The government’s aggressive drive for electric mobility in India – which has more recently been profiled in the FAME II Scheme – is also garnering the interest of foreign electric-vehicle manufacturers. China-headquartered Evoke Motorcycles is one of these manufacturers; and seems to be plotting a big assault on India's electric two-wheeler market.
Making India Evoke's vehicle design-centre as well as a potential export and production hub are both being considered under the company's India programme. “This is something that’s on the cards,” says Nathan Siy, co-founder and CEO, Evoke Motorcycles, in an exclusive interaction with our sister publication, Autocar Professional.
The company currently sells two models in China, Europe and USA — the Urban S and the Urban Classic (Generation 1). Both models have European certification and homologation. Later this year, Evoke will launch the 6061, a premium cruiser-style bike.
According to Nathan, the Evoke 6061 has “serious torque and some exciting features catering to riders seeking a balance between power and comfort. Lastly, our third platform (Codenamed 'Project M1') is an entry-level bike catering to a more cost-sensitive consumer, while still ensuring the very latest innovation in the EV space is provided to them."
Evoke Motorcycles' India market entry strategy comprises Project M1 – an electric motorcycle.
Nathan commented on the brand's outlook and plans for India – the world's biggest two-wheeler market – saying, "Project M1 seeks to fill the gap in the market for a competitively priced EV, which is pitched against the 125cc to 150cc ICE-driven competitors. Project M1 is a result of the demand and interest from the Indian market. At Evoke Motorcycles, we are exploring the introduction of the new platform alongside our Evoke charging stations to assist in laying the footprint and infrastructure for EVs in the country."
The CEO is tight-lipped on specific details about the Project M1 e-bike. However, he assures that even though the India-spec electric two-wheeler will come at a competitive lower price-point, “We are striving to ensure that ultra-fast charging, extended range and enjoyable speeds are maintained.”
One of the propositions the company brings through its electric two-wheelers is its proprietary patented fast-charging capabilities. In fact, Evoke claims that its bikes can be charged from zero to 80 percent in just 15min. This could be a revolutionary breakthrough and a potential game-changer with respect to increasing global EV adoption.
Interestingly, Nathan reveals that to ensure that Evoke Motorcycles' customers do not miss out on the bike's fast-charging capability, the company is also exploring setting up of Evoke Charging Stations in the domestic market. “There are some advanced talks going on," he discloses.
Currently, the brand is not sourcing any parts from India; but it's thinking of opening an EV design centre in the country. However, seeing that its powertrain and battery R&D operations remain in Mainland China, "We continue to investigate the potential for using India as our exporting and production hub into the global market and will keep the market updated as we progress. Any developments of this nature are always considered first and foremost from the customer impact, which is followed by the financial implications," Nathan adds.
He further revealed that in the immediate future, the company plans to have at least 70 percent localisation for Project M1 in India, with the sole exception being the bike's powertrain. Before ensuing sales in India, Evoke also plans to address the charging network issue, by supplementing the existing vehicle charging infrastructure in the country through setting up light and cost-effective EV charging stations dedicated for two-wheelers.
Quick-charging network for India
Evoke Motorcycles plans to supplement the Indian electric two-wheeler charging infrastructure through specific charging stations, which it says will form a fundamental part of the greater Project M1. Nathan says the company's efficient charging technology is a result of developing sophisticated thermal management, battery management algorithms and a unique charging software. This system is critical in ensuring battery safety and also helps preserve battery life.
The company claims 15min Ultra-fast charging (1 module) with Level 2 charging facilities (7.7kW max output); 15min Ultra-fast charging (3+ modules) with DC fast-charging facilities (50kW max output).
According to Nathan, the company will use its learnings from the cost-conscious Chinese market in addition to the quality standards demanded by the European market to make headway in India and thus come out with a smart customised approach.
Right now, Evoke Motorcycles is looking to set up its India base in Pune or New Delhi, a choice that remains "flexible at this stage."