Home / Companies / News /  Bounce's 2W EV gets regulatory nod, to be offered on subscription basis

BENGALURU: Bike-sharing platform Bounce has received homologation certification from International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT), making it one of the few bike-sharing startups in India to get the certification for a self-assembled two-wheeler electric vehicle (EV), said two people aware of the development.

The startup’s chief executive Vivekananda Hallekere put out a Tweet last week confirming the development, however, Bounce declined to comment on the specifics when contacted by Mint on Monday.

Homologation certification is important for any automobile, including for EVs and internal combustion engine-based vehicles. The certification process approves every part of the vehicle including components like lamps, mirrors, tires. The certification process also has stringent checks for even the braking mechanism and other electronic fittings.

Homologation certification is done differently in each county or geography. Europe and India currently follow a third-party certification process, where government-approved agencies such as Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and ICAT conduct independent checks to measure whether vehicles meet local norms for pollution, and several other important safety standards. In the U.S, however, vehicle manufacturers themselves follow a self-certification process where no third-party approval is required in terms of homologation or independent checks.

However, in the case of EVs in India, the manufacturer will have to take certification for both the vehicle and the battery component separately to ensure that safety standards are met.

Bounce’s self-assembled EV will have a swappable battery charging option, which will allow the users to swap batteries at batter-swapping stations that will be set-up by the startup within city limits, said the first person aware of the company’s plans mentioned earlier asking not to be named.

“The entire vehicle will be assembled by Bounce itself for now, but they will soon require a manufacturing unit or a partner to help scale-up the production process… Bounce currently has a separate team (of engineers) that looked into the creation of the EV," added the second person aware of the startup’s EV plans, also requesting anonymity.

Apart from Bounce, startups including Ather Energy, Revolt, Tork Motors, and others have in the past received homologation certification in the past, while Bounce will be the only consumer-focused bike-sharing platform to receive the same certification in India.

Bengaluru-based bike-sharing startup Yulu currently has a strategic tie-up with Bajaj Auto Ltd to manufacture custom two-wheeler EVs. But Yulu’s two-wheeler EV currently doesn’t have any certification as its max speed is 25kmph, exempting it from requiring a formal certification to be operated on the roads.

Bounce will provide its new self-assembled EV on a subscription pricing model, as well as on a long-term rental basis, but will not yet offer it to the public on a direct retail basis like Ather, the first person quoted earlier said. In parallel Bounce will also work with delivery and e-commerce firms to supply scooters for last-mile use, the person added.

The two-wheeler EV space has now turned hyper-competitive with bigger startups like Ola also expected to launch its own 2W two-wheeler EV in India in 2021. Ather is also currently stepping its manufacturing capacity to produce 100,000 vehicles a year, and has just introduced its latest high-performance version of its two-wheeler EV (Ather 450X) in the market.

Apart from this, a slew of two-wheeler EV startups such as Ebikego, Okinawa and others have also been stepping up production with its own differentiated ownership strategy for both consumers and businesses.

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