This e-scooter maker bets on a detachable battery

This electric scooter maker bets on a detachable battery

Bengaluru-based Ather Energy and Simple Energy and Ampere are also revving up to keep their market share intact

Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

Electric scooters are not getting into the long-distance inter-city commute mode anytime soon. Despite the entry of biggies promising range per change in excess of 150km, e-scooters will largely remain within a city.

This is the ecosystem that Okinawa Autotech, a big player in this space, wants to expand its footprint in.

Last year, Okinawa had a 36% share in the hi-speed (over 25kmph) e-scooter market, company founder and managing director Jeetender Sharma told DH.

Nationwide, 1.52 lakh electric two-wheelers were sold in 2019-20 before a 6% pandemic-triggered dip saw the number fall to 1.44 lakh, as data from the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) shows.

Besides legacy players such as Hero Electric, TVS Motors and Bajaj Auto, Okinawa’s competition in the fast-populating e-scooter market has heated up with the big-ticket entry of Ola Electric.

Bengaluru-based Ather Energy and Simple Energy and Ampere are also revving up to keep their market share intact.

“We are planning to sell about one lakh e-scooters this fiscal. Our new facility coming up in Rajasthan will have a production capacity of up to 5-6 lakh per annum in the first phase, reaching a million in the second phase. We want to operationalise this in the second quarter of 2021-22,” Sharma said. But he does not see the mushrooming players in the market as part of a competition.

“We don’t see it that way because the pie is so big. There is space for everybody. The time to grow is now. We foresee a lot of demand from this year.”

Beyond sales, the growth will be in the e-scooter’s performance, speed and range. “There is a lot of innovation in battery, power train, integration of Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence.”

The claimed range/charge of Okinawa’s flagship model is 140km. The e-scooters have top speeds in the range of 45 to 65 kmph. “Buyers are mostly in the 20 to 45 years group, a mix of students and small-time businessmen.”

Unlike Ola, Ather and other brands, Okinawa has a different approach to charging. The thrust is not on charging stations.

“We have a detachable Li-ion battery that can be charged anywhere. Based on the geography, it is difficult to get charging stations. Eighty percent of the battery can be charged in 45 minutes and a 10-minute charge can give you 15-20 km,” he explained.

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