[YS Exclusive] Bounce confirms acquisition of 22Motors; entry into EV space

In an exclusive interaction with YourStory, Vivekananda HR, Co-founder and CEO of Bounce, confirmed the acquisition of EV startup 22Motors, and its entry into the retrofitted EV space with Zuink.

Soonicorn Bounce is all set to transition completely to an EV startup. Vivekanda HR, in an exclusive conversation with YourStory, said that they have launched an independent entity Zuink focused on retrofitting the existing scooters into electric scooters.

The team has already piloted with a few hundred scooters, and is looking to expand its volumes to over 100,000 scooters this year. He also confirmed that they have acquired the EV startup Twenty Two Motors.

Here are the edited excerpts of the interaction:

YourStory (YS): Tell us about Zuink and how different it is from others in the space?

Vivekananda HR (VH): Zuink is an independent subsidiary of Bounce, as we will be launching our EVs soon and do not want to confuse the consumer. With Zuink, we want to convert the existing IC engine scooters into EVs. The kits are government approved and we will get a green board (license plate) after the conversion. It is an ARA approved kit and runs on swappable batteries.

At Bounce, we have a large battery swapping infrastructure and have done over 400,000 battery swaps. We also have a robust distribution infrastructure. Like petrol pumps, people can find the nearest battery swapping infrastructure, book a battery swap on the app, and pay for the battery. The battery gives a range of 60 km, which is tested and is the actual mileage.

We are also working with the governments of different states for subsidies. We believe this is the fastest way to accelerate into EVs. There already are a lot of petrol scooters, with the increasing fuel prices, it makes sense to turn into an EV. The cost per kilometre is Rs 1.2 for a retrofit. If you take any of the delivery partners, they save close to Rs 4,500 per month.

YS: Tell us about the Twenty Two Motors acquisition?

VH: We have acquired Twenty Two Motors for building our own fleet of vehicles. The new electric vehicle is now in the works. We are going into an OEM play. Here too, people can buy the scooter without the battery, and come back to us for the swapping infrastructure.

We are launching these consumer scooters on November 15. And the delivery will start from January 2022 onwards. We are working on the first plant, and will be starting the second plant soon.

While retrofit is one way, we believe there is an opportunity to sell a new scooter as well. The retrofit helps people convert to electric vehicles without spending much, and many people want cheaper options while buying new scooters.

YS: How does the retrofit happen?

VH: We remove the engine, put in a motor, and then insert different wiring. While the kit costs Rs 27,000, we are charging the consumer Rs 900 a month for the conversion. There is no upfront cost to the users. Consumers can convert their own petrol scooters.

Such a model has been successful in China, and we had an incentive to do it because we have a large fleet. The existing scooters in the market weren't good enough, so we decided to do research and build them ourselves. The team is also looking at outside markets. Also, the batteries are expensive, so we believe that the batteries need to be given as a service. Since we have a battery swapping infra, we can make it easier for people.

We have provided our scooters to a few delivery startups. We have a fleet of over 30,000 scooters, and several delivery players have tried it.

We want to retrofit 200,000 scooters in the next 12 months. And the number is small as compared to the existing petrol scooters. We are doing this for Honda 3G, 5G, and 4G models, and TVS. We are adding vehicles with volumes.

Edited by Kanishk Singh