When you hear of Okinawa Scooters, it does not instantly align as an Indian model. Co-founder Jeetender Sharma was so impressed by his go to to the environmental-friendly Okinawa Islands in Japan, that he determined to return again and start an electrical car startup within the nation, within the hopes to push the nation to make aware selections. When we consider electrical automobiles, we consider Ather and Hero Electric as the highest manufacturers within the EV area, however Sharma’s Okinawa Scooters is within the second place within the electrical two-wheeler market, simply behind Hero Electric with greater than 90,000 scooters on the street
According to a latest Autocar Professional report, Hero Electric continued to retain its management place in 2020 with gross sales of 8,111 models adopted by Okinawa Autotech with 5,564 models. While the pandemic final yr ruffled the EV progress trajectory with factories requested to close down, Okinawa Scooters plans to focus on thrice progress in gross sales this yr during the last one. Sharma seems to speculate Rs. 150 crores to arrange a brand new manufacturing facility in Rajasthan that can initially have an annual capability to supply as many as 500,000 to 600,000 electrical two-wheeler models within the first part, and as much as 1,000,000 models sooner or later. The firm can also be seeking to introduce an e-motorbike into the Indian market quickly.
Expert Opinion: Counterpoint Research Analyst, Soumen Mandal seems like EV startups shall be impacted as a result of second COVID-19 wave in India. He says, “High-speed electric two-wheeler (e2W) sales in India decreased by 5% to reach 25735 units in 2020. However, e2W penetration of total two-wheeler sales increased slightly during last year. Cumulative sales of e2W since 2019 stands at 52959 units at the end of 2020, but only 31813 units qualified for the FAME II scheme. Only 10 two-wheeler brands qualify for getting FAME II subsidy. Under the FAME II program, the Indian government tried to sell 1 Mn e2W by March 2022, but it couldn’t encourage consumers. The stringent criteria aren’t helping local manufacturers with lower scale and consumers are not finding e2Ws affordable as well. More investment in establishing public charging stations and direct benefit to consumers will help to shift from conventional fuel bikes to e2Ws.”
Mandal provides, “Hero Electric was the leading e2W market in India, followed by Okinawa Scooters, Ampere Vehicles, Ather Energy and Revolt Motors. Among new-age start-ups, Okinawa Scooters is ahead of other brands, but it couldn’t cope up with the negative impact of COVID-19 impact. Total e2W sales of Okinawa Scooters decreased by more than 50 percent.”
“The automotive semiconductor shortage will impact more on e2W production compared to conventional fuel vehicles. There is less chance of revival of the Indian automotive segment during this year due to the negative impact of COVID-19 second wave and people will be more cautious in spending to deal with third-wave COVID-19,” he feels.
We spoke to Founder of Okinawa Scooters, Jeetender Sharma to know a bit extra concerning the firm’s journey thus far and its future plans.
1. What have been you doing earlier than you started Okinawa?
I began my journey working within the high quality division of LML scooters the place I spent three and a half years. Later, I joined Honda two-wheelers in India and invested immense time within the firm’s two-wheeler plant positioned in Gurgaon. After spending practically twenty years within the two-wheeler section, I had my thoughts and coronary heart into it – to construct a model from the bottom up that not solely serves the aim of mobility for the lots however is eco-friendly and sustainable for future generations to return.
2. When was it you lastly determined you wished to begin Okinawa? Please elaborate on most likely that one situation that cemented your intention to work in the direction of making Okinawa a actuality.
A visit to Okinawa Islands in Japan is what impressed me to take a look at manufacturing Electric Vehicles. The individuals of Okinawa island are recognized to have the longest lifespans on the planet – because of close-to-zero air pollution. The firm – Okinawa Autotech, therefore, was born with the only imaginative and prescient of making a wholesome atmosphere the place individuals’s life expectancy can enhance. Today, now we have over 90,000 Okinawa electrical scooters on the street. We urge individuals throughout the nation to modify to sensible e-vehicles; for a similar, as an organization, now we have run many initiatives which have performed a job in educating the end-user in addition to companies on the utilization and advantages of Electric Vehicles for a greater tomorrow.
3. Were there any operational challenges (or some other challenges) that you just confronted when beginning Okinawa? Please provide our readers particulars on what these challenges have been and the way you overcame them.
We confronted many operational challenges initially that included the association of assets like good suppliers who have been prepared to fabricate components (elements) of the electrical car, and retail financial institution financing for the shoppers. However, an important one was getting shoppers to consider and put their belief into EVs, given that there have been and proceed to be quite a few myths round its adoption.
We began off by convincing the provision chain stakeholders that they’re investing in the way forward for automobiles and are absolutely able to beginning the enterprise. The subsequent step was making the banks perceive that Electric car is a dependable product and as soon as they begin financing it, this can enhance their enterprise. Finance by banks enabled many shoppers to incline in the direction of Okinawa.
We then did many BTL actions to make the shopper perceive the necessity for electrical automobiles. We created consciousness by asking the shoppers to journey the car in order that they might get a greater understanding of the efficiency of the car and the way helpful it’s for them when it comes to working value, much less requirement of servicing, and ease of driving. They might really feel and contact the consolation of dealing with it in the long term. They have been additionally satisfied that it’ll deliver advantages to society as a complete.
4. Could you share some fascinating tales about your preliminary days? What learnings have you ever picked up from these hustle days?
The EV trade is pretty nascent in relation to shopper adoption. The first step we took was to interrupt a number of prevalent myths about EVs amongst shoppers and different stakeholders. To perceive these myths and issues in a greater means, we performed in depth shopper analysis. Some of those myths have been across the doable velocity of Electric Vehicles, the vary anxiousness (how far does it journey on a recharge cycle), and the efficiency of any product (weight carrying capability, touring on the tough Indian roads, and so on.). With these insights, we got here out with our first EV, which was India’s first high-speed electrical car that might contact the utmost velocity of 55 Km/hr, masking as much as 90km on a cost cycle, and provided a loading capability of as much as 150 kilograms. Moreover, the feel and appear of the EV is nearly as good as a standard inner combustion (IC) engine. Going ahead, we’ll proceed to have an evolutionary strategy to our product designs for our shoppers.
5. While transferring in the direction of electrical automobiles is the subsequent logical step, how far do you suppose India is, with respect to infrastructure, earlier than seeing actual leaps within the auto panorama?
The electrical car (EV) market in India is predicted to undergo an exponential progress cycle over the subsequent 5 years. This is because of many elements together with the necessity for a futuristic transportation system that runs on clear power, the Government’s give attention to native manufacturing, curiosity from conventional in addition to new age car producers which is duly supported by buyers, progress of charging infrastructure, and so forth. As per a joint report by KPMG in India and CII titled ‘Shifting gears: the evolving electrical car panorama in India’, the nation is predicted to have 25 to 35 % two-wheeler EVs and 65 to 75 % three-wheeler EVs by 2030. Even although COVID-19 has posed some short-term roadblocks, we’re assured that these numbers will be achieved and even surpassed via a collaborative effort by all of the stakeholders.
6. Which is the most affordable electrical scooter in your portfolio? What is its upkeep value monthly?
Our most pocket-friendly scooter is the Okinawa R30 which begins on the value of Rs. 58,785 in India. It is offered in just one variant and 5 completely different colors to select from.
7. What is the battery charging method utilized in your scooters? How lengthy does it final per cost?
All our merchandise are powered by removable lithium-ion batteries; which is our USP: the consumer can take out the battery and cost utilizing any regular plug level. It is as simple as charging your cell phone. There isn’t any particular infrastructure required. It takes solely about 45 minutes to 1-hour to cost 80 % of the battery and two to a few hours to cost a full battery.
8. The lack of charging infrastructure can also be an enormous hurdle within the adoption of EVs within the close to future? How does Okinawa plan to beat this problem?
The ecosystem for EVs, i.e. OEM efforts, charging infrastructure, dealership community, and retail financiers are choosing tempo steadily. As talked about above, the projections in KPMG within the India-CII report are a sworn statement that the nation is prepared for the adoption of EVs.
Being a two-wheeler producer, we’re of the opinion that charging infrastructure will not be that huge an issue, particularly within the adoption of electrical two-wheelers. At Okinawa, we thought forward of time to eradicate this problem to some extent by offering removable lithium-ion batteries in all our merchandise permitting customers to take out the battery and cost utilizing any regular plug level.
9. Could you assist give a way of how far Okinawa has come? From when it started to the place it’s now
Okinawa Scooters was based in 2015 by me and my spouse – Rupali Sharma. She is the Chairperson and Co-Founder of the corporate. Today, Okinawa is likely one of the fastest-growing and most disruptive EV producers in India. Being the primary firm to get FAME II approval from the federal government of India to opening our manufacturing facility in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan, to launching India’s first customisable B2B electrical two-wheeler to allow ‘Services on Wheels’, now we have come a great distance.
Within 5 years of inception, the corporate has set new benchmarks and emerged as one of many top-two highest-selling electrical two-wheeler manufacturers in India.
Okinawa has emerged as some of the fashionable electrical scooter producers in India. We launched our first electrical two-wheeler in India in 2017. Currently, now we have six electrical scooters in our portfolio within the value vary of Rs 50,000 to Rs 1.14 lakh. These are a mixture of Li-ion Slow-Speed and Li-ion High-Speed Scooters.
Right now, now we have greater than 90,000 of our scooters on the street. In phrases of year-on-year progress, Okinawa offered 32,186 scooters in 2018, 28,980 scooters in 2019 and as a result of hit of COVID 19 in 2020, we offered 30,930. However, we’re planning to focus on thrice progress in gross sales this yr during the last one.
In phrases of income progress, we clocked annual revenues of Rs. 155 crores in FY 2021 and goal to extend this by 300 % in FY 2022. This shall be finished on the again of a robust product innovation ecosystem, geographical enlargement, and the rising adoption of e-mobility within the nation.
10. Your web site says that you just plan to launch a motorcycle quickly. Please do elaborate extra
With the type of curiosity and traction acquired from clients all throughout India for our electrical scooters, we’re greater than assured to launch much more disruptive merchandise available in the market. We are all geared as much as launch our first electrical motorbike in India quickly. The product shall be at par with its counterparts within the trade. Okinawa Oki 100 could have a velocity of 100 kmph with a spread of 150 km per cost.
11. Okinawa not too long ago introduced its partnership with Weelectric for last-mile supply. Are there extra such integrations within the pipeline?
Yes, now we have not too long ago partnered with Weelectric to give attention to working with corporations concerned in last-mile supply operations throughout India to assist them swap their two-wheeler supply fleet to electrical automobiles. A few different such partnerships are additionally beneath dialogue and we’re seeing heightened curiosity on this regard. As and when issues get finalised, we might be comfortable to share extra particulars.
12. What was it like crusing via the COVID-19 disaster? Did you see a fall in enterprise or an sudden surge? How did you take care of it?
The pandemic deeply impacted the trade leading to lesser gross sales than anticipated. Despite that, we offered 30,930 models within the final fiscal yr. During this era, Okinawa Praise Pro surfaced because the top-selling electrical scooter for us. With our sturdy imaginative and prescient and steady innovation, we have been profitable in launching India’s first B2B electrical two-wheeler i.e., Okinawa Dual which goals to ‘remodel the supply sector and enlarge effectivity for companies’ in January 2021. For this fiscal yr, we intend to triple the gross sales for which we’re rigorously strengthening our presence all throughout the nation for all of the Indians who select to contribute their bit to a greener future on the planet.
13. Do you’ve got any administration mantra/ recommendation that you just’d wish to share with future entrepreneurs?
My Management Mantra is pushed by Passion, Speed, Dedication, and Focus on Target. All entrepreneurs should imbibe the fervour to dedicatedly work promptly in the direction of their one-focused goal.
14. What are the large plans for the longer term?
As of now, about 92 % of elements in our electrical automobiles (EVs) are made-in-India. We are planning to speculate Rs. 150 crore to arrange a brand new manufacturing facility in Rajasthan close to the corporate’s present plant within the State. The new manufacturing facility could have an annual capability to supply as many as 5 to 6 lakh electrical two-wheeler models within the first part which might go as much as 10 lakh models sooner or later. We are additionally planning to launch two extra new merchandise this yr.
15. What is the worker power? Is Okinawa hiring presently?
Currently, Okinawa is led by 250 passionate lovers and we’re actively increasing our workforce.