Earlier this month, Nitin Gadkari (Union Minister – MoRTH) virtually flagged off a fleet of EVs at the Amazon Smbhav Summit 2021. In this fleet, electric 2Ws, 3Ws and 4Ws were showcased. The electric 2Ws shown in the video are manufactured by Hero Electric, 3Ws by Mahindra Electric and 4Ws by Chandigarh based e-mobility start-up EVage.
This delivery van (a commercial 4W) is a first in India, while outside India companies like Arrival and Rivian are pioneering this space. This write-up is an excerpt of the conversation with Inderveer Singh, Founder & CEO, EVage about their vehicles and journey in the EV space.
About the electric delivery vans showcased by Amazon India – made by EVage
This vehicle is made on an exoskeleton structure. We spent 7 years in R&D with a clear objective to reduce complexities in manufacturing EVs and worked on a common architecture on which 6-7 types of vehicles can be made. We worked on optimizing the exoskeleton structure by analysing the load and through optimisation of cross-section thickness wherever needed.
We have designed our vehicle chassis up to ensure safety, comfort and efficiency. The EV has been designed to provide a better total cost of ownership (TCO) to our driver partners and to ensure that driver fatigue is less. ‘Make in India, For the World’ is our guiding motto and we have imparted global standards of engineering, and technology development right here in Chandigarh.
EVage has been working with companies that have committed to convert their fleets to EVs. Working with Amazon helped us better understand the current and future requirements of the logistics sector. We will be launching our 1st commercial 1 ton 4W EV delivery van soon and will provide detailed specifications at the time of the launch.
Our approach towards EV development
A differentiating factor about us is the ability to offer 3 advantages in the form of light-weighting, modularity and manufacturability.
Our preferred material to work with is aluminium. We are opting for aluminium majorly in all our chassis and structural work because it is light in weight and corrosion-resistant. We have optimized our own alloy which was custom-made for us. And, we use composites for the skin of the vehicle just like in the aircraft. The composites we have developed are about four times lighter than steel and the strength is almost 2-2.5 times more than steel. It makes the skin stronger and highly durable yet super light.
Our manufacturing ability is extremely efficient which ensures that we can focus on better economics in the long run. The automotive industry has no precedence to make vehicles ultra-lightweight, super durable, reliable and also extremely modular in nature. But other industries do, like aerospace. It was our conscious decision to make aerospace inspired structures, and the people in our team are scientists from the international aerospace industry.
EVs have a simple motor that does everything and it brings great simplicity to the design. This affords us the leeway for modularity, and innovative manufacturing could be done on top of that.
When we began building EVs from the ground up in 2014, the electric mobility supplier ecosystem was missing in India. China was making components for high-end vehicles that were used in the developing countries but they did not have the ecosystem to make urban trucks that are suitable for the Indian context or other developing countries. EVage did the bulk of the work sourcing locally. Critical components like motor controllers, BMS, even the pack design is localized, though cells continued to be imported.
We have been successfully testing our vehicles for over 6 months in the Amazon delivery partner fleet and we are excited to continue doing so and help amazon fulfil their larger goal of converting 10K EVs by 2025.
Based on views expressed by:
Inderveer Singh, Founder & CEO, EVage. The start-up has raised an undisclosed amount from Dr Paolo Castagna – Ex Managing Director, Fiat India Automobiles Pvt Ltd, Prashant Singh – Ex-Paytm VP Product and Anand Shah – Co-Founder and Senior Advisor, Ola Electric.
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