With the electric vehicle (EV) market in India currently witnessing a spike in sales and new investment from OEMs, the segment is now seen to be moving into the fast lane.
The increasing need for last-mile delivery coming from e-commerce players, which saw a multi-fold increase in their business as people took to order-from-home even for groceries and essentials, is driving good volumes for the manufacturers and service providers of electric two- and three-wheeler s, and their components in the country.
Recognising this upcoming growth, Hella, one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers specialising in lighting systems and vehicle electronics, had set up a new subsidiary – Hella eMobionics – in November last year in India, to cater to the growing demand from the electric two- and three-wheeler segments in a more targeted manner.
The company has now joined hands with the Pune-based Kinetic Electric Motor Company, the leading manufacturer of DC motors and automotive electricals, and aims to leverage synergies to tap into the unfolding potential in the growing EV space in India.
While the two companies have already launched a 1.2kW-rated BLDC motor as part of the ‘strategic alliance’, 3kW BLDC (Brushless Direct Current) traction motor are currently under development and are slated to be introduced over the next 9-12 months.
Work on high-wattage motor-controller powertrain solutions is also underway to target the growing demand from the electric small commercial vehicles space as well as electric two-wheelers for both personal and commercial use.
The pre-calibrated and pre-integrated motor and controller combined solution will target reliability, performance as well as affordability, considering the mass-market nature of vehicles they intend to fit into.
The development of the components, their testing as well as manufacturing will be done locally.
Eyeing 30% growth in EVs
The two companies are bullish about the impending growth in the electric two- and three-wheeler market in India over the next decade, which, as per a study, is pegged at 30 percent, and want to be well prepared to realise maximum growth.
Moreover, the market size of electric motors is also expected to reach US$ 1.23 billion (Rs 9,103 crore) by 2025, and the alliance is being claimed to be “well-positioned” to tap these opportunities.
According to Dr Naveen Gautam, Managing Director, Hella eMobionics, “There is fast-growing demand in the e-mobility sector. While we could do so much, still there is a lot that gets left out if we try do it all by ourselves. Therefore, when such a strategic partnership happens, we can offer a lot more to our customers and quickly.” “Hella is traditionally very strong in electronics and controllers, whereas Kinetic Electric Motor Company is already established in starter motors, especially in the two- and three-wheeler segments. The local solution would not only be an import substitute but also has been indigenously developed, driven out from the considerations of the local market. Hence, it would be more suited to the mid- to long-term needs of the market in terms of price and performance,” he added.
Manish Motwani, Founder and CEO, Kinetic Electric Motor Company, said, “Our strategic alliance with Hella will tap opportunities in the fast-emerging electric vehicle market in India. Our initial focus will be to tap electric two- and three-wheeler OEM customers and offer them a complete powertrain solution.”
“Our motor and controller solution has a superior design, and has undergone significant integration and testing efforts to ensure durability, performance and efficiency for EVs. We will expand scope of this alliance to expand our product range and build superior solutions for the EV sector in the coming months,” he added.
Local production and exports
Kinetic Electric Motor Company will undertake the production of the components under the alliance. It has invested Rs 25 crore in a 100,000 square feet greenfield facility in Takwe, Pune to house a state-of-the-art manufacturing line, including a testing lab for BLDC motors.
The commencement of production for the new alliance products is slated for April 2021. Most of the parts will be locally sourced to complement the local design and development of these products. Exports to markets in the ASEAN region are also on the anvil in the near term.
After witnessing a rather challenging year in terms of operational sustainability and managing smooth logistics in 2020, the two companies are expecting 2021 to be a year of recovery with growth in two key segments of electric mobility – last-mile connectivity and last-mile delivery.
Autocar Professional’s February 1 issue is all about electric mobility