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Energised for growth!

By Niranjan Mudholkar,

Added 16 December 2019

While expanding its expanding its product portfolio and while enhancing its manufacturing capacities and capabilities, Kinetic Green is now considering a Series 1 funding to aggressively build scale and capitalize on its first mover advantage, says Sulajja Firodia Motwani, Founder and CEO, Kinetic Green Energy and Power Solutions

Kinetic Green started in 2015. What has been the vision behind this venture and how has been the journey so far?
We started Kinetic Green Energy and Power Solutions in 2015 with a dream to bring green mobility solution for masses in India. Kinetic Green is the latest venture from Kinetic and Firodia Group. Our vision is to be innovative leaders in the field of affordable green mobility solutions. We at Kinetic strive to create well-engineered yet affordable EVs to bring this technology within the reach of millions so that its impact can reach the society at large.
Today the company stands tall as one of the leading players in electric vehicle space which offers a wide range of battery-operated vehicles such as E-Autos, E-Carts and Buggies. Currently, Kinetic Green provides mechanically superior and technologically smart product portfolio for B2C (retail) and B2B (Business to Business) customers through its nationwide network.

Tell us something about the company's manufacturing capacities and capabilities.
We have our state-of-art manufacturing facility at Ahmednagar in Maharashtra, with an assembly capacity of 3,000 electric 3-wheelers per month. We have successfully designed, manufactured and sold close to 25000 electric vehicles so far.

Tell us something about your supply chain. Is it hundred percent localised?
We have over 90 percent local content in our Electric 3-Wheeler, which is probably the highest in the country and we are aiming to reach 100 percent local content within just a few months. We have taken pioneering steps to develop a local supply chain eco-system for electric three-wheeler which will help not only us, but the entire industry. Our supply chain is built with experienced and reliable automotive parts suppliers and we have helped them to adopt to EV technology.

How strong are Kinetic Green's R&D capabilities and infrastructure?
We are indeed proud to have a robust in-house DSIR recognized EV R&D centre which focusses on designing and developing durable yet affordable range of electric vehicles with a vision to bring this technology and its benefits within the reach of common man. I think it's our R&D team and several decades of automotive experience coupled with deep knowledge of the Indian market that makes us different and puts us ahead of everyone in the EV space. It was the hard work of our R&D teams which helped us to get the recognition of being industry's 1st company to develop ARAI approved electric 3-wheeler and have over 90 percent local content. We are also first in this industry to come up with swappable battery technology.

Can you tell us something about the company's existing product portfolio? Do you plan to expand it in the near future?
The vehicles at Kinetic Green are being indigenously designed and manufactured at our plant in Ahmednagar, near Pune. The vehicles feature significant technology integration, IoT (Internet of Things) capabilities and advanced safety features, including full GPS tracking and sensor capability, with a view to offer a safe, reliable and economical ride experience to its customers.
As far as our product line is concerned, we offer both on road as well as off road vehicles in the small commercial vehicle segment. In on road vehicles we have vehicles in two categories namely, passenger vehicles and utility vehicles. In passenger vehicles we have e-auto rickshaws and in utility vehicles we have vehicles under the name Safar Shakti which can be used as garbage collector and for cafeterias on wheels. These vehicles are also used by e-commerce companies to deliver packages to their customers. In the off-road vehicle category, we have high-end golf carts and electric vehicles which can be used at public places such as airports, resorts, shopping malls. These vehicles can also be used at plants of manufacturing companies to cover the longer distances in the most sustainable ways.
The company has also recently launched new electric vehicle ‘Kinetic Safar Star' for the last mile deliveries and marked its entry into the mid-speed vehicle segment. This vehicle is ideal for transporting goods in cramped, crowded city streets. With current Government's focus on electric mobility I see many new opportunities coming for us in the near future. We will soon launch a high-speed e-rickshaw with a top speed of 55 km as also a high-speed product in the cargo segment.

Battery is the probably the most important factor when it comes to e-mobility. What is your strategy in this aspect?
With increasing mass adoption of EVs, the innovation for higher efficiency lithium batteries has accelerated and cost of battery is reducing day by day. This will make EVs very affordable in the long run.
In the short run, I believe that battery swapping technology will revolutionize the use of E3W in India. It is suitable for three-wheelers due to their route predictability so that swapping stations can be put up in the popular areas and more importantly; removing battery drastically reduces the upfront cost of ownership. We are working with several players for this and we have successfully completed a battery swapping pilot with Ola with a fleet of 100 electric three-wheelers in NCR for the past six months.
As we move forward, we will implement this gradually with more swapping stations and will also scale up the business significantly.

There is obviously a huge scope for collaboration in the e-mobility segment. Are you working or planning to work with some partners in this regard?
Indeed, there is a huge scope for collaboration in the e-mobility segment. Kinetic Green has signed an MoU with Nagpur MahaMetro and Kochi Metro to provide last mile connectivity with e-rickshaws to commuters. The company will be providing its electric 3-wheeler ‘Kinetic Safar' which is ideally suited for last mile connectivity and urban commuting.
We have also tied up with Smart-E to provide our e-rickshaws for Delhi Metro. We received an overwhelming response from Delhi Metro and thousands of people use our e-rickshaws every month. Further, we would like to expand our network aggressively.
We are also collaborating with other aggregators, battery technology companies and other technology providers and charging infrastructure companies towards a rapid creation of an eco-system for EV adoption.
Apart from tapping Indian market Kinetic Green is keenly looking to tap the global market with high end golf carts and off-road electric vehicles along with our JV partner, the Tonino Lamborghini. The JV is eyeing Rs. 500 crore annual revenue over the next four to five years.

Are you also looking to raise more capital to push your organisation's growth?
The company is looking to expand its product portfolio, develop new products along with suppliers and increase the manufacturing capacity at our Ahmednagar plant. To push our organisation's growth, we are in the market for series one funding.
So far, Kinetic Green has been 100 percent promoter funded. We are now considering a Series 1 funding of about $30-40 million as we wish to aggressively build scale and capitalize on our first mover advantage in the electric vehicle segment.

While there is a consistent push from the government for encouraging and promoting electric vehicles, what more do you think the government should do in this regard?
Since last year electric vehicles have gained momentum and government of India is giving a serious push to the clean mobility initiative in the country. The electric vehicle segment is already getting a lot of attention from the government and NITI Aayog. I feel it is indeed a big opportunity for Indian manufacturers which can help them target not only domestic market but also exports.
Recently government has introduced many initiatives to promote electric mobility including reduction of tax rates on electric vehicles from 12 per cent to five per cent, reduction of GST from 18 percent to 5 percent on EV chargers that are required to charge electric vehicles. Another highly encouraging development is the approval and adoption of FAME II: Government's detailed policy to incentivize and support accelerated adoption of EVs. With the FAME subsidy, the price can go down further to ₹50,000-₹60,000. These initiatives have removed policy uncertainties in the electric vehicles segment and paved ways for higher investments and adoption. Therefore, these measures clearly indicate that government has taken right steps in the right direction for a rapid increase in investments in the EV space by the industry and adoption of EVs by the consumers.
I appreciate Government's commitment to lower pollution in our cities and move towards fuel security of our nation. I don't think now Government needs to come up with any more reforms or policies. Now responsibility lies with us when it comes to promoting green mobility. We will now only need support from the government when it comes to setting up the infrastructure for charging stations.

What was your turnover in the previous fiscal and what number are you looking at for the current one?
The company reported FY19 revenue at ₹61 crore and is expecting a revenue of about ₹200 crore by the end of FY20.

What kind of targets are you looking at for the next two years?
Green mobility for masses is our ultimate goal. Keeping our vision intact we have so far sold close to 25,000 E3W. Our aim is to sell 100,000 E3W per year in the next few years. To support this, we will come out with more products and expand dealerships and marketing push.
END

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