In another two month’s time, ‘Nirbhaya’ electric scooters will hit the market, that would not only come at a discount for women buyers, but will also be equipped with an in-built safety system that would communicate the commuter’s location coordinates to her or his family members at the press of a button.
An Ahmedabad-based electric vehicle manufacturing company Morello Yamasaki, which is a joint venture between Mumbai’s Arya Group and Japan’s Yamasaki Motors, is planning to come up with these low speed electric scooters within the next two months. Rajit R Arya, chief executive officer, Morello Yamasaki said that the company was planning to price the vehicles at around Rs 35,000 and there would be a 10% discount for women buyers.
“The Nirbhaya scooters are targeted at women commuters especially as these have this general package radio service (GPRS) enabled tracking system built into the scooters. The scooters would be connected to the mobile phones through an application and at the press of a button would communicate the location of the user to her family members whose numbers she has fed into the system. It would continue to transmit the location thereafter in every two or three minutes,” Arya explained at the sidelines of a conference on ‘Sustainable Mobility with Electric Vehicles organised by CII.
He feels that the product would have a demand amongst the women commuters especially in the backdrop of women safety related concerns in recent times, and hence has also strategically named it ‘Nirbhaya’ after the unfortunate victim of the December 2012 Delhi gang-rape case.
However, these scooters fall into the low speed category with a maximum speed of around 25 km per hour, and according to Arya do not require a two-wheeler license to drive one. As such the effective speed attained during peak traffic hours in cities is not more than 25-30 kmph, he reasons.
Morello Yamasaki, which currently manufactures only 10% components of its e-scooters in India (remaining are imported from Yamasaki Motors in Japan), is planning to invest around Rs 155 crore to put up a 16,000 units per annum plant near Ahmedabad by 2015-16. “We already have the land in possession around 50 kms from Ahmedabad, and the plant would be operational within the next 18 to 24 months,” he said. The company plans to increase the localisation in its scooters to over 40% in the next five years as it starts to manufacture components like plastic parts, chassis etc here locally.
By 2019-20, it plans to expand the Ahmedabad facility to make one million two-wheelers per year, and also significantly increase the localisation. “We plan to manufacture critical components like battery, chargers, controllers, motors too at the Ahmedabad facility,” Arya said.
Morello Yamasaki currently has three low-speed scooter variants and plans to get into the high-speed segment within the next six months. Low speed scooters make up around 95% of the electric two wheeler market in the country, Arya claimed. In the next one year, it also plans to come up with lithium-ion battery charged low and high speed scooters, and electric motorcycles as well.