Giving a further fillip to the Centre’s FAME scheme for faster adoption and manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicles, Kinetic Green Energy and Power Solutions, a Kinetic Group company rolled out its e-three wheeler called Kinetic Safar in Delhi today.
Even before its official launch, about 45 Safars are already plying on the national capital’s roads. The company plans to target other states as well. Starting with 15 retail outlets drawn from existing dealers of vehicle manufacturers like Mahindra to tap their automotive experience, Kinetic Green is going all out to offer affordable green mobility solutions for public transportation.
The company says a Safar owner can earn Rs 20,000 per month. Kinetic is providing a 10-day training course to Safar drivers with the government relaxing the licensing norms that mandate a commercial license for driving three-wheelers. For large orders, a tie-up with training agencies is also on the cards.
Priced at Rs 1.28 lakh, including 12.5 percent VAT in Delhi, the Safar comes with an Exide lead acid battery and charger. With VAT varying in different states, the overall price of the Safar is likely to differ across India. The company is offering a 100,000 kilometre warranty for the Safar and six months warranty on the battery.
The company says the ARAI-approved Safar meets all government safety norms mandated under the Central Motor Vehicles Rules and has an all-steel body for higher durability, dual headlamps for night vision, powerful brakes, dashboard with battery indicator and speedometer. Under CMVR guidelines, the Safar has a maximum speed of 25kph, which makes it suitable for use as a shared auto-rickshaw in small cities and for last-mile connectivity in large cities.
The company has tied up with Videocon for insurance in Delhi and for Mahindra Finance for financing options.
Speaking at the Safar’s rollout today, Sulajja Firodia Motwani, founder and CEO, said that existing e-rickshaws in the market are imported and assembled Chinese kits while the Safar was indigenously designed and developed with a local content of 65 percent that would be stepped up in stages. This enabled the company to offer an affordable solution while the prevailing CNG and fuel operated auto-rickshaws on the road run at higher costs. Among its key benefits, the Safar will be able to climb flyovers due to its ARAI-certified gearbox under the AIS standard for gradability. In addition the Safar comes with a glass windshield and electric wiper motor and roof. Therefore, Firodia claims, the Safar scores over e-rickshaws in terms of its engineering quality, exclusive dealer network and service backup.
“Our e-auto Safar is a ground-up development to bring advanced green transport technology at an affordable price of merely Rs 1.28 lakh. The buyer of Safar is expected to recover his investment in 8-9 months with an affordable ride at Rs 10 per ride.” The battery of Safar can be recharged at night for 11 hours running 115km on a single charge.
UP government order worth Rs 400 crore in the bag
Interestingly, Kinetic Green has bagged a large institutional order for electric vehicles from the Uttar Pradesh government worth Rs 400 crore for supplying 27,000 Safar vehicles within 12 months. Won on the basis of competitive bidding, it will form part of the UP government’s e-Rickshaw Yojana for providing free e-rickshaws to existing manual rickshaw pullers in the state. This will give them a better means of earning livelihood. Kinetic has already delivered the first 300 units of Safar and plans to step up deliveries to 3,000 units per month.
Currently manufactured at the company’s Ahmednagar facility in Maharashtra which has a production capacity of 4,000 vehicles a month, plans are underway to expand the overall capacity after a year and a half when the current facility is expected to reach optimum utilisation. Also on the radar are plans to set up assembly units in north India initially, followed by other locations based on rising demand and an asset light principle.
Kinetic Green also makes a range of buggies from two-wheeler golf carts to 4- and 6-seaters and 14-seater e-buses to promote eco-tourism. Among future products is a plan to develop a Safar Cargo, an e-cart for low cost and green urban load distribution aimed at home deliveries and e-commerce. The company is also mulling commercialisation of a high-speed e-auto for large cities called Soleckshaw developed by group company Kinetic Engineering as well as to diversify into lithium ion batteries for e-autos.
Firodia says that Kinetic is initially starting with lead acid batteries that cost around Rs 20,000 and have to be replaced once a year. In comparison lithium ion batteries will cost around Rs 70,000-Rs 80,000 but will have a longer life span of about 4 years. But once economies of scale are achieved, the price will be reduced, thereby making it an affordable proposition.