Indian start-up Twenty Two Motors unveils tech-laden Flow e-scooter, launch at 2018 Auto Expo

by Mayank Dhingra 02 Nov 2017


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L-R: Parveen Kharb, CEO and co-founder; Farhan Shabbir, president; Vijay Chandrawat, co-founder, Twenty Two Motors with the Flow electric scooter.

Gurgaon-based automotive technology start-up, Twenty Two Motors today unveiled its maiden product in the electric two-wheeler market – the Flow – which is equipped with EBS, KERS and also boasts connected technologies and artificial intelligence.

Built on a high-tensile steel platform, the e-scooter comes powered by indigenously developed lithium-ion battery packs of 48V or 60V configurations, driving a DC motor. The motor produces 2100W (2.81bhp) of peak power and 90Nm of peak torque available from as low as 100rpm.

The striking design elements on the Flow include the use of LEDs in its entire lighting system, with a projector setup along with a circular LED DRL strip adorning the headlamp at the front. The overall styling is very clean with sleek panels all around, making the e-scooter look rather attractive. Towards the rear, the tail-lamps, again, are large and boast LED bulbs inside. 

The contemporary design aside, the company is projecting the Flow to be a modern and smart scooter with its host of connected technologies and features on-board. 

Its speedometer console, for instance, boasts of an integrated LCD display panel, which doubles up as the interface to toggle through the multitude of options available like maps, security lock, constant maintenance monitoring and other Internet of Things (IoT) enabled services. The scooter will also offer a reverse mode, cruise control, as well as an option to individually program the LEDs.

The Flow, which weighs 85kg, can haul a maximum passenger load of 150kg. The rectangular Li-ion battery pack, which weighs less than 10kg, has been stationed horizontally on the floor and the company's engineers also utilised a three-point body balance technique to balance the front and rear weight ratio and arrive at a low centre of gravity. 

The Flow has a maximum speed of 60kph and will need RTO registration, when it goes on sale early next year, after its official launch at the 2018 Auto Expo to be held in February. 

The scooter offers IP65 protection for all the electronic components and will be able to wade through water-logged conditions of up to 230mm in depth. 

In-house battery development 
The e-scooter's battery has been designed in-house by a small eight-member R&D team of the company, taking into account the extreme temperature spectrum of the Indian climate to keep it safe. According to Parveen Kharb, CEO and co-founder, Twenty Two Motors, "Currently, batteries for EV application in India are being sourced from China. However, these products are extremely unreliable as they keep on changing very frequently, as well as are not safe for usage in our environment."

"Our Li-ion battery technology is highly superior and offers better thermal conductivity and low electrical conductivity. Even though we did apply patents for one or two components inside the battery, we were not granted those claims. However, we would be open in giving out the construction details for other companies to make use of the technology," he added.

The battery offers a range of 80km on a single full charge, which takes two hours. A 10-minute top-up delivers charge enough for up to 20km of travel. The scooter also comes equipped with a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), which can regenerate up to 6 percent of the battery in normal usage. 

On the safety front, the scooter gets a disc brake setup at either wheel and deploys an Electronic Braking Mechanism (EBS) which, coupled with the KERS, can bring down braking distances by up to 60 percent as compared to normally actuated brakes.

 

The company will offer a 50,000km warranty on the battery and also claims to provide free replacement after that. The e-scooter also has provision for two batteries; the company will provide a second temporary battery for users who need to take the scooter out on a long-distance ride. The battery is also compatible with public charging infrastructure and Twenty Two Motors will offer a controller-adaptor for the scooter to be charged at public charging outlets put up by the government in the coming future.

 

Implementing Artificial Intelligence 

The company is distinguishing its products by making them smart devices, and, in that quest, the Flow has been loaded with technological features aplenty. 

The smart e-scooter gets artificial intelligence (AI), where it would let the rider know about his riding style and gather data from various sensors to alert in case of any possible mechanical problem in the pipeline. 

It will always be connected by a 4G network to Twenty Two Motors' back-end system and offer user options like automated geofencing, remote stop, child watch, as well as a collision detection alert. The company will also offer doorstep servicing facility to customers, by knowing exactly the kind of repair or maintenance required, by analysing the exhaustive data log.

Production at Bhiwadi to start in February 2018
The company, which was founded in August 2016, plans to start production of the scooter by February 2018 at its currently under-development manufacturing facility in Bhiwadi, Haryana.

The plant, which is being set up on an 8-acre site, will have a capacity of 300 units per day in two shifts, with over 100 associates working on the assembly line. After raising its initial funding of Rs 10 crore at its first round of seeking investments last year, the company has raised fresh investments in 2017. Haryana Industries is one of its equity holders and is investing Rs 32.5 crore into the new manufacturing unit. 

Twenty Two Motors aims to sell close to 50,000 units of the e-scooter in the Indian market over the next 18 months. According to Vijay Chandrawat, co-founder, Twenty Two Motors, "The Indian market offers a huge scope for sale of such smart vehicles in the coming future and, we would initially focus on the domestic market over the next three years and establish an all-India presence, before looking at taking the product abroad."

"We would be introducing three variants of the Flow, with the AI and connected technology being offered as standard, as that is our key differentiating aspect. The company will also roll out three new two-wheeler products in the next few years, before eyeing the electric three-wheeler and passenger vehicle segment," he added.

The technology start-up will be retailing the scooters online, with customers getting a chance to have a look and feel of the product at its 'Experience Centres', the first of which is planned to be established in Delhi-NCR. 

The company, where its members in the core team have had longstanding automotive backgrounds, has been able to make its way through collaborating with suppliers for bringing the new product to reality. The Flow is 90 percent localised with suppliers like Maxxis Tyres, and Fiem being a part of an overall base of close to 60 locally operating vendors supplying for the project, and it is only the highly critical components like the cells of the battery, that are being imported for the e-scooter. 

The Flow is expected to be priced between Rs 65,000-70,000 (ex-showroom). With the government pushing electric mobility across all vehicle segments, Twenty Two Motors is confident it can ride the wave of demand for EVs, particularly for electric two-wheelers. An EY study, revealed today, also supports the same premise that electric two- and three-wheelers will be the first to see mass EV adoption in the country, followed by intra-city buses, corporate cabs and government fleet vehicles.

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