Accelerating dreams on electric bikes

Accelerating dreams on electric bikes

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Narayan Subramaniam (left) and Niraj Rajmohan with the F77

They dreamt of building a performance electric motorcycle that beats the internal combustion engine (ICE) ones. Moreover, Narayan Subramaniam and Niraj Rajmohan were creatively inclined from their childhood days. The result was Ultraviolette Automotive, a Bengaluru-based company founded in 2016, that launched the F77 electric bike, India’s first performance electric bike.

“We wanted to showcase to the world that we can create something outrageous. I think we have done that successfully,” said Subramaniam, co-founder and CEO.

Rajmohan, Founder and CTO, added: “Electric vehicles have to be serious competitors to ICEs and out-compete them on every aspect. What better to prove that than in the sports bike segment. That is where we started off.

“We have been secretive about what we are building for the last three and a half years. There is a reason behind that. Companies make premature announcements and are not able to deliver. We wanted to be clear that our product should meet the requirement. It should be able to beat ICE machines in every aspect of performance – the ownership, experience, the app and connected experience. It has all aligned and we are here today,” he added.

Ultraviolette Automotive is not the conventional company that has just the usual automotive and mechanical engineers. In their 55-strong workforce, there are engineers from aviation, aerospace, consumer electronics, mechanical apart from automotive fields. This diverse expertise has helped the company come out with a product that looks very promising.

“It opened up various use cases, possibilities and connected smart systems. There are people from consumer technology, aviation, automotive, mechanical engineering as well as the electronics side. What you see is the result of the entire team coming together. It would not have been possible without these people. That is where we are different from an OEM because, frankly, they can’t hire these kinds of people. We are more of a technology company than an OEM,” they explained.

The dream of doing something big was not recent. “This goes back to our childhood days. Both of us have been creatively inclined people from different backgrounds,” Subramaniam stated.

“We took part in a lot of creative engineering competitions across the IITs when we were studying engineering. We had won over 40 of these over four years during our engineering course. We had to build boats, cars, helicopters, hydroplanes, robots, aircraft and all had to be functional. It had to be the culmination of different forms of thinking – engineering, electronics, design and problem-solving. This gave us a very hands-on ability to think out of the box and bring different types of industries together,” he added.

Nursing their dreams as they grew up and worked in various companies, Ultraviolette Automotive took shape. From then, there was no looking back. The idea was sound and funding began to pour in. The Series A funding was $2 million.

“TVS Motor Company has about 24% stake in the company. They were early investors and came in about 16 to 20 months after we started. Gofrugal were also early investors. There are other early angel investors who also came in,” they stated. Deliveries of the bike are expected by October next year. The plan is to have an experience centre in Bangalore first.

“There will be one experience centre right now. One thing we are clear about is that distribution needs to be very efficient,” said Rajmohan.

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