E-Trio ready to roll out retro­fit­ted elec­tric cars

Auto components India - - CONTENTS - Stroy by: Sricha­ran R

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.

Bat­tery range

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.

R&D

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

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