Another day, another EV maker has come to the fore. Techo Electra has been in existence since 2017. So, needless to say, it is a fairly new player in the market. Its founder Prakash Bhootra visited China, saw the infrastructure as well as vehicles over there and was pretty impressed. He realised the immense potential of electric vehicles in India. These vehicles can have far reaching positive effects, apart from being economical compared to the traditional fuel vehicles. Not only this, they can bring in huge savings for a large section of the Indian customer as well. All this in turn will help control and reduce the huge pollution created by one of the world’s largest two wheeler democracy. The huge savings that can be had from reducing the crude import bill for the country is a bonus and will certainly help positively to the economic growth of the country.
At present, Techo Electra sells three scooters in the Indian market and these are the Neo, Raptor and Emerge. There are plans to bring a proper motorcycle with street fighter styling sometime later this year too. We caught up with Prakash for a quick chat over the future of the company and its existing as well as upcoming products.
Lijo Mathai (LM): Have you received investment from outside? If yes, what’s the amount?
Prakash Bhootra (PB): It’s all founder equity and so far $10 lakh have been invested in Techo Electra.
LM: Where is the Techo Electra plant located and what’s the annual production capacity?
PB: It’s located in Chakan, Pune and the current manufacturing capacity is 60,000 vehicles per annum.
LM: Are the vehicles currently being exported or just for domestic consumption?
PB: The vehicles at the moment are being manufactured for the domestic market. There is so much potential and demand here. The company already has enquiries from other international markets and when the time comes, we will fulfill those demands too.
LM: How different are Techo Electra products from let’s say an Okinawa or Ather Energy?
PB: Our products are designed and aesthetically chosen after extensive market study which make them stand out amongst the competitors. Apart from being price competitive, we are offering one of the highest mileage on a single battery pack in respective segment.
LM: Are the scooters designed in-house?
PB: Expert opinions (reputed design houses) have been taken to create the vehicles through design specialists.
LM: Are the batteries sourced or produced in-house and how long do they last in terms of years usage? What do you do with the used batteries and what’s the cost of each battery?
PB: We are using imported batteries from companies that have excellent track record and have been into existence for over 10 years. The battery life is over five years. At the moment, none of the vehicles have crossed that stage (battery replacement). Cost of replacement can vary anywhere between Rs 15,000 to 30,000 depending on the capacity of the battery. Old batteries are recycled. Currently, we have not been able to find local battery manufacturer who can match international quality and standards.
LM: What is the plan for expansion of outlets as well as service centres? Are there specific service plans on offer and what is the cost estimate per service?
PB: Currently we have a network of over 50 dealers spread over various locations of the country to as far as Assam on the east, Bihar on north east, Ajmer on the north west, Vijayawada – down south etc. We are expanding our dealer network regularly to cover as much ground as possible and the plan is to reach at least 200 dealers by the end of 2020-2021. Our existing dealers are trained to be able to offer services. When the customer buys a scooter, he is given two coupons, each worth Rs 200. He can redeem them for future services. The maximum service cost is Rs 500 barring consumables. The customer needs to get his vehicle checked every three months or 3,000km. Roadside assistance at the moment isn’t provided but could be introduced at a later date.
LM: Any new products in the pipeline? Timeline for the same
PB: There are new products and they will be out before March 2020.
LM: What different technologies are being offered?
PB: We are evaluating powertrains from single vendor where we hope to achieve higher power and range. These technologies will likely be implemented in the upcoming products.
LM: Why don’t the vehicles have CBS or ABS? The website doesn’t mention anything on the same
PB: It is a mandatory requirement for all electric vehicles that boast speeds above 25kmph. All our scooters at the moment have CBS. In our upcoming high-end models, we will have ABS too.
LM: Post the announcement of the Union Budget 2019, EVs have received a lot of benefits. Is Techo Electra going to pass this to the customers?
PB: Yes, we have passed on the benefits to the customers. Neo prices now stand at Rs 41,557 as opposed to the Rs 43,967 before. The Raptor is priced at Rs 57,423 from the previous Rs 60,771. The Emerge in the meanwhile is now priced at Rs 68,106 from the previous Rs 72,247. Customers can avail the new prices now.
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