IIT Madras-incubated start-up launches utility e-bike at Rs 30,000

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 10 Feb 2021

IIT Madras-Incubated startup Pi Beam has launched an affordable electric two-wheeler christened PiMo for Rs 30,000. The sustainable utility e-bike, which is targeted at personal and commercial applications, has a range of 50km.

The e-bike does not require a license or registration and has a localisation of 90 percent including the crucial batteries and controllers. The company aims to sell 10,000 units by the end of next financial year (FY2021-22).

PiMo was launched at the IIT Madras Research Park here in the presence of cricketer Dinesh Karthik, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director – IIT Madras; Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, professor In-charge, IIT Madras Research Park and Visakh Sasikumar, CEO, Pi Beam Electric, among other dignitaries.

PiMo, which is positioned between an electric bicycle and entry level electric scooter, has a top speed of 25kph. Compared to electric bicycles, it has a higher travel range and its ride comfort is said to be superior due to the dual suspension at the rear and larger and ergonomically designed seats. It also offers battery swapping, through which a drained battery can be exchanged for a fully charged battery at designated locations.

Pi Beam is founded by an IIT Madras alumni, Visakh Sasikumar and has already gained over 100 initial customers within weeks of opening pre-orders from customers across age groups, from both rural and urban geographies.

Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi said, “Pi Beam incubated at IIT Madras has been prolific in coming out with affordable EV products for different utility applications. Now they have brought out an exciting e-bike PiMo which addresses a much larger user base, with a focus on emerging markets such as e-commerce delivery, shared mobility and so on. IIT Madras congratulates Pi Beam for the innovations in PiMo which enables to break new ground in terms of affordability and features.”

Pi Beam has three other products:

  • E-Trike: A geared 3-wheeler with pedal assist, which is highly affordable and is a solid fit in the commercial transportation sector.
  • E-Kart: A electric vehicle with cloud connectivity and in-built sensors for data capturing.
  • E-Auto: A sophisticated version of the e-kart that uses a PMSM motor and is adopted for passenger transportation and commercial logistics. A robust and high-speed vehicle, it has an impressive load carrying capacity of 600kg.

Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala said, “Pi Beam is an incubated company at IIT Madras. It was incubated to bring electric mobility in India. They have been working on all kinds of vehicles which essentially enables carrying of goods and passengers. The focus has always been on affordability. For example, the E-trike, a cart that they made for carrying garbage, is very efficient. With PiMo, they’ve tried to make a very low-cost extremely affordable electric bike. They worked very hard on it, they figured out how to reduce the cost, make it a reliable utility bike. I’m really looking forward to the launch of this bike, and I hope that many will use it.”

Visakh Sasikumar said, “Pi Beam Electric aims to provide end-to-end micro-mobility solutions for logistics and transportation. We are a bunch of passionate people who believe the micro-mobility market is the future. Small and efficient EVs designed around utility and which are affordable are going to reimagine the way people think about EVs. We have sold over hundreds of electric trikes in the market, for purposes ranging from waste management to e-commerce deliveries. With the PiMo launch, we’re making a statement to the world that a startup can build electric vehicles and bring them to the market with limited resources. We are excited by the sheer amount of interest and pre-orders we’ve received from our initial demos and trials across different cities. These bikes will find their way through B2B applications like food delivery, e-commerce delivery, shared mobility and much more. 90% of the PiMO is designed and built in India, which brings out the true spirit of ‘Make in India’.”

Pramod DSouza, co-founder, Eagle10 Ventures said, “Pi Beam’s PiMO has great opportunity to grab market share at the lower end of electric bikes segment, given the affordable price range and the fact that customers do not require a two-wheeler license to ride it. Last mile delivery segment in the e-commerce space is another opportunity where PiMO can fit well and happy that Visakh and team are already in discussion with many e-commerce companies regarding this.”

Manu Iyer, advisor, Pi Beam, and investor-director said, “Pi Beam’s PiMo, having 90% of components manufactured in India, is a stylishly designed 2-Wheeler offering a range of 50km on a single charge with a top speed of 25kph. PiMo should be the catalyst to kickstart a revolution in converting all intra-city mobility in India to lithium-based electric from fossil fuels, while fulfilling our PM's vision of being Atma Nirbhar.”