Start-up to roll out premium e-cycles from Varapuzha in Ernakulam

The electric cycle being brought out by VAAN Electric Moto, a start-up registered in Maharashtra.

The electric cycle being brought out by VAAN Electric Moto, a start-up registered in Maharashtra.

A premium electric cycle designed in Austria and featuring components made in Italy is all set to be assembled and rolled out from a plant at Varapuzha by the middle of January.

Assembling of the first batch of 400 e-cycles is already on at the plant spread over 12,000 sq.ft. The electric cycle is the first of the multiple products to be launched by VAAN Electric Moto Private Limited, a lifestyle e-mobility start-up registered in Maharashtra and founded by Jithu Sukumaran Nair, a marine engineer from Kerala.

The global launch of the product was held at the prestigious EICMA Motorcycle Show in Italy last month. The brand and the product were designed by Austria-based KISKA, which owns the famed motorcycle brand KTM, while the components are being supplied by Italian motorcycle brand Benelli. The start-up has dealers in Portugal, Spain, and the Czech Republic.

“Our plant at Varapuzha has capacity to assemble 2,000 cycles a month, and we are initially targeting sale of 8,000 to 10,000 cycles a year. We targeted a young crowd earlier but are now looking at even those in the age group of 40-55 years who need not be cycling enthusiasts, considering the advantages of our product that comes with three modes. We are yet to finalise the price, which would be upwards of ₹50,000,” said Mr. Nair, chief executive officer (CEO) and founder of the start-up, which was launched in 2017.

The e-cycle has a power-assisted mode with five electric gears and a full-throttle mode ratcheting up a speed of up to 25 km per hour. The lithium-based removable battery weighing around 2.50 kg with a two-year warranty can be fully charged in around four hours and lasts for 50 km to 60 km depending on the mode in which the cycle is used. The intelligent battery management system offers 14 safety precautions, which, among others, eliminate potential overcharging.

“Our idea is to target the market in Kochi and then scale up to the rest of the State and country. Initially, the service of cycles will be available at our plant at Varapuzha before setting up more service outlets,” said Manjit Mohan, co-founder and chief operating officer, VAAN.

A kid’s superbike for racing by children aged between 4 and 12 years has also been launched, though it predominantly targets the international market, since race tracks are far and few between in India. The product was fully designed and manufactured in Spain.

“Electric cycles, kids’ superbikes, and apparels constitute the first phase of our project. We are planning to roll out e-mopeds next year followed by e-scooters in another 18 months,” said Mr. Nair.

He cited supply chain logistics and zero subsidies for e-cycles as the biggest challenges, though Benelli helped overcome supply chain issues with a turnaround time of 100 days. Talks are under way with prospective investors for the start-up, which has run so far on the personal funding of the CEO.

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Printable version | May 19, 2022 9:10:13 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/start-up-to-roll-out-premium-e-cycles-from-varapuzha-in-ernakulam/article37981634.ece