Update – We caught up with VD Panwar to learn about Devot Motorcycles’ experience at the Auto Expo, and here’s what we found out –
What was the general feedback from the Auto Expo 2020?
We got very good response from the visitors at the expo. Visitors said that they liked the design of the bike and if this is the bike that will be launched, they would be happy to buy it. They were keen to know when the bike would come out and its price. The bike is neither the smallest nor like the big & expensive ones and would be something that everyone can use.
What is the progress you have made since the showcase at the Auto Expo?
We are currently working on many things but the COVID-19 has delayed few things as we are not able to travel and meet people at the moment. We are connecting with suppliers who got in contact with us to collaborate and we are planning our next phase which is setting up a manufacturing unit. We are going to finish working on the prototype with feedback received from the expo and then take it forward.
Is a production model possible by this year, because of the delay caused by the virus?
I’m not sure. It would be difficult but we are trying our best to get everything sorted, up and running by the end of this year.
How many bikes do you plan to make in the first year?
We are still working on it and we don’t have any exact number or targets that we can share now. We will be following a first-come-first-serve model for the motorcycle and the waiting period will not be very long when the bike is launched.
There’s a lot of approval process. The prototype that we showcased is a work in progress and still has lots of work pending like the chain sprocket, battery system, etc. There will also be changes done as per the feedback with design and ergonomics.
We need to plan the charging structure with the suppliers and we are going to work with them to provide good charging infrastructure for our customers.
Have you been able to identify any suppliers from the expo?
Yes, we have identified a few and are in talks with them. We’re also looking to collaborate with more suppliers and if they are interested to work with us they can reach us through our website.
February 8, 2020 –
Rajasthan-based Devot Motors unveiled a prototype of its first electric vehicle at the Auto Expo 2020. As the motorcycle which is two years in the making is finally ready to meet the Indian public, we caught up with the founders KD Panwar and VD Panwar to talk about their new venture.
Can you give us your background?
We are motorcycle enthusiasts and come from different backgrounds. KD Panwar is from the automotive industry and I’m VD Panwar from the IT and design industry, currently based out of the UK. The idea behind Devot Motors is to create a sustainable and environment-friendly electric motorcycle. Our mission is to create a sustainable energy ecosystem in India.
We together came up with the design and technology to use on the bike. We devised a plan for an innovative motorcycle in India about two years back. At that time there were not many companies that were doing electric motorcycle production and it was all-new. We experienced a few production motorcycles when we travelled abroad, like the Harley-Davidson LiveWire and Zero Motorcycles models, so we thought we could come up with something affordable and cost-effective for India.
Where are you at the moment with the bike?
We are now in the stage where we are completing the prototype and the unveiling is at the Auto Expo 2020 (where the name of the bike and the complete specifications and innovations will be revealed). Of course, we need to make sure that we provide something that is different, something future-proof and have no complicacies. We wish to provide a bigger range on our motorcycle, make sure we achieve a good speed as per the government norms, and provide smart interfaces – less distracting but user-friendly, and security like keyless on & off and use a regenerative braking system. There will be some add-ons which customers can choose to buy. Our next step is to get the interest of the customers at the Expo and of course other companies, suppliers and investors.
Can you talk about the target market for the motorcycle?
For the production model, there will be some minor design changes from the concept. Based on our experience we understood that most of the electric motorcycles are very expensive for middle-age people, students or parents. So we want to make a cost-effective electric motorcycle which can be very affordable and ridden by anyone from age 18 to 80. These days I see that motorcycles are hyper or sporty looking, that’s impressive, but our idea is that a son should be able to take his mom, who is wearing a saree, on the bike comfortably. When you look at the elderly, there is a difficulty when they try to sit on the bike, and we don’t want that in our motorcycle which will have a lower seat height. This is where we want to connect the bike with the family, it’s not going to be a one-person machine.
We are not adding complicated technology which makes it difficult to fix, we want to launch a maintenance-free vehicle. We are also not adding distracting features like it sending out unnecessary notifications.
Can you talk to us about the features of the motorcycle?
The battery on the bike will be a modular setup, so customers will be able to charge and replace when they want from the swappable battery infrastructure that we’ll be setting up with the government. Our main focus is to get the product that meets all customer demands, and one of the main things is safety.
We are going to give it a top speed of 100 km/h and the range we are trying to get in one charge is about 200 km. There would be a single variant and buyers would be welcome to order an extra battery if they wish to store it at their homes or offices. The bike’s battery system will be temperature-controlled.
When do you plan to release the bike? What is the price target?
We are trying to target a range similar to the Bajaj Pulsar or the Yamaha FZ and KTM 125 Duke. We are not looking at something expensive as a Revolt. The current focus is getting to the Auto Expo and gain interaction from customers and neighbourhood suppliers and investors. We have a plan for production next year, and we will be manufacturing the bike in India.
Can you provide an idea of the design of the motorcycle?
Basically its a street bike, it a bulky-looking one at that so that riders won’t feel awkward as they do riding a thin (commuter) bike. We have looked into classic bikes as well as modern models and the design is a bridge connecting them. It will look retro from the front, but when someone sits on it we wish to give them a modern feel. It will attract youngsters, on the other hand, it will also be attractive to elderly people.
Where are you looking at basing your operations?
Rajasthan is our hub at the moment. In Jodhpur we have one of the world’s biggest solar energy plants, so we will make sure that the plant we set up here is going to be (running) on recyclable or reusable energy. We will try to generate our own energy. We know the Jodhpur area very well and it is not far from both the metro cities (Delhi and Mumbai).