Startup Interview Series – Gayam Motor Works

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Hyderabad based startup Gayam Motors Works (GMW) builds electric vehicles to create a clean and sustainable society. Telugu360 is in conversation with Sri Harsha Bavirisetty – Chief Operations Officer of GMW who gives us more insights into manufacturing of EVs

Could you pitch for your startup?

With a vision to make future of transportation smart and electric, GMW designs, manufactures, and sells electric vehicles including Electric Auto Rickshaws, Electric Three Wheeler’s and Electric Bicycles. Our goal is to accelerate the growth of sustainable transport by bringing compelling electric vehicles to market.

How did Intel’s 8-week Nano Accelerator™ program at the T-Hub help?

We are manufacturing vehicles and smart cities need smart autos. Through this program, we got a chance to work on Internet of Things(IoT). We have tested the prototypes and were able to add intelligence to our vehicles.

Electric vehicles are a slow market, were you prepared for it?

Yes! In about a decade, Tesla Motors was able to penetrate into electric vehicle workspace. We always knew there is humongous opportunity in India, but it is a slow process. Our country needs infrastructure for vehicle recharging stations and there are several factors like costs of the components, Government Orders, Psychology of Consumer which are changing gradually. We are putting in efforts to penetrate into the ecosystem.

Government of India has made allocations in Budget and is giving subsidies as part of Faster Adoption of Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME). How is it helping you?

Electric vehicle manufactures enrol their vehicle segments in the list with the government. Only those vehicles listed will get subsidies. Unfortunately, that is limited to four wheelers. We manufacture three wheelers and two-wheeler. We made a futile attempt to put in an application. The vehicles registered are made of Lead acid battery while the vehicles we manufacture are based on Lithium ion batteries.

Can you tell us more about the Lithium ion batteries?

Lead has been standard for decades. So, the auto-rickshaws in the north are made of Lead-acid. But the vehicles which we manufacture are similar to Telsa which uses Lithium-ion batteries. Major change by switching to Lithium ion will be enhancing battery life, efficiency(mileage), environment friendly and the cycle life. Though the costs are high, the true cost of ownership is far less than lead acid when considering longevity and performance.

When can we expect 4 wheelers from Gayam?

As a matter of fact, in our initial testing and R&D we converted a car into electric vehicle by replacing the parts. Our first successful prototype was a four-wheeler. Considering market scenario and adoption rates, we found auto rickshaw to be more viable. Recently we ventured into electric bicycles. Manufacturing four wheelers is strategic decision which we are yet to make.

Is your target only Cargo vehicles?

For a startup, initially targeting passenger vehicles alone is difficult for the financial muscle. So,we were penetrating into B2B consumer market especially with logistics companies, delivery services and municipalities which use cargo variant of electric vehicles. Educating businesses is easy and they also want automobiles which will work for long time with better performance. But we are not limiting ourselves to Cargo, especially our two wheeler variant is for passengers.

What took you by surprise?

Tie up with UberEats Singapore, Hong Kong, and San Francisco. When we made our Limitless Electric Bike, we made it targeting the passenger segment instead of businesses. As a part of UberEXCHANGE program, we gave a demo to Uber leadership who co-related to UberEATS. We realised that this is appropriate to businesses as well.

What can be done to eliminate stigma among consumers?

Customer Education! The reason for the stigma is primarily the players selling electric vehicles made up of lead-acid batteries which are not reliable. Consumers need to become knowledgeable about lithium-ion battery and its advantages. Moreover, battery charging or swapping stations need to be setup. The negative aura will fade with time.

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