Mumbai: A green mobility startup backed by TVS Motor Co. Ltd plans to launch a premium electric motorcycle, equivalent of 200-250cc and capable of reaching a top speed of 150kmph. The motorcycle, to be launched in the second half of 2019, will be India’s fastest and most powerful electric two-wheeler, Ultraviolette Automotive Pvt Ltd founders Niraj Rajmohan and Narayan Subramaniam said in an interview.
The three-year-old Bengaluru-based startup claims the motorcycle, now in its fourth generation, has outperformed similar fuel-driven bikes in “design, performance, user and ownership experience" but will be offered at a similar price point to increase accessibility of electric technology.
The electric bike will be Ultraviolette’s first launch, with the first prototype having been built in June 2016 and several versions tested for over 10,000km, the company said.
“Our intent, when we started out, was not to build the best electric bike but the best mobility solution," said Subramaniam, who is CEO, pointing to the poor performance associated with electric vehicles (EV) for their low power and sometimes-unpredictable range—the distance a vehicle can travel on a single charge. “We want to showcase the superior performance of EVs over ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles and make them desirable. The boundaries of what’s possible with EVs have not been pushed because of limited volumes," said Subramaniam.
This motorcycle’s top speed surpasses the 138kmph mark claimed by KTM Duke 200, which is said to be the fastest 200cc motorcycle in India.
TVS Motor is looking to Ultraviolette to strengthen its position in EVs. Since December last year, the Chennai-based company has invested more than ₹ 11 crore in Ultraviolette over two rounds, for a total stake of 25.76%. The bike is planned to be sold in Bengaluru first and then other metro cities, targeting customers in their early to late 20s.
With a range higher than 150km, the fourth generation of the bike is “very close" to production, but more testing needs to be done to determine its final performance stats, Subramaniam said. Ultraviolette claims to work with “selected chemistries" on a lithium-ion battery to maximize efficiency, range and energy density.
An assembly facility will be set up near Bengaluru in early 2019, with an installed capacity of more than 10,000 vehicles, said Rajmohan, who is chief technology officer, adding that the firm is in the process of filing nine utility patents based on the bike’s engineering.
Ultraviolette, which aims to be the leader in the premium two-wheeler space, believes vehicles of the future “should adapt" to their users, and plans to introduce features such as preventive maintenance, remote diagnostics and “over-the-air" updates on a mobile application.
Ultraviolette also plans to set up a smart network of charging points on a city-wise basis, beginning with Bengaluru.
“The (compliance) standards around charging have now been set up (by the government). Subsidies have been outlined to continue. Government support is not clearly visible, but it is there," said Rajmohan.
The electric vehicle sector in India has been humming with activity. Hero MotoCorp Ltd-backed startup Ather Energy rolled out its first product, an electric scooter, in September, also with a charging infrastructure. Other two-wheeler firms such as Royal Enfield and Bajaj Auto Ltd are developing their own electric vehicles.