Bengaluru-based Simple Energy will start deliveries of its Simple One by September or October. Autocar Professional participated in the first ride of the e-scooter, and spoke to the co-founders and the engineers to understand what went into the making the electric scooter. But hitching a ride at the Simple One and meeting the Suhas Rajkumar and Shreshth Mishra, one thing became very clear. It is that the term simple does not just apply for the company, it also can be seen in the way this entrepreneurial duo and their team carry themselves, interact with people and even accept comments and feedback.
Their vision is very clear: To make the product safe and best for the consumers. Whenever a question is raised or an issue pointed out, they both either accept that and say it will be changed in the near future, or explain the reasons for it. Co-founder, Suhas Rajkumar in a free-wheeling conversation, spoke a lot on the engineering aspect of the e-scooter and what exactly went into designing it. He also shared his company’s plans going forward. This clearly indicated that the company is ready for the next step post the launch of Simple One.
“There will be no more first rides post this. We want to enter the market and give our potential buyers a glimpse of what we are. I think we have done it, and there will not be any more first rides for new bikes. We will introduce the product directly to the market,” he says. Rajkumar is a Bengaluru boy, growing up in the city and graduating from the Siddaganga Institute of Technology, on the outskirts of the city, in 2013, specialising in Architecture. In 2019, using the designing interest, he set up the EV startup and the product. Prior to this, he had founded another startup, Exar Solutions, an adtech company in 2017.
One: The beginning
And, it does not just stop at One. The Bengaluru based startup is working on other new products, a more affordable scooter and a bike. While Rajkumar confirmed it, Mishra, co-founder, Simple Energy said, “We are working on a more affordable scooter that will be launched in around eight months and will showcase it very soon. And, there is another bike project that we are working on. All these things are planned for the future. Also, a four-wheeler is in the works as well but it will take time. We have the Simple One task now in India and we should get it done.”
Dwelling on the affordable scooter, Mishra added that the basic principle remains the same. “Safety comes first and performance will not be compromised. It would be different from the One and that makes it a unique value proposition for the customers. And, we believe that the market would really like it,” he added.
So far, as a part of Series A funding in 2021, the startup raised around Rs 170 crore. The company is in talks to raise more funds in the coming months. “We are in talks to raise 100 million dollars and that would help us fulfil the needs that we require now. In the next 12-15 months we will be looking for another 500 million dollars which will be used for expansion of product portfolio and expansion across India in terms of dealers, sales and service networks,” says Mishra.
The Bengaluru-based electric two-wheeler also signed an MoU with the Tamil Nadu government for an investment of up to Rs 2,500 crore for constructing the largest electric two-wheeler manufacturing plant in Dharmapuri. As part of Phase 1, the first plant of 200,000 square feet is being constructed near Shoolagiri (Hosur) and has the capacity of up to a million units on an annual basis. Both the founders pointed out that Tamil Nadu gave them the confidence in creating the EV ecosystem which can be sustainable in achieving our long-term goals.
“We will also invite our vendor partners to set up their shops inside the newer larger facility. We are also talking to multiple cell manufacturers to do the same. With this, we can have joint R&D and maybe in the future we can work on products designed for a particular model. Also, we are in the process of setting up the plant near Hosur. The machines have come in and it is ongoing. We had few supply chain issues and they were managed. Soon after the rides get over, we would be rolling out the first product. This stays as per our previous plan of September/October,” Mishra said.
“Around 1.5 lakh vehicles can be made on a per annum per shift basis. This can be scaled to 3-3.5 lakh vehicles by multiple shifts. But it will be a slow process,” he signs off.
This article appears in the August 1, 2022 issue of Autocar Professional.
Shreshth Mishra: 'People need to experience what EVs are capable of'