A New Form Factor Of Two Wheelers Takes Shape In India

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The logistics sector has become India’s biggest adopter of electric vehicles. However, attrition due to physical and mental fatigue is alarming for lease and fleet operators in the two-wheeler logistics space. Can Qargos, with a new two-wheeler form factor, help address this problem? Vijay K Praveen and Alok Das, founders of Qargos, explain!

Q: What problem statement gave birth to this new two-wheeler form factor?

A: The problem statement we are answering with Qargos F9 electric two-wheeler (E2W) is productivity. People who use two-wheelers for commercial work like deliveries and logistics often have to carry a backpack weighing over 30 kg. This not only drains their energy, making them less productive but also makes them unsafe for the riders.

According to orthopaedics, one of the major concerns is that it’s generally advised not to carry loads exceeding 15-20% of one’s body weight on the back, as this can significantly strain the spine and lead to long-term back problems.

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The transition from petrol/diesel to electric powertrain has solved the cost problem, and the Qargos F9 aims to solve the productivity, safety, and health problems in electric two-wheelers. Moreover, we also aim to help companies address the attrition problem by making logistics fun for riders and delivery professionals.

Q: Fun for the logistics sectors? Can you expand the statement?

A: This E2W can reach a top speed of 80 Km/hr and is designed and made around a comfortable rider triangle. It has a 225-litre space that can carry goods weighing up to 100 to 120 kg. The range we are offering right now is up to 150 km. All these stats make the F9 the perfect solution for the logistics industry.

In our ongoing Field Testing by customers, even after doing a whole day of pickup or delivery over QARGOS F09, we observe that the delivery personnel do not feel drained or exhausted; they remain energetic, as their job primarily involves riding rather than carrying hefty loads on their backs.

Hence, it is fun for logistics, as it ensures both productivity and rider well-being. In the gig economy, a business’s success depends on how long the people are associated with you. The F9 addresses that part of the puzzle.

Q: Has the same been tested?

A: During the design phase, Computer-Aided Engineering analyses were performed leveraging the Dassault Systèmes 3D Experience Works portfolio. We have road-tested the vehicle for over 40,000 km, and multiple logistics companies are testing the same in their operations. We are letting the companies test the Qargos F9 because not only does it give us validation for the product, but it also allows the companies to feel the difference this new form factor can bring to their business.

Q: Will it get copied sooner or later, and the same could happen nationally and internationally?

A: We are leveraging our global intellectual property portfolio to safeguard our innovation. We have filed over 100 patents for the F9, including patents in and outside India. These patents are a strong deterrent against replication, ensuring that even if someone attempts to imitate, they will encounter significant obstacles.

Q: A 100 patents! How much have you spent in the process, and what countries are these filed in?

A: We have invested a lot of capital in filing these patents, and about 50 of them have been granted. In addition to India, we’ve filed patents in countries we’ve identified as potential markets, and we’re continuously pursuing additional patent filings.

Q: What market size do you anticipate in India?

A: Our research shows that one in 25 people in India uses their two-wheeler for commercial purposes. India has about 23 crore registered two-wheelers. Some common examples include milkmen, grocers, pharmacy professionals, and more. Including the organised and unorganised sectors, India’s market size is about a crore units.

Q: Are you going after that number?

A: The automobile sector is more about service and less about sales. Even if we wanted to chase that number, it would not be possible for the first few years. We will focus on the B2B side for the first three years. The B2C, or the end-consumer vertical, will need a big retail network establishment. Hence, we will focus on the B2B side.

Q: Focus on B2B; who would be your ideal partner?

A: For the first phase of Qargos operations in India, we are partnering with fleet operators and vehicle lease companies. Many end users do not want to own assets on their books so that the partners will lease them our vehicles. We will entertain all requests with a minimum order quantity of at least five units.

Q: Have you raised any funds so far? Are you open to funding?

A: Everything we have raised has come from family and friends. We are open to raising funds if the investors do not stop us from further making and improving the product. We will onboard partners who can help us manufacture faster.

Q: How many Qargos F9 do you plan to manufacture this year?

A: Initially, we had planned to deliver 250 Qargos F9 this calendar year as a pilot batch, but due to overwhelming demand, we now have preorders for 1,000 units. Consequently, we are reallocating our resources to meet this increased demand. We aim to deliver 20,000 units next year and surpass the milestone of 50,000 units starting from the third year onwards.

Q: Can you shed light on the material cost bill and source for building F9?

A: The F9’s design and manufacturing are completely done in India. We source 75% of the components from India, except for battery cells and a few other things we have to source from outside the country.

Q: Can you name a few partners you are working with for sourcing?

A: Dassault Systems continues to be a partner who has supported us during our journey. They came to India, and engineers who have worked on the best electric vehicles the world has seen have been working with us. Similarly, our prototype was built in partnership with Tata Steel. I say this because the quality of the structure of the F9 depends on the kind of steel we are using.

Q: What about the battery packs?

A: The F9 operates on a distinctive 72V architecture, differing from the prevalent 48V architecture in the Indian e2w ecosystem. This posed significant challenges for us in sourcing compatible battery packs. Consequently, we collaborated with Dassault Systems to engineer custom-designed battery packs tailored to our requirements. Looking ahead, the motorcycle platform is poised to become fuel-agnostic, offering adaptability for future integration of fuel cells as needed.

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Mukul Yudhveer Singh
Mukul Yudhveer Singh
Mukul Yudhveer Singh is an Editor at EFY. He’s an experienced business journalist who is both an enthusiast and a cynic of technology. Believes in data, as well as hunch-based journalism. He defines journalism as- reporting facts which help the audience take their own decisions, not ones that influence them!

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