We Have Designed Our Product To Be Completely Indigenous: Kunal Chandra, Astro Motors

The Astro has Triyaan Navya in there portfolio which comes under the cargo 3-wheeler L5 category

Photo Credit : Astro Motors,

Kunal Chandra, Co-Founder of Astro Motors shares his journey and future plans for year ahead with BW Auto World.

Q. How has been your journey so far with your EV products?

Being a good mix of young automobile enthusiasts backed by experienced professionals has been the best part of our journey. It began from conceiving a thought to build an EV vehicle from the idea phase to design and taking it towards the actual build phase is something we always dreamt of and it became our mission. We tested our vehicles across different cities and conditions in India and implemented all the feedback over time.

Once we were confident, we were ready for the biggest test and scaled the highest motorable road at Umling La Pass. Our manual EV three-wheeler passed with flying colors. At the same time, there were other vehicles on which our clients were running trials for their businesses. The feedback that we received was extremely encouraging and positive. The most satisfying part about this is that the loved the product performance and we already have received purchase orders from several brands.

Q. How is your new product Astro NAVYA? What are its specifications, will it solve the problem of range anxiety among owners? Is the product making a profit as you expected?

The Astro Triyaan Navya comes under the cargo 3-wheeler L5 category and has been very well received by our target audience as it has been designed after understanding the key requirements of the cargo segment and to overcome the challenges being faced by fleet operators. We are offering 3 variants to cover different client requirements, starting with an 8 kWh battery pack with an expected range of 80 km, a 10 kWh battery pack with an expected range of 120 km, and a 12 kWh battery pack with an expected range of 160 km.

Our engineers spent several months coming up with the right solution. Overcoming range anxiety was one of the main problems being faced by customers, and we are glad to report that we have been able to solve the issue. Our objective from the start has been to build high performance and reliable vehicles without compromising on quality and at the same time ensure the business is setup to be profitable from day one. Our operating process is also a type of unique IP that we have developed to ensure we are lean and scalable.

Q. The government is focusing on indigenous production of goods. How much percentage of indigenous material you are using in your products?

The government is focusing on indigenous production, and rightly so, as India needs to position itself on the global scale as a serious player in the EV space. We have a great chance of becoming a manufacturing hub for the EV sector and need to strike while the iron is hot. We are seeing considerable investment and development taking place in the entire EV ecosystem, which is very encouraging to see. We have designed our product to be completely indigenous, and our entire BOM is sourced from local vendors.

Q. What kind of future do you see for EVs in India and also how is the future going to be for your company?

The future of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in India looks promising. The Indian government has set an ambitious target of achieving 30 per cent electric vehicle penetration in the country by 2030. This target, along with various other initiatives such as the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan and the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in India (FAME II) scheme, is expected to provide a significant boost to the EV industry in India. We are also extremely optimistic for our business as the projections especially for the L5 segment are estimated to be extremely high and we are also developing new models in the 4 wheeler segment which will be quite revolutionary when ready. As mentioned, we have optimised our setup to be profitable and scalable.

Q. Are you collaborating with any company that is in charging infrastructure to help your customers?

Our vehicles are very easy to charge and come with a standard 16-amp, 3-pin plug, which takes 4 hours for the battery to charge up to 100 per cent. We also have a few discussions on the go, and we are exploring options like fast charging and battery swapping.

Q. What kind of trends you observed in 2022 and what you are aiming and expecting in 2023?

As with any new industry, there are ups and downs, but the overall trend has shown that the demand for EVs is going to increase. There have been several factors that are helping reduce the cost of ownership for the customer, and we expect this to continue into 2023. There have been some unfortunate situations which has led to delays in accessing subsidies against the FAME policy so we are hoping that it comes back on track in 2023 and also if we are able to see faster deployment of battery swapping points that will help give the sector a massive boost as for our L5 vehicles the cost of the battery is approximately 50% so that can be brought down making it much friendlier on the pocket of the buyer.

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