What do Dyson and JSW Energy have in common? Both the companies made surprise announcements to enter into the electric vehicle (EV) business, and both exited after realising it wasn’t commercially viable to continue with their plans. Earlier this week, RR Global, the $800-million electrical industry conglomerate, announced it is entering the electric two-wheeler space under the brand name BGAUSS, which will be a range of premium electric scooters designed for urban and developing areas. The company will roll out two products with a total of five variants in the Indian market to begin operations. “We are working in this space for 22 months,” says Hemant Kabra, director, RR Global, and founder & MD of BGAUSS. “I agree that entering an electric four-wheeler space is tough, but electric two-wheelers are a low-hanging fruit.” What gives him confidence is the fact that in an EV the most important parts are circuitry and electronics, and RR Global has been in that business for 35 years. “We understand the product very well—the motor, controller, AC/DC, lights, battery, all of these. We have developed our own motor and controller, which is the heart of any EV. This will give us forward integration,” he adds.
At the same time, an EV is much more than the sum of its parts. “We understand the service and distribution network. In the wire and cable business (RR Kabel), we have more than 6,000 dealers and distributors, and run 300 service centres. This gives us confidence on the servicing part. On the product we have complete confidence. The distribution network is in place,” Kabra says. “It’s a well-thought foray. Even our first product will be a high-speed one, not low-speed.”
The manufacturing and assembly of its electric scooters has already begun at its plant in Chakan, near Pune. In the initial phase, the company plans to produce 80,000 units in financial year 2020-21. “This foray also strikes a chord with the whole atmanirbhar idea the Prime Minister talked about,” Kabra adds. “We need a little time, and a certain volume, and India can be atmanirbhar in the EV space as well.”
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