Story by: Anwesh Koley

Having set up 70 charging and servicing stations in eight charging hubs across Delhi, tech startup Euler Motors is working towards launching an e-three wheeler to carve out a pie of the burgeoning zero-emission last-mile cargo segment. The company is aiming at commercial operations by turning into a one-stop-shop for various corporates as they cater to various customer segments amid rising urbanisation and e-commerce. In early discussions with potential clients, the tech startup, working towards getting the supply chain right and agile, is looking at introducing the e-three wheeler early next year. Gathering certain experience in the area of hardware and software as far as components like the powertrain control system, battery and thermal management system, telematics, etc., are concerned, the company is emphasising on a data-driven approach. Operating around 130 version-one prototype electric cargo vehicles in the NCR region, Euler Motors, according to Saurav Kumar, Co-Founder, and CEO, has already received an order of close to 1000 vehicles from BigBasket, EcomExpress, BlueDart and Udaan among others.

Confident of changing the rules of the last-mile cargo segment by dialing higher efficiency and productivity, Euler Motors, beginning operations in 2018, is extensively monitoring the version-one vehicles to arrive at a solution that is the most efficient and productive; is highly reliable and accustomed to the requirements of the market. Said Kumar, “We are strongly focusing on fine-tuning performance and improving efficiencies regarding last-mile logistics.” “We plan to deploy around 300 additional charging stations by the end of the year. We are also planning to expand to four other tier-one cities soon,” he mentioned. Revealing that their exposure to charging infrastructure is providing them with a good insight into how the e-vehicle market in India is shaping up, Kumar averred that they make a 5.76 kWh lithium-ion battery pack for their vehicles. He did not, however, reveal much about the nature of components or its place of origin. Drawing attention instead on raising Rs.13.81 crore (USD two- million) from investors like Blume Venture, Emergent Ventures and Andrew Lee to set-up a manufacturing and R&D facility, Kumar averred, “We are developing indigenous lithium-ion battery packs and recruiting skilled workforce.”

Current operations
Even as it works on tieing the loose ends to start commercial operations of its cargo e-three wheeler on time, Euler Motors is working on a range extension. The version-one has a range of 80 to 100 km on a single charge as per the load. The maximum load-carrying capacity of the vehicle is 500 kgs. Focusing on building automotive-grade lithium-ion battery pack that could deliver a superior range necessary for intra-city logistics in all-weather conditions, the company is also fine-tuning an innovative business model to support its products as well as operations. Said Kumar, “We believe that an efficient and agile business model will help us to drive demand for electric vehicles in this market.” Keen to leverage its ability to provide charging stations in the NCR region to its business partners, Euler Motors is factoring in the operating conditions and the need for efficient support that it will have to provide to its clients. Partnering with professionals who impart training to drivers for electric vehicles and also provide the technical know-how to service such vehicles, the company as a tech startup, is profiting from less baggage.

Focusing on better integration of technology, according to Kumar, Euler Motors is solely concentrating on the cargo side of the e-three wheeler business. Over an e-rickshaw, the cargo version has its own set of challenges and opportunities. In terms of challenges, there is a need for certain education in terms of leveraging the zero-emission abilities presented by an electric cargo three-wheeler over a conventional machine. Awareness is expected to generate as corporates like BigBasket and BlueDart lash on. Informing that they build their battery packs from ground-up, Kumar explained that the nature of their operation makes it essential that efficiency and agility are an integral part of all that they do of two production units in the NCR region that Euler Motors has, the one in Faridabad, specialises in vehicle assembly, chassis and powertrain development. The other unit at Okhla Industrial Area houses the R&D. The Okhla unit also specialises in battery pack manufacturing.

Long-term strategy
Drawing attention to the long-term strategy of Euler Motors to provide sustainable last-mile transport, Kumar termed the area of their work as highly disruptive. The technology at the core of what we do is itself quite disruptive, he quipped. Of the opinion that the potential is very high, and the current electric cargo three-wheeler space is at a nascent stage, Kumar averred, “A phase where economies of scale will drive innovation and cost reduction will be the defining stage for such vehicles.” “We are working towards it, and would like the adoption of electric vehicles to accelerate,” he added. Stressing upon the challenges that are holding the sector back, Kumar stated, “Our indigenously created battery pack and upcoming innovation in light commercial vehicles will set an industry standard.” Confident that their electric cargo three-wheelers will find wider acceptance with e-commerce players, logistics providers and independent fleet owners alike, Kumar said,”The quest to reach a larger audience that is demanding its terms of the quality of service, and time, will make more and more e-commerce players look at vehicles like ours to power their urban operations.”

Hoping that the next stage would be about automation and connectivity, Kumar explained that a whole new paradigm in the auto industry will shape itself up. It will fuel with it a whole new crop of players, he mentioned. Revealing that Blume chose to do business with them because they understood its TCO expectations, Kumar averred, “We have built a product and a business model around it that is way ahead of others in India.” Demand, said Kumar, is a result of the same. Partnering with agricultural produce (vegetable) supplier like Bigbasket, Euler Motors is accumulating an amount of data that would help shape up its software side of the business to better understand the needs of its clients. It would also provide the needed impetus to scale up the TCO equation around the products that it offers. Looking at e-rickshaws, and if they should develop a relevant product for the respective segment, Euler Motors is currently focusing on the commercial cargo segment. By doing so, they are keen to scale up quickly. Mentioned Kumar. “Currently, we are seeing demand for our products exceed supply,” he added.

A sound approach
Focusing firmly on key parameters like quality, performance, and price, Euler Motors has invested in skill upliftment. It is of the firm belief that success will ride on the availability of skilled manpower. In the area of battery tech, the company is taking a ground-up approach. It is the same with addressing the infrastructural bottlenecks. Developing in-house competencies and strengthening the R&D from time to time to reduce costs, the electric vehicle manufacturer is striving to seamlessly integrate technology like telematics, IoT, and GPS to empower safe and secure operations. Informed Kumar,” We concur with the government’s decision to introduce EVs on a priority. It was necessary to reduce the roll-out time for electric vehicles and ensure their faster implementation. “A typical product life cycle takes about five years from conceptualisation to the final product rolling out of the assembly line. Our challenge was to reduce this time to around two years, as the pollution levels have already reached alarming levels,” he added.

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