Hyderabad-based startup Atumobile, headed by Vamsi Gaddam who is the joint managing director of the publicly-traded Visaka Industries Limited, last week revealed its first product in the form of a near-production prototype.
The Atum 1.0 is set to be released later this year and the electric bike carries the promise of launching a mobility vertical that is sustainable and environmentally responsible.
The Indian startup company says that the Atum 1.0 is approved by the International Centre for Automotive Technology as a low-speed bike. Featuring a cafe-racer type design, it has a Lithium Ion battery that takes under 4 hours to charge fully, and offers a range of 100 km. Some of the bike’s features include a digital display and LED headlight, indicators & taillight. The vehicle is to be launched this year for a price of around Rs. 50,000.
We caught up with Ishan Srivastava who heads the Atumobile project to learn more.
On the idea and the project inception:
This project was started around 3 years ago. Our founder Mr Vamsi Gaddam had a vision for sustainable development and a part of that vision was developing a sustainable mode of transport. We understood that most electric vehicles are made elsewhere and come to India in the form of complete knock-down kits. We didn’t want to go down that route as that would have hardly taken 45 days of shipment arrival.
We wanted to design a vehicle that adds value to Indian customers as in our research we found most of the imported vehicles are not meant for Indian roads, they are not designed for the kind of abuse that happens on Indian road conditions. Based on these studies a few iterations happened, and we had to also design a vehicle that was not of an exorbitant cost. Finally we came up with this prototype which we feel is the right product to push into the market.
On the design of the Atum 1.0:
Our vision was that in India there are only 2 classifications for EVs: it’s either a cycle or a scooter. But if you follow the global scene, they have various styles of bikes. You have vintage, classic, and so many other formats, Those segments are missing in India and bike customization is not legal. We want to provide that kind of a little premium feel in the economy segment with our products.
For the Atum 1.0, there are a few components we have adopted from a basic two-wheeler, because the need was for a vehicle of 25 km/h top speed. For this class of vehicle, do you think you need a suspension or braking system designed for a big scooter? I wouldn’t want my customer to unnecessarily spend extra on features that are not required. Of course we have made educated decisions such as using a mechanical disc brake, but we are not putting anything extra where it is not required.
On the specifications & parts sourcing:
Other that the battery cell we are not importing any components of the Atum 1.0. Our Lithium Ion battery pack is made in India and so is our motor controller. The tank, frame are our design and we are getting the tire (20×4 specification) manufactured in India. We are putting efforts into sourcing everything from India.
On the production and retail operations for the electric bike:
The plant to make the Atum 1.0 is located in Hyderabad and it has an annual capacity of 15,000 vehicles. There is a possibility to increase it by 10,000 vehicles if there is a requirement. The exact roll out plan will be shared soon. The vehicle will be launched this year. We are considering catering to the pan-India sales through our website, and most of the components that go into the vehicle have a replacement warranty. We have not narrowed down the exact retail strategy at this time.
On the target customer for the Atum 1.0:
We want to cater to a multiple group of people. In age order, this is first targeted at school-going students. In the post-COVID world, this bike makes a lot of sense as many worry about using public transport. Being a low-speed vehicle, it is safe for use. We have designed the frame to be robust yet the vehicle is quite light and easy to use. The 14-litre storage compartment would allow kids to carry their spikes for soccer practice, so after their coaching class, they don’t have to come home to collect their gear.
The second target group is those who are in college, and they would find this an economical mode of transport. The seat height and positioning is such that it is suitable for persons from 5 feet to 6.3 feet height. For a tall person the handle distance can be adjusted to go down so that he can lean into the bike. Then there are office commuters and even those who wish to learn to ride a motorcycle.
On the future products from Atumobile:
For some we are in the ideation stage, and others in the prototyping stage. We will be introducing different types of bike categories to India, even if it is a commuter bike it would not be a traditional one as it would carry key features from a different kind of style. As for the Atum 1.0, we feel this is the kind of product the market needs right now, given the situation with COVID-19.