Electric vehicle maker WardWizard Innovations & Mobility plans to invest Rs 150 crore in the business in the next six months as it looks to ramp up technology and infrastructure, among others, to meet the increased demand, a top company official has said. The Vadodra-based manufacturer sells its e-scooters and bikes under the ‘Joy e-bike’ brand, which include five high-speed vehicles and five in the low-speed category.
The company saw its vehicle sales surging by a record 435 per cent to 2001 units in August over 374 units in the same period year-ago. The company will foray into more segments than products, including an e-rickshaw in the passenger segment and an e-four-wheeler, according to the official.
“For the last four years, we have been investing around Rs 250-275 crore every year. Seeing the demand in the next 1-2 years, we are likely to invest around Rs 150 crore in the coming six months, which we will be utilised in ramping up our technology, infrastructure and higher localization, Yatin Gupte, Chairman and Managing Director, WardWizard Innovations & Mobility told PTI in an interaction.
He said that 50 per cent of funds would be raised from the market and the remaining half will be infused by the promoters, adding that, “We have started approaching the market.” Demand for EVs, particularly in the rural markets, has spiked as there are huge incentives now available to consumer owing to a host of factors including the rising fuel prices and various state governments doling out subsidies between Rs 15,000-20,000 per vehicles under their respective EV policies, a separate subsidy of Rs 15,000 per Kwh under Central Government’s FAME-II scheme, he said.
“The industry is showing very positive signs and I expect the industry to grow multifold every year,” Gupte stated. “We were selling around 1,000 units in January, which shot up to 4,000-5,000 units a month. This month we are producing around 3,500 vehicles while for October we have already lined up deliveries of 8,000 vehicles. In November, we would be delivering around 9,000 vehicles. So this is the traction that we are getting,” Gupte said.
The rural market, with B class cities, currently accounts for 60 per cent of the demand while the remaining 40 per cent from other places including metro cities, he said, adding, there is now traction getting generated on the lower level. So the traction or vision that we had 5-6 years back of penetrating into rural India is now finally taking shape.
Explaining the surprising trend of increasing acceptance for EVs in the rural market, he said that a saving of Rs 3,000-4,000 on petrol prices is a “huge” one for the rural people compared to urban people, which is leading to higher volumes. Gupte said that the company is also looking to reduce the delivery period to 22 days in November after successfully bringing it down to 32-35 days last month from around 40 days earlier.
“Rather than products, we are entering into a new segment, the three wheeler passenger segment for which the R&D work is completed and we expect to get the ARAI approval by November. So, by January we would be into mass production of electric rickshaws,” Gupte said. Besides, the company has already received approval for a high-range e-scooter with a cart for the e-commerce applications, with its mass production expected to start soon, he said.
“Three years from now, we are planning to come out with a four-wheeler. We are in primary discussions with some technology companies but it will take time as at present charging infrastructure is more important than products,” he said. “By 2024, we are looking at 25 per cent market share in e-scooter and another 15 per cent in e-rickshaw,” he stated. The company can manufacture 1.50 lakh vehicles annually in a single shift, he said, adding that it did not ramp it up as it was expecting the demand will gradually increase.
“But this sudden spike in three months has compelled us to ramp up capacity which is at present around 10,000 units a month. We have already ramped it up in the last 45 days,” he said. Stating that WardWizard will have 100 per cent localization in its vehicles by December this year, he said, “We have already started acquiring companies which are into the EV ecosystem. We are in talks with some battery pack manufacturers also where we can acquire or partly acquire companies.”
“We are developing a Battery Management System MBS, which is in the final phase and we have already started developing even chasis, frame, steel and plastic components in India,” he said.