Hyderabad-based electric vehicles startup Gayam Motor Works is getting ready for the roads of Nepal. This T-Hub startup, which makes electric autorickshaws that run on lithium-ion batteries, has begun exporting its Smart Autos to Nepal and is in the process of setting up a dealership network there. It has already exported 43 Smart Autos.
According to Harsha Bavirisetty, COO of Gayam Motor Works, the idea is to replace the Chinese e-rickshaws that ply on the roads of Nepal currently. “Over past 3-4 years, Chinese e-rickshaws have been gaining market share in Nepal thanks to their lower cost. But certain parts of the country have slowly started banning them since they are very slow-moving vehicles and are causing traffic congestion and accidents in fast moving lanes. This is because they run on lead-acid batteries and have limited application. Moreover, the quality of roads in China is superior when compared to several other countries, which further limits the application of those e-ricks,” he adds.
GMW now wants to replace these Chinese e-rickshaws with its Smart Autos and has already appointed an independent super dealer to build a dealership network across Nepal.
GMW, founded by Rahul and Raja Gayam, has developed e-autos powered by in-house lithium-ion batteries, which unlike rickshaws with lead-acid batteries, gives a maximum speed of 55 kmph and can go for 100 km on a single charge. In terms of cost as well, these Smart Autos has a running cost of only Rs 0.50/km as opposed to diesel rickshaws, which have a running cost of Rs 3.5/km.
It has developed both cargo and passenger Smart Autos and the ones that it will be exporting to Nepal will be the passenger variant.
GMW has also developed a proprietary battery-swapping mechanism, where the batteries are removable, can be swapped and charged separately. This removes the need to depend on a charging station.
GMW, which is targeting the B2B segment with the Smart Autos, already has several notable clients using these autos for delivery and transportation of cargo. Gayam’s clientele includes IKEA, Bigbasket, Flipkart, Walmart, ID, Amazon, Chaiguru, Gati, Shadowfax, among others. It is also working with municipalities in Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Tirupati and Visakhapatnam.
Harsha says that the power its Smart Autos give that can help score over the Chinese e-rickshaws in Nepal. “Chinese e-rickshaws cannot be a replacement to regular three-wheelers. And thats when opportunity knocked our door. We have been getting requests from locations for dealerships and procurement of our vehicles. Our vehicle is a like-to-like replica of regular autos and so the ban on e-rickshaws will not be applicable to our vehicles,” he adds.
Having already exported a few Smart Autos to Nepal, GMW aims to increase this to 800-1000 within the first year.