous shift in consumer behaviour and mindset.