Ultraviolette Automotive: Indian start-up EV aims to tackle global high-end bikes



Founded by Narayan Subramaniam and Niraj Rajmohan, Ultraviolette Automotive targets not only Harley-Davidson electric bikes, but premium gasoline bikes as well.

Narayan Subramaniam and Niraj Rajmohan, founders of Ultraviolette Automotive, based in Bengaluru, have been friends for over 20 years; they were competing for the top spot, first in school and then in college, but now they’re a team.

Their goal is to compete in the global premium electric motorcycle market and challenge Harley-Davidson (LiveWire) and e-bikes from Zero Motorcycles, two US companies. At the same time, they also aim to tackle gasoline motorcycles in India and around the world with a displacement of 300 to 500 cc. While Narayan honed his engineering and design skills while working in Japan and Germany, with Toyota (Daihatsu) and Volkswagen, respectively, Niraj worked in Bangalore and the United States.

Their first premium electric motorcycle, called the F77, will be launched in India early next year, and in global markets in 2024, “provided the current shortage of chips and the possible third wave of Covid-19 in India do not disrupt our plans, “said Narayan. The F77 is a premium electric motorcycle; it has a minimum range of 150 km, but will also have variants with a longer range. The starting price, Niraj said , will be around Rs 3 lakh when launched in India.

“In India, it will compete with motorcycles such as the Apache and some models from Bajaj and KTM,” Niraj added. “The F77 is a fitting performance bike. “

Over the past three years, Ultraviolette Automotive has been able to build a team of developers and marketing that includes people from the aerospace industry, electronics, consumer tech, etc., and not just from the automobile. The high-speed tests of the F77 were carried out extensively on the runway at Taneja airport near Bengaluru. “Tests such as vibration, performance under different climatic conditions, application and software, handling and handling, all are almost complete,” said Narayan.

The end goal, the two partners added, is for the F77 to compete with gasoline motorcycles on price.
Regarding global plans from 2024, Narayan added that this would be the first time that a high-tech product has been exported from India. “While India has been doing this for software products for years (exports), this will be the first such hardware to be exported from India; we believe this will be a major turning point for Make in India (once we have accomplished this), ”he said.

If you see the global premium motorcycle market, the LiveWire and Zero bikes cost over $ 10,000, and their equivalent gasoline bikes (in performance terms) cost between $ 6,000 and $ 7,000. There is a lot of price gap and we aim to close it by securing our bikes closer to high end gasoline bikes, ”said Narayan. “In global markets, our vehicles will be very competitive in terms of price. “

Within a year of launching in India, they plan to start shipping to global markets. “We will focus on the United States, Western Europe and parts of Southeast Asia first; our internal calendar must be present in some countries by 2024, ”said Narayan.
While a major investor in Ultraviolette Automotive is TVS Motor Company (Rs 30 crore in 2020, after Rs 6 crore in 2018), Niraj said it is an independent company when it comes to decisions about products, and will remain so. “TVS has its own electric vehicle strategy which does not interfere with our technology and our plans,” he added.
Globally, many electric vehicle start-ups have gone bankrupt, but both partners strongly believe that Ultraviolette Automotive will thrive because they have a small but focused team and they learn from the failures of others; they also focus on one product at a time and don’t stretch out their efforts.
Also, at the moment, they are not planning to enter the electric scooter segment, but Narayan has said that they may consider the same in due course.

Regarding dealer interest in India, Niraj and Narayan said they were overwhelmed with interest from potential dealer partners. “The concession of an electric two-wheeler is not as capital intensive as that of gas-powered two-wheelers,” they said. “The dealership does not have to invest a lot of money in the maintenance channel, because the maintenance of electric vehicles can also be done at a person’s home.

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