Gemopai Electric kick-started its operations in India three years back via a joint venture (JV) between Goreen E-Mobility and Opai Electric
Opai has had a long-standing (over 15 years) expertise in manufacturing EVs, scooters in particular, for Asian and European markets, and the Indian JV envisages bringing cleaner vehicle technologies to India. Gemopai is now looking to improve its sales performance with a focus on purpose built products for the domestic market. Auto Tech Review caught up with Kshitij Kumar, Co-Founder, Gemopai Electric, to understand more about the company’s EV products and strategy for India.
Adopting a different approach for the Indian market, the company, instead of creating four models in different segments featuring just cosmetic differences, focussed on creating products that are specially designed to suit a segment or customer base. A new product lined-up for launch soon is a single-seat scooter designed specifically to meet demands of the delivery segment, featuring carriers in the front as well as in the rear. With e-commerce services growing significantly in the country, the single seat electric scooter could well be the first custom-built product aimed at the e-commerce segment.
Similarly, the company’s first product – Gemopai Ryder – is a low-speed e-scooter that was aimed at an audience that did not have a license, yet needed some form of personal mobility. The Ryder caters to school-going children, housewives and elderly and to make it more convenient, the company has ensured this product is light and can be easily managed by novice drivers. The Astrid Lite will be offered to a wider audience that is looking for a reliable e-scooter with a range that is close to 100 km.
With EVs, one needs to be most concerned with the product lifecycle as it needs to last long and be durable for Indian standards, noted Kumar. For example, the company runs over 800 test cycles on its batteries to certify their capability. Gemopai has been able to establish 50 % localisation for its products in India and is also looking to develop a completely indigenous product.
SOLUTIONS & OPERATIONS
To begin with, Gemopai took a few European-spec models and spent around six months in optimising these models to better suit the Indian conditions. After making India-specific modifications, the company has received necessary road worthiness approvals from regulatory bodies.
While technical operations of this JV are supported by Opai, Gemopai has a manufacturing facility at Greater Noida that boasts of an annual capacity of 150,000 units, which can be doubled to 300,000 on a double shift. The Gemopai Ryder was the first model to be rolled-off this line two years back and a new model Astrid Lite has also been added to the production line-up recently. Although this model was initially planned to be launched around six months ago, the company decided to invest more time to optimise it before being launched in the market. Gemopai is also preparing to launch another model in early 2020, which is expected to be a low-cost e-scooter featuring a lithium-ion battery pack.
OPTIMISING PRODUCTS FOR INDIA
India is not just a unique market, but it also poses unique environmental and climatic challenges. For instance, as Kumar pointed out, most e-scooters launched in India offer their batteries in the footboard of the scooter. For its products, Gemopai has reworked the chassis to better suit the local market needs. The chassis height has been increased to offset problems arising due to waterlogging conditions in India, said the Gemopai Co-Founder.
Gemopai has made multiple fortifications on their battery pack, which is claimed to be IP 65 certified meeting dust and waterproof standards. He ideally wanted an IP 67 certification that would also ensure a waterproof connector, but the lack of available technology meant the company had to use silicon sealing instead to make the connectors waterproof. The company’s e-scooters are the only ones that can be washed without voiding the product warranty, said Kumar.
Kumar said 48 V systems are relatively safer, but one needs to be careful with systems such as 60 V and 72 V, especially with factors like waterproofing. Gemopai has also invested a considerable amount of time optimising the synergies of the motor and the controller. The thumb rule for these systems is that if there is a 1,000 W motor, it should be paired with a 48 V system. Similarly, for a 1,000–2,000 W motor, a 60 V system should be used to optimise performance. For proper optimisation, there is a need to constantly increase the voltage of systems to get the best possible performance, he added.
Gemopai is using a 2,400 W motor with a 72 V system that is able to return a mileage of 80 km even when it is in performance mode. Products are typically tested over three months across 100-plus cycles. Gemopai has less than 1 % return for warranty-related issues, which the company claims is exceptional for a relatively new company. The usual figures or other such companies are between 10-15 %, Kumar claimed.
Gemopai also runs its own training programmes for dealers and customers to optimise the e-scooters’ performance. The company is currently selling around 300-400 units a month and these are largely expensive models. With a new low-cost model coming in, Gemopai is upbeat about achieving its sales target of 1,000 units a month.
TEXT: Joshua David Luther