The Revolt RV 400 boasts a range of 150 km on ‘Eco mode’ and a top speed of 85 km/hr. In the country of “Kitna deti hai?,” (how much does it give?) mileage, or in this case, range, is the key. Revolt says the RV400 will do about 150 km on a single charge. That is approximately 50% more than Ather and Tork’s best bets.
What was the result?
What happens after the juice runs out? Revolt’s solution is to build every possible permutation. Its batteries can be pulled out and swapped. Or taken inside a home or office and charged. Or swapped via mobile swapping stations run by the company. Or ordered like pizzas via hyperlocal delivery partners.
The revolt has started pre-booking for the RV 400 on its website and on e-commerce site Amazon at Rs 1,000 ($15). Sales will start in Delhi and spread out slowly. Revolt, eventually, plans to sell in seven cities. While most sales will happen online, there will also be offline stores for people to experience the bikes. “I just need four dealerships in Bangalore, not 50,” says Sharma.
The Revolt RV400 isn’t a ground-up design, but instead a highly customized variant of the Chinese electric 2-wheeler company Super SOCO‘s TS motorcycle. Revolt claims that the majority of the RV400’s elements, including the ECU, app, motor, battery have been developed in-house.
Revolt is funded entirely through Sharma’s $70 million investment thus far, he says. In Delhi’s neighboring town of Manesar, he claims to have set up a factory capable of making 120,000 bikes a year. That’s more than the number of electric two-wheelers sold last year. “I know. I will need to expand very quickly on that.”
State of similar companies
While Sharma is looking at the market as a whole and wants the biggest piece of the pie, there are similar companies that are not so hungry. Kapil Shelke, the CEO of Tork Motors, wants to sell to a small group of EV enthusiasts. “When we started, we only wanted to cater to people who believe that electric vehicles can be faster, better, low maintenance, better technology,” he says during a phone call. “I don’t need anything. No company needs that.”
Tork first unveiled its bike, T6X, in the second half of 2016. Ever since it has been tweaking and tuning it. “Now is the time that people want the motorcycle, so it’s already late,” says Kapil Shelke, Tork CEO. The Tork T6X is still not on the roads. “We think we could’ve done this a little earlier, but because we’re building everything in-house, we want control over every component, the pricing.”
Ultraviolette, yet another electric bike company, is also slated to launch its bike soon. It plans to take on the average 200cc bike sold in India. While Revolt wants to sell to the whole market and Tork wants to sell to EV lovers, Ultraviolette wants to ‘set a lifestyle’.
The startup’s co-founders, Subramaniam and Rajmohan, are confident that they don’t face direct competition.
Where does the Indian Market stand?
Over a phone interview, Rajmohan said that the Indian market is a very mature market. “Considering the size and scale of India and how two-wheelers are inherent to any type of product associated with progress in society.” India has sales across various segments, unlike in most foreign markets, where only a certain category is commonly sold, say, economy, executive, premium or supersports. “There’s a very aspirational value attached to motorcycles.”
When one speaks of aspiration and EVs though, the first name that comes to one’s mind is American EV manufacturer Tesla.
Arguably the most popular EV brand in the world right now, Tesla started in 2008 with the Tesla Roadster—a high-end convertible sports car. Even though it didn’t perform as well as expected, it created a brand image. And from there, Tesla worked its way down. Its cars got cheaper and cheaper, starting with the Model S, then X, 3, and Y, with prices starting at as little as $40,000, all the way up to $140,000.