Electric vehicle startup Ultraviolette Automotive has announced that it will be setting up a manufacturing facility in Bengaluru.
Spread over an area of 70,000 square feet in Electronics City in Bengaluru, the startup will manufacture 15,000 electric motorcycles in the first year, and plans to rapidly scale up to an annual capacity of 120,000 units.
The startup was founded in 2015 by Narayan Subramaniam and Niraj Rajamohan with an aim to build an ‘aspirational’ superbike for the Indian market.
Speaking about the latest move, co-founder Narayan said: “Ultraviolette’s manufacturing facility was shortlisted after a comprehensive search and was selected given its strategic proximity to the R&D facility in Bengaluru. The facility is supported by a strong supply-chain ecosystem in and around the region.”
Ultraviolette said it will be providing job opportunities to local communities within the region, and over 500 employees will be trained on electric vehicle manufacturing and assembly over the next five years.
The startup is also actively gearing up for production, which includes machinery and equipment commissioning, materials and inventory operations, production control, and process optimisation. Ultraviolette is targeting the rollout of the first production batch of F77 for Q1 2022.
Inspired by Elon Musk
Around 2015-16, when Elon Musk’s Tesla was making waves in the US and Europe, entrepreneurs Narayan and Niraj realised the next decade will see a rising need for electric vehicles.
Looking to find a niche in the sector and make a considerable impact, the duo decided to build electric superbikes for the Indian market, and launched Ultraviolette in 2015.
The co-founders felt there was an opportunity to build an aspirational value for bikes in India as most millennials were already aspiring for a Tesla-like product back home. In line towards this goal, the startup decided to build its manufacturing unit.
However, the co-founders said, there were many challenges.
Niraj said identifying locations and regions that would provide strategic proximity to the R&D facility and a strong supply-chain ecosystem, access to skilled talent and workforce, access to inter-state transport and logistics, and feasibility for product expansion and growth were some of the challenges.
A tech-based super bike
According to the co-founders, Ultraviolette bikes will work like IoT devices. The startup has used technology in terms of batteries and sensor absorption, and has also come up with an app that gives users the ride data.
Speaking about launching superbikes, Narayan said, there already exists a segment for scooters, 100 cc equivalent bikes, 200 to 300 cc bikes, and of course, the super-premium segment, which is niche. He says, the idea was to build tech that can take Ultraviolette into different segments in the future.
“While most EV startups in India are focussed on mass-market segments, Ultraviolette has built proprietary technology and intellectual property at the top end of the performance spectrum. Given the complexity of building robust EV technology for high-performance requirements, Ultraviolette has a strategic advantage in scaling across multiple product segments globally,” added Niraj.
Narayan said, the Ultraviolette F77 is a high-tech, high-performance motorcycle built on the principles used in the aviation industry.
“It is an amalgamation of an uncompromising design and development approach to building EVs of the future. There is no comparison in performance, range, handling, or smart features in terms of other EVs available in the market today. With an acceleration of 0-60 in 2.9 seconds, top speed of 140 kmph, and a range over 150 km on a single charge, the F77 is a smart and connected electric motorcycle that comes with remote diagnostics over-the-air (OTA) upgrades, regenerative braking, multiple ride modes, ride diagnostics, and a host of other features,” said Narayan.
He added the F77 has been designed and built indigenously using locally-sourced components in over 90 percent of the vehicle, including the battery packs.
The EV market is fast growing in India, with companies like Ola and Ather betting big on the segment.
“We raised an initial round of funding by Speciale Invest. The supply chain was established in India with big companies like Bajaj, TVS, and Royal Enfield. It was only the electronics and batteries that needed to be figured out. If you look at the two-wheeler market, every part of the vehicle comes from India,” said Narayan.
In September 2020, Ultraviolette raised Rs 30 crore from TVS Motor Company as part of its ongoing Series B funding.
Over the last year, the startup claims to have worked to create a superior EV experience for India and international markets. Although the challenges due to the pandemic has limited manufacturing globally, the co-founders say they have utilised the time to fast-track certain future upgrades and development onto the current F77 platform, including the batteries, fast-charging, and overall user experience.
The founders say, “Ultraviolette’s vision is to establish a global presence as a brand that stands for innovative technology-driven mobility experiences. To this end, we have received an overwhelming response for the F77 from across 180 countries, and our aim is to accelerate EV adoption across the world.”