E-Trio ready to roll out retrofitted electric cars
The Telangana-based start-up E-Trio Automobiles, which has been focusing on the emerging electric vehicles space, is all set to launch retrofitted cars in India. Retrofitting is nothing but converting an existing IC engine vehicle to electric. E-Trio Automobiles is in the electric vehicle segment and is ready with retrofitted cars for the Indian market. Being the first company to get ARAI approval for retrofitted car-kits in Maruti Suzuki Alto and Wagon R, the firm has now started to work on Hyundai i10, Maruti Suzuki Omni and Ertiga. It will also launch an e-bicycle for the last mile connectivity.
“Retrofitting is the way to go and need of the hour and these smart cars are very efficient and economical. Our vision is to create e-mobility which inspires and nurtures pollution-free India. We believe that affordable range is the key to helping electromobility achieve a breakthrough in the near future,” Sathya Y, Founder of E-Trio Automobiles, told Auto-Components-India.
“We are ready with the retrofitted Alto and Wagon R. These will be launched soon in the market. Going forward, we have started working on to retrofit i10, Omni and Ertiga. The kits for these are still in the design and integration phase. Once, we roll out the Alto, Wagon-R and Dzire for the certification, we will have the new models ready for testing. The kits are being imported from China and we need to fit them here. Though the core technology is from China and Korea, the products we make are Indiaspecific. We are replicating them with our own R&D team, making
them more suitable for our climate and roads,” he said.
With the retrofitting, the weight of the vehicle will increase by 50kg, even after removing the IC engine. Even though there is an increase in weight, the car behaves the same way as a petrol/ diesel car. Removing the engine gives more space in the front of the car. So far, the company has not used the space. It may be used to accommodate a small battery pack.
The e-bicycle is in the testing stage. “We have a clear road map and believe in economic and efficient products. E-bicycle is the cheapest mode of transport. This is one of the reasons for us not to venture into the e-bike segment. We target the e-bicycle for the rural market where the people travel to a maximum of 20-25 km a day and this would be useful for them,” Sathya said.
The upcoming plant of E-Trio in Boloram, Hyderabad, has a capacity to manufacture 1000 cars a month. The retrofitting firm plans to roll out at least 5000 cars this year. It has many new orders from all over India, and it is ready to sell kits and retrofitted cars in the market. “The retrofitted kits are imported, while the controller is developed in-house. So far around 25% of our components are localised. We plan full localization in 2 years,” he said.
The retrofitted Alto, Wagon R and Dzire can run up to 150 km/h with a single charge now. The company is working to improve the range of the battery. It is working with the leading battery firms in China. The version-2 of the vehicles are under testing and they will have enhanced range of batteries. While the version 2 of Wagon R is expected to give 220km per charge (now 150km), the Dzire will give 250km (now 180km). The firm also holds a software through which one can study the dynamic health of the battery by monitoring the state of charge, discharge and the discharge and charge cycles.
Sathya said, “The battery cost would not be an issue here as it is a sensible solution for IT professionals. In other words, it is for someone who takes a car for a 20-30 km ride every day. We are also targeting fleet operators. Every car we do is designed for easy swapping of the battery. So, it will be easy for them too.”
Until the required charging infrastructure is ready, E-Trio will offer battery swapping technology, which might come in handy for many. For the disposal of the batteries, E-Trio is in talks with several telecom companies where these low efficient batteries can be used.
The whole development of the retrofitting company comes from its research and development team in Hyderabad. The team of 14 members here and 5 in China is headed by Stanford alumnus. Before every project, a prototype will be made in China and tested. Once it passes all the tests it will be made in India again. E-Trio also has plans to expand the centre, but not in the near future.
Sathya Y, Founder of E-Trio Automobiles