Ampere Electric launches new Magnus Pro at Rs 73,990, bets on premium e-scooters

by Nilesh Wadhwa 15 Jun 2020

Ampere Electric Vehicles, the electric mobility arm of the Mumbai-based Greaves Cotton, today launched the new Magnus Pro, the first of what are to be a number of new high-speed premium offerings. The company claims the Magnus Pro offers the best-in-class performance and comfort, a range of 75-80km per charge, and a maximum speed of 55kph. The Magnus Pro has been launched at Rs 73,990 (ex-showroom) after factoring in the FAME 2 subsidy.

Articulating Greaves’ focus on electric mobility, Nagesh Basavanhalli, MD and CEO, Greaves Cotton, said, “Greaves is an established player delivering affordable and eco-friendly mobility solutions. We have invested in talent, technology and infrastructure to build a sustainable ecosystem. With the increased shift towards personal mobility vehicles post Covid, launch of this new Magnus e-scooter is an important milestone in our journey to strengthen Ampere’s position in the last-mile mobility segment”

Speaking exclusively to Autocar Professional, Umesh Krishnappa, CTO, Ampere Electric, says the Magnus Pro, which was developed  over 18 months, weighs around 82kg, the lowest in its category or around 20 percent less than the most popular IC-engined scooter in India, and at the same time performs on par with them. The scooter is designed to handle varied Indian conditions. “The Magnus Pro has a power-to-weight ratio of almost around 15-watt per kg, which is the highest in class compared to other electric scooters,” says Krishnappa.

According to Krishnappa, even taller riders will find riding the Magnus Pro a comfortable experience, which at present is not the case with many electric two-wheelers sold in the country.

The Magnus Pro also complies with the new norms that will be applicable to electric vehicles from October 2020.

The Magnus Pro offers multiple advanced features like anti-theft alarm, digital LCD cluster, mobile charging point, bright LED lights, LED DRLs, telescopic suspension, 450mm leg space and large storage boot space. Ampere says customer can book the new electric scooter on its website and avail from easy EMIs.

Betting on demand from personal mobility
While sales in the domestic ICE market have been consistently slowing over the past 20-odd months, Ampere is witnessing strong traction in the EV marketplace. P Sanjeev, COO, Ampere Electric, says: “The last two quarters, before the Covid-19 situation, Ampere has been working aggressively. Earlier, electric scooters were perceived as a rural offering but now we have showrooms in all major cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore among others. What we noticed is that many customers came in on a traditional ICE-scooter; we were keen to understand what we could do to accelerate growth.”

He explains the idea behind developing the Ampere Magnus Pro was to understand, “How do we create a very comfortable scooter while also ensuring dynamic performance and/or equivalent to some of the leading IC-scooters in India. One of the reasons that encouraged us to accelerate the launch of the Magnus Pro was that when we were looking at the numbers after some (lockdown) relaxations were announced by the government, we noticed at least 125 of cities and towns were part of that and just 50 or 55 percent of dealerships, our daily average was 60 percent higher than in the pre-Covid days.”

Ampere is targeting both the urban and rural e-scooter buyer with the new Magnus Pro. The company says the scooter has fast-charge capability that allows it be fully charged using a compatible fast-charger in less than two hours. A standard charger will fully charge the green vehicle in under five hours. With the Magnus Pro using a detachable battery, the customer can simply remove the battery and charge it at his/her convenience.

In FY2020, Ampere sold around 2,500 high-speed electric scooters, with the bulk of sales coming from low-speed products. Will the Magnus Pro give a new charge to overall numbers? Sanjeev says, “If we are only going to sell one percent of that niche segment which is the low speed scooter or non-licensed category, and if we compromise the experience expected from an electric scooter, we can't get into that 99 percent of the electric scooter market. With the Magnus Pro, we have a product that delivers on performance, comfort, reliability and ability. All this at a price point which can be a clear alternative to a traditional scooter.”

According to Sanjeev, “India is not only the world’s biggest two-wheeler market, but also the most abused market in terms of usage. Today, Ampere is a leader in very tough B2B applications. When it comes to association with a ride-sharing operation like Bounce, it calls for huge engineering changes and improvements else the scooter won’t last long. Moreover, we cater to very tough applications like Big Basket too. One of the reasons we are popular is because our scooters are reliable. We have a vision to be a leader to be No. 1 in the electric two-wheeler market.”

Adding to that, Krishnappa says, “Since we introduced the Ampere Zeal, our endeavour has been to be different – to provide a comfortable and reliable vehicle to our customers, so the overall engineering has been based on that. We are a platform-based company and are creating high-speed platforms. In the future, we will have more higher-speed products with a top speed of around 80kph and more. We have one of the most efficient powertrains in the entire EV space, and we are achieving it through continuous development of both hardware and software.”

Ampere claims that through regenerative braking, the Magnus Pro gains around 10-15 percent of regenerated energy, translating to around 8-10km of additional range on a full cycle. Interestingly, the company has already begun work on a variant, a more advanced model called Magnus Pro Smart which it claims will be comparable or better than the leading smart scooter sold in India (read Ather 450X). Going forward, the company is looking to introduce more products, as well as focus on enhanced customer experience. The sales strategy for the Magnus Pro will see Ampere target individual as well as institutional tie-ups with corporates looking to drive adoption of zero-emission two-wheelers.