Lowering dependence on imported electric vehicle components to drive Altigreen’s big India plans

Apart from building its own EVs as well as specific powertrain solutions, Altigreen will also showcase its upcoming products and technologies at the Auto Expo 2020.

By: | Updated: September 15, 2019 1:47 PM

Altigreen Solutions is a Bangalore-based start-up that is the recipient of multiple awards. Altigreen, at the moment, provides solutions to OEMs based on their requirement for an electric or hybrid powertrain. Notable OEMs have approached the company and are in talks with them. We happened to have a chat with Amitabh Saran, the founder of Altigreen on the company's vision.

Express Drives (ED): Who are the investors and how much investment has gone into the company?

Amitabh Saran (AS):  Altigreen is backed by professional investors from India and abroad. Fiscal prudence has been key for our success – my strong believe that startups do not fail because of starvation, they fail because of indigestion! Since inception in 2013, we have accomplished all our goals in under US $10 million.

ED: More information on the team

AS:  Apart from the founders, whose background you will find on our website and other Google links, we have a strong team of very seasoned professionals from top organizations of the country like L&T, John Deere, Qualcomm, Bosch and the like. With numerous years of experience each, they have chosen Altigreen in a career growth path. They are given the freedom to explore their creative side by designing, developing and delivering world class products which ensure customer delight, in India, for India!

ED: What is the core expertise of Altigreen and how much can you diversify if there is a requirement?

AS: Our core expertise is in building electric vehicle (EV) solutions: powertrains/drivetrains and vehicle connected software – the heart and brain of any EV. In other words, we design, develop, test, and manufacture electric motors, power electronic / inverters, motor controllers, ML-based vehicle control units, DC/DC converters, high-efficiency electric gearboxes, and a full-stack telematics software with mobile and web application. This expertise has translated into 17 patents that have been granted to Altigreen, in US, Europe, Australia, South Asia & Africa. This expertise has found applications in 2-wheelers, 3-wheelers, 4-wheelers, and tractors – both as full-electric vehicles, and as hybrid-electric, where we have built EV solutions from 2kW to 40kW!

ED: We understand that you are working with several OEMs and at the same time also have your own products? How does it balance out

AS:  As EV drivetrain & solutions providers, we have demarcation in vehicle segments – some segments we own ourselves through innovative offerings, and some as Tier 0.5 partners to OEMs. We maintain this exclusivity as a matter of principle.

ED: Any upcoming new products or projects that you are working on?

AS: Altigreen’s vision is carbon-free transportation. Over three lakh people lose their lives early, every year, in India alone, due to poor air quality related to road-transport. Altigreen was created to change this by building efficient electric vehicle solutions that can compete both in price and performance with conventional fossil-fuel vehicles.

The current focus of the company is on smaller format electric vehicles (2-wheelers, 3-wheelers and small-commercial 4-wheelers). Even while working for OEMs, Altigreen’s eye is on the end-customer, e.g., the auto-rickshaw driver in the case of a full-electric 3-wheeler. Our EV solutions enable them to earn more, while ensuring a more pleasant driving experience – both for the driver and the passenger. A host of new features are included in each 3-wheeler, similar to the more expensive EVs, be it be a tightly coupled electric axle or an IoT based digital cockpit! We have a host of similar innovations for electric 2-wheelers and electric SCVs, having developed these solutions grounds up, based on end-user need and prevailing environmental constraints of India.

ED: How soon will we see a product from Altigreen in the future? You have access to the right technology too. Any estimated cost for the vehicle?

AS: We are an EV solutions company, enabling OEMs and end customers alike, to enjoy the benefits of electrified drives. However we have no interest in making a better mousetrap or straying too far from our areas of core expertise. Technologies are moving rapidly just like a treadmill, and you have to run (innovate) to keep pace, or risk being left behind. We do hear a lot of direct customer requests and strongly believe that EVs, with their simpler construction, will allow manufacturers to create more customized offerings, based on user needs. Altigreen is always pushing the limits of innovation and working on new things along with our ecosystem partners – we expect that some of these will translate into “game changing” offerings in 2020-21.

 

ED: How much of your technology is developed in-house?

AS: 100 per cent - all designs, concepts, prototypes, product development, product engineering, testing, and assembly is done by Altigreen. The IP is all owned by Altigreen. With 17 global patents granted to Altigreen, we are truly a “Made in India” success story – long before FAME (subsidy) forced other manufacturers to comply albeit very slowly. Needless to say, we are ably supported by an ecosystem of partners for very specific areas, like die-cast manufacturing or 3rd party testing.

ED: The government's new found interest in EVs is said to have disrupted your hybrid conversion projects. How much of a success did you have with the hybrid project and was moving on to full EVs an easier task?

AS:  We would not have been where we are today had it not been for our HyPixi hybrid offering. For starters, Altigreen challenged the status quo by claiming, and then proving, that hybrid electric technologies could be democratized for the benefit of the larger population reeling under severely poor air quality. You must realize that even in the case of HyPixi, what we built was a full-electric drivetrain, driven by a power-source that was charged only by our unique implementation of KERS. Since the challenges were multifold as a retrofit, working alongside a combustion engine, Altigreen was forced to innovate, in very very unique ways, for our motors, power electronics, control systems, battery packs, BMS and overall vehicle tuning & controls. All these learnings have resulted in the high-efficiency EV solutions that we are delivering today.

ED: Is it more profitable and easy in terms of working with OEMs for 3-wheelers, 4-wheelers than 2-wheelers?

AS:  Every application is unique. Every OEM is different. Profits are a combination of margins and volumes. We love ‘em all!

 

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