How Micromax Co-founder Rahul Sharma wants to win the two-wheeler EV race with Revolt Intellicorp
Rahul Sharma, Co-founder of homegrown mobile handset maker Micromax, has switched gears and entered the race in the EV space with his new venture, Revolt Intellicorp.
The Gurugram-based company, which unveiled its first AI-enabled electric motorcycle RV400 in June, aims to make personal mobility practical, affordable and sustainable. Keen to disrupt the EV industry, Rahul believes that India is ready to make the green switch. And that Revolt is leading the way.
The RV400 comes with features and services designed to make it a crowd pleaser. It runs on lithium-ion batteries, and has an Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) certified range of 156 km on a single charge. It offers a top speed of 85 km/h in the Sport mode, and has an Eco and a City mode for better range.
The bike can be operated through the Revolt App, which offers connectivity features such as bike locator, doorstep battery delivery, mobile swap stations, anti-theft, and sound selection and preview, among other utilities. The mode settings can also be toggled from within the app. Pre-bookings started on June 25 through the company's website and on Amazon, and the RV400 is expected to hit the road by September.
In an exclusive interview with YourStory, Rahul Sharma reveals why he decided to enter the smart vehicle market, how he is using his experience at a mobile company to change the mobility market, and how the RV400 differs from other EVs.
Edited excerpts of the interview:
YourStory: When and how did you decide it was time to move on from Micromax? What made you start Revolt?
Rahul Sharma: I am still a part of Micromax, but my focus is solely on Revolt now. I always found mobility and the expanse of opportunities it offers very intriguing. Being a tech guy, I could see both the worlds merge - the electro-mechano space coupled up with seamless telematics and the data-driven business in favour of the consumers.
Just the thought got me thinking. Making a motorcycle that provided consumers with better e-mobility options was my personal dream.
YS: Tell us a little bit about how Revolt came into being.
RS: In the last 20 years, there has been no major disruption in the two-wheeler space. The new-age consumer hates making compromises, and this became our first point of consideration while conceptualising our products.
After going through the available options in the market, we decided to create a motorcycle using an alternate source of energy, without compromising on form factor or performance. Something that was at par or better than a regular ICE (internal combustion engine) motorcycle.
We believe we have the right combination in the form of India’s first AI-enabled motorcycle. We have a team of people with years of experience from different domains. We have great brains from the automotive world; they understand auto solutions very well.
Apart from that, there is a very experienced software team working on the 4G-enabled product. Our R&D team has put in a lot of effort and time in introducing this product. Revolt Intellicorp is the first step in my vision to bring affordable, sustainable mobility to every Indian household.
The RV 400 is tailor-made for new-age motorists who want to stay connected 24X7. Our aim is to transform mobility in India and not just provide an alternative to motorcycles with an ICE engine. With the RV 400, we will bring complete disruption in India’s $21 million two-wheeler market.
It will be a game-changer – way ahead of regular offerings, high on performance and aesthetics, and not a compromise in any way.
YS: It took you two years to launch Revolt. Please tell us what kind of preparations went in for this?
RS: In 2017, I began my travel across the globe as an investor in search of the perfect environment-friendly mobility solution that was not a compromise for the consumer. As a product guy, I was not happy with the solutions available in the market.
That is when I started working on my own venture. I was very clear that the product we develop should have zero compromises on form factor and performance.
Most of the technology used is locally developed - from the Revolt app to the screen and the changeable sound options; in fact, the entire connected ecosystem. We have our own in-house experienced software team based in Bengaluru and Gurugram.
YS: What are the learnings from Micromax that you have applied at Revolt?'
RS: The Micromax background gave our company a sound understanding of technology and what the consumer wants. Our vision was to use this knowledge to create a revolutionary product. We listened to our consumers, put our heads together, and came up with the right solution at the right time.
YS: But why did you choose to transition from mobiles to mobility? More specifically, EVs?
RS: Isn’t that where the entire ecosystem is going? Whether the government imposes a deadline or not, I feel the time is right to make the transformation and start with two-wheelers to change the game.
India is the world's biggest market for scooters and motorcycles, which makes the opportunity for electrification huge. The right policy framework will only accelerate the entire cycle of market development, EV awareness, and infrastructure development. We all know vehicular pollution is a major contributor to the pollution levels in our cities, and I believe zero-emission vehicles are the way forward.
Today, in India, the lack of the right product has been hindering adoption in a big way. Three years from now, things will change rapidly and India will be ahead of the curve in its adoption rate. One cannot expect the switch to EVs if there is a drop in form factor or performance. Once we sort this out, there will be no looking back for EVs.
YS: How many Revolt bikes will be in the market in the next 12 months? What kind of milestones you are targeting after the official launch in August end?
RS: We have a manufacturing facility in Manesar that boasts a production capacity of 120,000 vehicles commissioned for Phase 1. We are looking at capturing double-digit market share in the two-wheeler segment soon. We have got a stunning response after pre-bookings opened.
Within a week, we hit the 2,500-mark and still counting, which we believe is a positive number considering the number of EVs in the market. We are hopeful that demand will definitely increase once the bike is up on the road and running.
YS: What kind of capital is going into the business? Are you looking for investors?
RS: I have invested my personal money into the company to bring it to where it is today. However, we are in talks to kick-start growth capital required to fuel the business.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)