When the bike goes on sale, will customers have a customisation option?
We have little surprises. That will be revealed just before the production and when it is in production. We will be revealing some other details or even colour variants. More customisation may be added as an option via OTA in the near future. Also, the riders would have the ride data. People will know how much watt hour consumption and how they have ridden the vehicle. Even if someone else has taken it for a spin, we can keep a track of that too. As of now, there is no customisation option available for this as this will take some time. No matter how many tests we do, the country has a number of riding patterns. So, it will take some time to incorporate them. That would come into the picture through OTA updates in the future and gives the advantage to update on without changing the future.
For example, customisation of UI is something from the customer perspective, that we are working on. Changing the UI, putting in a wallpaper are all in progress. In the long run, you will have more functional things coming up. More additional features to the dashboard and the app. Some new additions will be game changing.
What are the reasons for the Sonic mode?
In India, people want that kind of performance. Electric vehicles are always known to be slow moving vehicles and were said to not compete with ICE. But that is not the case now. They can be fast as well. People need to experience what EVs are capable of. For us, this is just the starting point of what our motor and the controller that we have built inhouse can do. The future product line that we come out with will be much better and will give better experience performance, value proposition etc.
When we speak about throttle calibration, you do not feel that lag or overshoot of the torque. At the same time, consumers can ramp up from eco mode to sonic mode. Once the consumer is used to it, I do not think there should be any issues. People know the capabilities to handle a vehicle and we are confident of it. But it all depends on the consumer.
The dash mode definitely satisfies the need. But it all depends on the consumer and what he wants to use. In the long run, we might add another mode, and if some modes are not being used, we might cut back. Here is where the OTA updates can actually help us modify the vehicle without actually touching it. These cannot be done in ICE vehicles.
How did you ensure that the product matches the needs of the Indian consumers?
India has diverse road conditions that vary from State to State. The same applies to the height of the people. All the things were taken into consideration. Like cornering the vehicle, U-turns and so on. We have tried to cover the actual conditions that has come up in India. If we have missed it, we will surely add it in the near future as catering to the B2C segment is the first target for us.
Tell us about the batteries?
We are importing the cells from Taiwan and Korea. Some think batteries are all about putting the cells together which isn’t the case. It is also about putting the right BMS. It can take care of the overcharge or undercharge protection; how much current is required at what point of time and more. At the same time, it is also about dissipating the heat from the battery pack itself. That also needs to be taken care of. And, safety should not be compromised. We have built an advanced thermal management system that determines the safety parameters of the vehicle.
Are you working on other chemistries of batteries as well?
For now, lithium ion is the only technology that is there and is economically and commercially viable. People are working on a lot of technology. It would take some time to get them economically viable. We are open to explore ideas like sodium, zinc, aluminium batteries etc. We are exploring those options too.
In the lithium-ion technology, we are working with a company to bring the cost of the battery packs. At the same time, we are not compromising on the performance. That is something that takes some time. The customers need not work on replacing the batteries for 5-7 years. Then the battery pack price will also come down which is good to both the customers and OEMs. Government and multiple companies are also working towards reducing the cost.
What are your plans on disposal of batteries?
The lithium-ion waste will be a lot in 5-10 years. From the beginning, when we designed the battery, we took that into consideration an energy storage system. The small R&D that we have is powered by 10-12 percent by our own energy storage system. It is a pilot that we are doing. In the long run, it will take some time to take it to production. We want to purchase the battery back and put it to use.
Are you also partnering with charging infrastructure players?
We are working on this. It is our aim to reduce the charging time, so people can quickly get the bike on hand. A lot of new technology in terms of charging will also be introduced by us. It would be an interesting thing for people to watch out for.
What about servicing the vehicles?
It is a new product and would require expertise to service and maintain it. This service would be imparted by our own team. We are looking at organisations and institutions to work collaboratively where we can impart the knowledge and communicate and make them ready for the future. Right now, we would have an offline model too. The 13 cities that we will start will have dealers and service setups. We are working on service at home which I believe will be part of the future. As of now, every dealer that we have will have a service station and charging station.
What about exports?
That’s on the cards as well but for now, our focus is on India. Later, once we have a large production, maybe we will look at the South East Asian market and APAC region.
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