Hey, we are back! Not that we were offline or something, but with another electric vehicle maker. The Shado group has entered the Indian market and merged with Bangalore-based Adarin Engineering Technologies. This merger will help both the companies, in the sense Adarin’s expertise lies in the automotive powertrain and control technology. Shado in the meanwhile provide expertise in battery technology – specifically the ultracapacitor batteries. Shado has a facility in Pune that is spread across 35,000sqft. This factory is capable of producing 1,000 vehicles in a month. As is usually the case, if there is a high demand, production can be ramped up.
The Shado group is funded both by individuals and corporations. The brand aims to invest $10 million over the next two years in India. Ms Kajal Shah (CEO and co-founder Adarin Engineering Technologies), Ben Lim and Saurabh Markandeya (co-founder and co-CEO) are claimed to be the founders of Shado Group. The aim is to manufacture and sell affordable, low voltage and high-performance instantly-charged electric three wheelers. The three-wheeler vehicles come in two types - passenger and cargo variants. Currently, the passenger is priced at Rs 2.2 lakh without batteries. The batteries are available on lease to B2B customers. Speaking of which, the company currently caters to only the fleet market. They intend to be a B2B business, initially targeting the commercial sector. Hence, they tie up directly with companies, such as logistics firms, SMEs, delivery companies, fleet aggregators etc. In the future, Shado will partner with large automotive companies and utilise their dealership network to reach the end-user. With the help of the e-logistics companies, the cost of operation is expected to be lowered by a significant 25-30 per cent.
The initial plan is to sell 300 e-rickshaws per month in the next few months, with plans to scale to 1,000 per month. Shado plans on starting in Bangalore before expanding into other Indian cities. Thereafter the company plans to expand into Southeast Asia and other developing markets. The Shado group provides warranty and service support for the entire projected life of the vehicle - five years. When a customer buys the vehicle, charging infrastructure too is provided which includes on-grid outlets as well as mobile charging stations.
All this is fine, let's talk about the product in question - ERICK. Saurabh says that the complete vehicle will be produced in India. The Pune manufacturing plant will produce motors, transmission, motor controllers and battery packs. The battery cells are presently imported. The e-rickshaw is capable of running 70km on a full charge. It might sound too low given that this vehicle is being sold in 2019. However, if you factor in the 5-10 minutes of charging time from a drop charger that Shado provides, this makes sense. The drop charging station can be a fixed, on-grid point or from a mobile, truck-mounted charging point. ERICK makes use of an ultracapacitor battery that itself uses di-electric material. The latter, Saurabh says, does not produce any chemical reaction (unlike traditional Li-ion batteries). This in turn means they last much longer and charge quicker.
Fleet owners will get an annual maintenance contract from the company and this is extendable to five years. At present, Saurabh says that the ERICK has competition from Chinese products. These Chinese vehicles are typically low voltage but also low performance in terms of load carrying, hill climb and speed. There are other Indian companies too who develop locally assembled EVs using similar imported components with limited success. However, many of these companies are unable to provide adequate after-sales maintenance and support. Furthermore, their technology is relatively expensive and lower quality – their batteries take hours to charge, not minutes, for example. Additionally, other companies are unable to create a true EV ecosystem that will be able to support the mass adoption among both businesses and customers.
Future products, Saurabh says, include electrical vehicles for the agriculture sector. He, however, refuses to divulge further details. At present, a potential customer can experience or book the vehicle through Shado or Adarin websites.