Sustainable Mobility startup Dandera Ventures launched its first cargo electric three-wheeler, OTUA on September 9 – World EV Day. With a volume of 183 CC and load carrying capacity of 900 kg, the cargo EV offers a range of 165 km on a single charge, further expandable to over 300 km.
OTUA variants are going to be priced between Rs 3,50,000 to ₹5,50,000 and will also be available on a subscription basis. Pre-bookings have already begun, the deliveries however will begin in the first quarter of next year.
The vehicle is targeted for use by logistics and last-mile delivery companies and will soon be available for retail purchase by individual drivers or owners in select markets across India. To start with, the vehicle will be available in Delhi NCR, Gujrat and Maharashtra.
The startup that first showcased its vehicle in the popular business reality show – Shark Tank has garnered a lot of attention and is a familiar name today. Commenting on the company’s participation in the reality show, Kanav Manchanda, founder and COO, Dandera Ventures said, “Shark Tank was very helpful, we gained a lot of PR as well and the feedback that we get from those stalwarts of the investment world, that was really helpful for us to know that we’re on the right track.”
The last-mile delivery and logistics industry is seeing exponential growth and is set to grow to a $5 billion market over the next couple of years. The industry is consciously moving towards electric vehicles and other sustainable mobility solutions as part of its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. Commenting on how the OEM will plan the split between the capacity expansion and R&D, Kanav told Express Mobility, “we dedicate a fair amount to R&D because we want to launch a vehicle every two years. Dandera will be launching a four-wheeler in January 2023 and have a demo prototype vehicle which will be launched and displayed at the Auto Expo.”
“Beyond that, in the next two years, the company will launch a six-wheeler as well. And going further, we will keep innovating products as we look at bringing a four-wheeler ambulance or five-wheeler vehicle,” Kanav added.
Sarth Jain, Founder of Xponents added, “The launch of OTUA marks a major step in Dandera’s journey to develop a complete ecosystem for the transition of last-mile delivery logistics to electric vehicles, serving the needs for both B2B and B2C logistics. OTUA’s launch has the potential to fundamentally change the way intracity and in-city distribution is executed, and the impact it has on our environment. The team at Dandera will continue to work on design innovation and developing newer technologies for more efficient and widely usable EVs.”
Talking about Dandera’s business model and how the third-party logistics has picked up momentum, Kanav said that the logistics will be a mixture, which is why the company’s process model gives the ability to buy and lease. “Today, a lot of 3PL players want to be asset light, they want to buy the vehicle, they want to either lease the vehicle on monthly basis, or they’re telling you okay give us the vehicle, we will arrange the driver you give the parking infrastructure.”
“At Dandera, the philosophy or vision that our company has is that we want to be a one-stop solution. If you want to buy the vehicle from us, we are ready to give it to you, if you want a fleet from us to be given to the lease. And we’re also setting up parking infrastructures with solar panels as well. So we are trying to be literally a zero carbon footprint venture,” Kanav explained.
OTUA has been designed completely from the ground up as an electric vehicle and is a 100 percent indigenous product, with all parts and components, including the batteries designed and manufactured in India. Dandera Ventures’ R&D division has designed and engineered OTUA’s battery and drivetrain with the single goal of surpassing both end-customer expectations as well as current industry standards.
Commenting on how effective OTUA is when it comes to battery swapping, Kanav said, “we do not actually want battery swapping to be installed in these vehicles because the batteries are heavy and we’re getting really huge batteries. However, a few OEM partners who have intercity transit asked for a swapping station to be placed at their particular facilities and we have agreed to that so we are giving us optimal solutions even as of now.”
India’s commercial EV market has seen rapid growth in recent years. Electric three-wheelers made up 47 percent of all three-wheelers sold in the previous financial year, as per the Vahan database.
The government is supporting the growth of the EV industry through subsidies. As per the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) policy in the FY2023 budget, favourable regulations, and policies, 100 percent FDI approval, increased push for battery R&D and improved charging infrastructure.
As of now, incorporated with the latest policy changes, the startup has already put the vehicles with the new tests and expects certifications from IKEA in a couple of months. The company’s production capacity is already at par and Dandera plans to produce around 100 to 150 vehicles from November onwards and hit the 300 vehicles mark by January 2023.