Jaipur-based EV start-up Hop Electric is expecting the sales to grow by up to five times of what it has clocked so far after the launch of its first high-speed two wheeler, the Hop Oxo. The Oxo electric motorcycle, which will be available in two variants, has been introduced at a starting price of Rs 1.25 lakh, ex-showroom.
Ketan Mehta, Founder & CEO, Hop Electric, in an interaction with Express Mobility emphasised on its growth plan driven by the an aggressive target of selling 50,000 electric bikes over the next one year. Here are some excerpts.
How are you planning to address thermal runaway in batteries?
We need to first understand why it has happened. The cells, which are put in the battery are not suitable for Indian conditions, or the battery design, from cell to pack, is not robust enough for Indian roads. The BMS, on the other hand, which is the protection system or the management system is not designed properly.
Also, water is a big problem. If there is any contact of water with the battery; its electrical system, the battery is bound to fail. We have created a battery which solves all these problems and results in a waterproof battery, which we tested in water for 30 minutes. We also put 3G forces on all sides and it performs fine in all Indian conditions.
It’s flameproof. We tested the battery at 400 degree Celsius for 70 seconds and it had absolutely no issue.
The government has recently announced stricter battery norms. Does that mean that you will have to rework your battery before rolling out the bikes in October?
We are already in compliance with them, we just have to make some minor tweaks in our battery. But we are fully ready and compliant with those new standards which have just come forward. Because our initial design itself was from that mindset.
HOP recently raised $2.6 million funding. What part of that have you dedicated towards R&D?
I think a major part of it is for R&D. I cannot give an exact number but a substantial part, like more than 50 percent, was aimed at R&D.
What is your current focus area and operation spread?
We are focused on 12 states in India and will be limited to that only for the next two years. It’s because we have an existing dealership network there and we will try to expand in that same geographical area to cover more districts in cities. At present, we currently have 150 dealerships across India.
How has your sales and production been in the Q1? Do you see growth after the launch of this bike?
So far, we didn’t have a high-speed product. Oxo is our first high-speed product. Our actual RTO-registered sales will actually start happening from October. However, we sold around 3,000 scooters in Q1 this year. With Oxo, we are expecting the sales to grow by up to five times of what we’ve clocked so far.
What does the bike have to take on the established market rivals?
We have around 20 percent bigger battery, more range, better performance as compared to the rivals. We also have a better connected ecosystem. Neuron, for instance, is a whole game changer technology.
Also, we have 4G connectivity, ECU, and a multimedia unit. Moreover, we have speakers on board. Also, with the tech advancements and enhancements in the performance, Oxo is priced lower than the rivals in the market.
What is the sales outlook for FY2023?
In the next 12 months, we want to sell more than 50,000 electric-bikes in the country using both, the online and offline, platforms.