Electric vehicles have opened the door for zero-emission micro-mobility as a concept. The distance of less than 5 km can be covered at almost zero cost by the use of low-cost E2Ws. Separate from the usual scooters and bikes, Aurita Bikes has taken a more pragmatic approach by utilising the simple lightweight form of a bicycle, adding a powerful motor and a battery capable of nearly going 40-100 km on a single charge, all the while keeping the acquisition cost low. It literally gets delivered in a box with a quick release front wheel that can be assembled at home.
In an interaction with Mobility Outlook, Raghuveer Chadalavada, Founder and CEO of Elon Motors Engineering, explains how the idea of a small frame multi-utility EV is fuelling the adoption of micro-mobility. “While studying, I realised that the efficiency for an ICE is around 30-35%, and has been so for the past 100 years. On the other hand, at least in theory, EVs have the highest efficiency. And the other thing that helped in the inception of Aurita was the understanding that the average distance in last-mile mobility, whether passenger or cargo, is very short” he says.
Looking at the passenger applications, an average family scooter is gender-neutral, and easy-to-ride for all age groups. It has space to carry groceries and has a lower-seat height. Aurita is able to deliver all these practical aspects at a lower cost, low-maintenance and zero-emission to the average family.
On the commercial end of the scale, micro-mobility – like food and parcel delivery - is mostly in the bracket of 2-3 km. The quick delivery space requires a dense number of deliveries but in a small delivery radius, where Aurita is present to provide solutions for up to 130 kg payload including the rider weight. “These two brackets of urban mobility are where our current focus is. We bring a smaller footprint with the same level of practical solutions to a segment of 20% of the micro-mobility users across the country”, Chadalavada says.
The form factor that Aurita offers is kind of the solution in itself. The current portfolio has four models, two for passenger applications and two for commercial use. The adjustable seat height and handlebar angle lends its customisation capabilities for any rider ranging from 4ft 10 inch to as tall as 6ft 2 inch.
Chadalavada is an engineer by heart. So, naturally, he faced a lot of setbacks when it comes to the finances of the entire project. “Luckily, we’ve a great set of mentors to learn from when it comes to sourcing, marketing, distribution and promotion of the product. The collective experience of industry veterans has lent a great hand in driving up Aurita Bikes to heights at various stages of business,” he adds.
Aurita Bikes raised a capital of INR 2.5 crore for the project a couple of years ago. And, the government grant of INR 30 lakh has also helped. The company will be working towards raising more capital in the coming six months. As it builds its own hardware, a lot of capital has been spent developing and building the product itself over the first 2 years of inception. The operations are already at break-even stage.
The entire product is completely made in India, right from the electric motor, BMS, charger and other multiple components. “It is as complex as developing an electric bicycle as it is any other two-wheeler. We spent 18 months working with different companies at similar stages like us to get the right fit for our products,” he explains. Supply chain has always been an issue with electric vehicles. According to him, it has improved considerably in the last couple of years.
The facility where the bikes are being made is a 5000 sq ft space with a capacity to produce 250 units a month. All the R&D and prototype testing is done internally. Even the custom options development for logistics operations is done in-house with an innovative approach.
The distribution network currently resides along Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad and some parts of Goa. In addition, there is this online sales availability. “By March 2024, we are trying to bring e-cycles in the registered category of 45 kmph speeds for the 5 km radius of micro-mobility. We are also working on models with very specific internal cargo applications for warehouses,” states Chadalavada.
There are 10 dealerships, which will be increased to 20 touch-points in the coming months. The aim is to have about 100 touch-points by March. The initial presence in metropolitan cities will be expanded to smaller cities as E2W acceptance increases. The company is also looking for distribution partners in European markets as they already have received some queries. In a few months, Aurita will be able to look at some international markets as well.