Hello Guys, Today I got a chance to speak to Mr. Raghava Kumar.
Bhargavi: How did your journey start in the EV industry?
Raghava: When I first saw E-bike that my lab assistant was driving. I think it was flash or something in that shape. He said that it cost only like 22k or so, somewhere around 2009. That’s almost half the price of a new splendor at that time, and it runs on the chargeable battery which takes very less electricity bill for charging.
I was surprised. I asked him why people cannot buy those, at that time I only have a bicycle. He replied to me that it doesn’t go fast and delicate. I took his bike for a ride and found that it reaches about 22kmph. Then I took a bike from my friend (Hero Honda passion) and tried to drive it for 5 KMs in my town, I found that most of the time I did not reach 30-35kmph because of traffic and so many signals. That is the time my love of EV started. I realized that E-bikes are affordable and easy to maintain than petrol bikes.
Bhargavi: How do you think ” EV industry is making the world a better place to live in India”?
Raghava: People say that China has the most polluted cities, but its media that says so. Top-10 worlds most polluted cities are in India. The only point is that we don’t have too many PM2.5 monitoring devices at the government level and not too many apps for us to monitor. We think least about it. But I think vehicles contribute to at least 35-40% of cities pollution. That directly means pathetic life quality.
With EVs, yes there is some emission during the manufacturing phase and electricity generated due to coal burning. But when the vehicle is 5 years old, EV’s already start beating ICEs on emission scale too. And govt is slowly moving towards clean energy – solar energy, which means the timeline for EV to beat ICE comes down from 5 years to much lower – maybe 2 years. This is huge for the environment – our children can at least breath good air than us.
Bhargavi: What were the high and the low points of this EV journey, what you learned from there?
Raghava: No maintenance is the best advantage I see in E-bikes. I only drive E-bikes so I cannot comment on Ecars. I charge by bike in office, so absolutely no maintenance cost. Literally 0 Rs. I’m driving my ebike from 3 years. I bought it for like 25k. I think I will never buy a petrol bike again in my life. But, I do get range anxiety sometimes, especially because my bike nowadays only giving about 30-35km after 3 years for the full charge.
So I sometimes I get range anxiety when I need to go to the supermarket at the end of the week. But not always. If I charge my bike properly its fine, only when I forget to charge my bike, I feel anxiety. My home is about 3 km from my office. I charge on Friday for the weekend drive and also charge on Monday. The charge that I do on Monday is enough until Friday, as my home is just 3kms away. And I need to go to the supermarket on weekends so I charge on Friday also.
Bhargavi: What is the next big thing in the EV industry?
Raghava: Cars with Grater than 40kWh batteries. The 40kWh battery gives the 300+KM range. I think that is a must for any EV. Then people can at least comfortably drive to nearby cities. With battery prices coming down each year, it is not very far, maybe in another 5-6 years, that will become a standard.
Then that will automatically create a revolution. If we get a car for 10 lakhs and with 200km range, then we are already at advantage than ICE cars. Even without charging infrastructure.
Bhargavi: What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?
Raghava: Indian EV companies are too amateur. Indian entrepreneurs should closely follow international markets and technologies for the better understanding of the market.
Bhargavi: I am more interested to ask for your vision for EV India?
Raghava: I think we may not be able to lead the EV race because of bureaucratic government, and less innovative car companies in India. But with electrification of public transportation, the EV race will heaten-up, resulting in more companies launching their EV segment vehicles in India.
By 2030, EV sales may reach 10-15% of overall sales in India. It all depends on how many EVs are available for normal people to buy within 10 lakhs range. I hope Mahindra, Maruti, and Tata will tap less than 10 lakhs with 250+km range. That will be a revolution.