How EV startup Earth Energy is focusing on Made in India products to disrupt the segment
Since childhood, Rushi Shenghani has been passionate about designing and developing vehicles from scratch. Driven by a tremendous zeal towards the EV industry, Rushi began his current venture, Earth Energy, from a room in his college hostel.
Keen to build the most coveted electric vehicle company in India, Earth Energy was launched in the year 2017. “As a brand, we always wanted to make the majority of our drivetrain and power components in-house or localised,” Rushi says.
Before launching, he spent three years understanding the nuances of the EV industry, its business models, and product development techniques.
The 25-year-old entrepreneur started his first startup Ideasplatform.in at a very young age; this was a crowdfunding platform for new and innovative ideas for students and professionals alike. He started his second venture ReviewSabKuch in the year 2015, which was a reviewing website for an array of products, ranging from electronic gadgets to books, to popular software and mobile applications.
With a diploma in mechanical engineering from Mumbai University, and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Pune, Rushi, who holds the title of Founder and CEO, drives the vision, strategy, and growth of the company.
Why Earth Energy?
Rushi was determined to put a dent in India’s automobile landscape by providing localised vehicles with hefty price margins as compared to other key players.
The company manufactures a wide array of power solutions and components for its electric vehicles in-house, making 96 percent localised EVs. The company stands true to the mission of Aatmanirbhar Bharat as India enters the new era of green mobility.
“We are 96 percent localised on our BoM (Bill of Material) level. The only components currently being imported are cells for the battery pack that we make in-house. Our battery management system is designed from scratch, and is being produced by a domestic Automotive Tier I OEM vendor in India. The cells for the light EVs, like scooters, come from a reliable cell producer from China, and those for heavy EVs like motorcycles and LCVs, come from LG/Samsung Korea,” Rushi explains.
In February 2021, the startup launched three electric two-wheelers - GLYDE +, EVOLVE R and EVOLVE X – for the Indian market at a virtual event.
The newly launched range caters to the needs of Indian consumers who are price-sensitive and also wish for world-class mobility vehicles for daily commuting on highways and traffic-induced roads.
Comfort, ease of use, quick charging with adaptive range prediction according to riders’ driving patterns, and many other features at a disruptive range priced between Rs 92,000 and Rs 1,42,000 is what Earth Energy promises with its vehicles, clearly with a view to turning India into an EV nation.
Rushi says all Earth Energy’s vehicles come with a default in-built app for smartphones that helps riders to keep live navigation status, incoming calls/messages alert, trip history, and current destination on-screen. The app also allows a third-party usage model for food delivery agents. The entire order mapping can be easily done on the display screen itself.
The entire range has an automatic headlight-enabled feature for switching between day and night modes. The LCD display helps riders to see battery SOC, real-time range, and TBT (turnabout time) navigation, etc.
The Earth Energy app has been built such that it digitally clones users’ vehicles, and provides up to 270 parameters to diagnose. The app can also be used to book appointments for maintenance services.
According to Rushi, customers can purchase Earth Energy’s EVs from select dealers and distributors; bulk orders can be booked through trade partners across India. The electric two-wheelers will also soon be available on India’s first hybrid e-distribution platform, buyEv.in.
A 7,000 sq ft R&D setup in Vasai, Mumbai, has been set up for production, and the company also produces Li-on battery packs in-house.
“Our strategy to produce battery packs locally turned out to be a great money saver for consumers as prices of vehicles reduced by at least 18-20 percent,” Rushi says.
The Mumbai-based company has a team of 27 experts working on different aspects of brand building.
Funding and future growth
In 2020, the company raised a seed round funding led by LR Joshi, Managing Director of Pranada Biopharma, along with other private equity investors. The funds were raised to facilitate the launch of its three upcoming vehicle models. Previously, the company raised investments from private investors, and was part of the SmartCity Dubai Accelerator Programme in 2018.
Geographically, the startup is expanding from West to South India. “We have initiated sales from Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Alibaug, Vadodara, Surat, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu via select dealerships,” Rushi says.
“We are also establishing public charging stations at dealership centres, which will be accessible to all. Any EV can use our charging station services. Our ideology is to create a sustainable ecosystem for EVs in India. We are aiding the ecosystem by providing more charging stations in the market, which will go hand in hand with increasing the adoption of EVs in the market,” he adds
Earth Energy’s competitors include other smart electric scooter makers in the country, including Ather Energy, Ultraviolette, Okinawa Scooters, Ampere Vehicles, Emflux Motors, Tork Motors, and Hero MotoCorp.
However, what differentiates the startup from the other is that it provides utilitarian features that are actually needed for the vehicles to function.
“Others bring luxury products in the market; the prices are higher than us. Our strategy is to focus on function, not on luxury…that’s why we only provide practical utility train products.”
What comes next?
“We are planning to expand our commercial vehicle segment and are in the final stages to roll out the 1.1-ton capacity commercial vehicle LOAD X soon,” Rushi says. “Our entire product line is manufactured in India by Indians, which provides us with an advantage to sell our products at a very disruptive rate. Our entire range is definitely going to be a game-changer for the EV fraternity,” Rushi says.
Edited by Anju Narayanan