A lot of reports suggest that the sale of electric two-wheelers is on the rise, especially since the petrol prices have been making many weep. There are now a lot of electric two-wheeler manufacturers in the country but concerns like spontaneous combustion have put some off buying one of these. Crayon Motors is one of these many. But we wanted to know what is the manufacturer doing in order to keep its EVs safe and free of fire incidents. So, we got in touch with Mayank Jain, Director, Crayon Motors to learn more.
Not just a run down on the brand’s upcoming products, manufacturing, and technology, Jain also let us in on Crayon’s quest to assist India to achieve its EV ambitions through its involvement in the GEDA e-Vehicle Subsidy Yojana. Under this program, students, in particular, can benefit a lot while purchasing a low-speed electric two-wheeler. Here’s the full conversation.
Which segment attracts the most customers?
We started by offering electric two-wheelers in the low/city speed range. Our products are designed for intra-city use and have a top speed of 25kmph. The product line provides mileage solutions ranging from 60kmpc to 170kmpc. There is immense acceptability of our products, in this range and we now have proof of concept for the same. Meanwhile, our high-speed model, which is under testing and approval, is already seeing increased demand.
Our scooters have features such as digital displays, anti-theft, disc brakes, and GPS monitoring, among others. They are tailored to Indian roads, weather conditions, and the most basic requirements. Many such factors have played a key role in increasing the demand and acceptability of our products. An approximate 70-90K products will be up for sale this financial year.
Are all Crayon EVs powered by lithium-ion batteries? Where are the battery cells being imported from?
We are currently in the process of manufacturing ‘Made in India’ components for our EVs, such as motors, controllers, and batteries. We offer our customers the option to choose between lithium and lead batteries. We are currently in talks and working with some of the other companies that are doing independent research and are developing different battery technologies. This will help us provide customers with alternate battery solutions as well. Presently, the bulk of our battery supplies come from China, Korea, and Taiwan.
Tell us more about the GEDA e-Vehicle subsidy Yojana for two-wheelers
Several countries have been taking significant steps toward a greener future and the global electric car industry expansion is one of the most pertinent ones in that. At Crayon Motors, as we are firmly committed to India’s EV dream in the long run, we thought it apt to associate with the Government’s Geda Yojana. The Geda e-vehicle subsidy yojana is a welcome initiative, whose main goal is to reduce carbon footprints by encouraging more people, especially the younger generation to purchase EVs.
This is being done with the long-term intention to shift the consumer mindset towards buying electric vehicles from an early age. The Government is offering an incentive of Rs. 12000 to students, on purchase of an electric two-wheeler. Crayon is proud to be a part of GEDA and looks forward to furthering green mobility.
The GEDA subsidy is a Gujarat government initiative and offers Rs 12,000 on relief on electric two-wheelers and Rs 48,000 on electric three wheelers. The benefit is available for student from grade 9 to 12 (which would mean, it’ll be applicable only for low-speed scooters that are restricted to 25 km/h).
How do you ensure battery safety in Crayon electric two-wheelers and make sure no incidents of fire can occur?
The safety of our customers is an integral priority for us. The general safety features in lithium-ion and lead batteries are overall on an upward trajectory, as these technologies continue to improve. Having said that, we are continuously working with our battery suppliers, and constantly monitoring and improving our EVs, both in terms of safety and performance. Our goal is to manufacture a fire-proof vehicle. Keeping in mind this goal, numerous safeguards through the vehicle’s BMS, cell selection and Thermal management are done.
Efforts are also being made in educating customers about safety measures which is an ongoing process. Apart from these, we are also looking at various ways, technologically, to alert the customer in the unlikely event of a fire or something going wrong. This step is under development are we hope to introduce it soon. Many other developments are in progress to further make our EVs safer.
Do you think we need stricter regulations when it comes to EV battery development and manufacturing in India?
As an industry, the electric vehicle is still in a nascent stage in India. We haven’t even seen one entire lifecycle of a single generation of EVs in India. India as a country is also dynamic in terms of climate and weather variations that change from region to region. These aspects are peculiar to India. This is also why at Crayon, we strive to make EVs that are suitable to our country’s conditions. Maybe not ‘stricter’ per se, but regulations need to become more country centric. EV manufacturers should make vehicles to suit our environment. As the industry matures, we’ll begin to see the stringent quality and reliability measures that will play a paramount role.
In addition, I think, electric vehicle manufacturers should focus on educating customers, as well. Gas-powered vehicles have been a part of our lives since over 100 years. So, the general knowledge that a gas-powered vehicle owner has about their vehicle is comprehensive. However, owning an EV requires a behavioural change in terms of maintenance of the vehicle and battery. So manufacturers should come together and make it a core principle to educate customers about the usage and maintenance of EVs.
New products in the pipeline (dual-battery EV, electric motorbikes)
Our primary focus as of now remains on high-speed two-wheelers. These products are designed, developed, and manufactured in India and will be eligible for FAME-II subsidies. We are planning to launch four distinct products during this financial year. The entire product line is currently in the trials, testing and approvals phase. We are additionally working on developing our own drive-trains. This is a focus area because if drive trains are conducive to Indian roads, then it ensures longevity and better battery efficiency of the electric vehicle. We feel a robust drive-train will play a key role in ensuring India’s EV success. Motorbikes are also in the anvil but not in this financial year.
Would you share your product line expansion, if any (electric three-wheelers, electric cargo two-wheelers)
As a firm, we aspire to create products that are simple to use, trouble-free and require little maintenance. We want to create solutions for a wide range of applications, including personal mobility and business applications. We are currently developing our indigenous two-wheeler cargo vehicle, which is one of the products we plan to launch this year. We already have a footprint in the three-wheeler segment, with our sister brand, ‘Singham’. Singham offers a wide range of e-rickshaws and e-carts. Additionally, our high-speed three-wheeler is also under development and expected to launch in Q4, this year. We continue to build our fame product range; from electric rickshaws to scooters; and then high speed tthree-wheelers
Would you share the company’s expansion plans (geographically and manufacturing)
Our current production facilities are in Ghaziabad since our primary market is in the North. This manufacturing facility is over 40000 square feet in area. We are planning on expanding the same. Apart from the North, our products have received an affirmative response from the West and South India as well. As a firm, we are continually working to better understand our clients’ needs and objectives. We aim to and in fact, are excited to meet the demands of consumers across India and make Crayon products available everywhere.
As we expand pan India, we plan to establish manufacturing units in different regions of the country. Our expansion plans are not just limited to manufacturing scooters. We have made significant investments in Research and Development. As a result, we are investing in technologies such as drive trains, batteries, motors and controller prototypes. We will be looking to establish manufacturing plants for these and other key components as well.
In the long run, we are committed to India’s EV dream. We are following our mission, ‘One Million Dreams’, and steadfastly working towards it. The success of this will also depend on ensuring customer/dealer education along with robust after-sales support. Although our products are manufactured in sync with Indian conditions, preventive maintenance of any product is a necessity. We are establishing a strong after-sales service network and implementing an education program for dealers and channel partners, as little is known about the wear and tear of EV vehicles.