Nishchal Chaudhary, Founder & CEO, BattRE Electric Mobility

Batt:RE Electric Mobility is a startup that has been ideated and incubated with the purpose of achieving all inclusive and sustainable modes of transportation using renewable energy sources. Their product portfolio includes E-scooters & E-cycles. Batt:RE is the contribution towards reducing carbon footprint, noise pollution, traffic issues and creating a Greener Planet. We are publishing an interview with Mr. Nishchal Chaudhary, Founder & CEO:

Q.: Please tell us about the founders
Ans:
When this company was founded I wanted experts onboard from different fields. I reached out to them and shared the vision & story of BattRE. They too were of the opinion that electric mobility is the next sunrise industry. These experts bring in their experience in handling large scale operations in various fields like Automotive, Strategy, Trade finance, Fundraising, Sales &Distribution, Operations and Consumer care.

We have a lean team of 10 individuals. All the non-core activities have been outsourced to ensure cost efficiencies and get the best expertise. Thus, we have:

  • Mr. Gajendra Chandel (ex-President, Tata Motors Ltd) a decisive business leader with a rich & invaluable experience, knowledge and understanding of the Automotive sector.
  • Mr Anant Arora (ex-CEO, Airtel) with an in-depth experience in large scale operations/revenue/consumer base across multiple businesses of Airtel ; He has been a P&L owner with experience of more than 19 years in Sales & Distribution management, consumer lifecycle management , identifying growth opportunities and forging long term business alliances for leading Telecom brands of India;
  • Manpreet Oberoi (ex-Director, Cargill & American Express) a whiz in trade finance;
  • Utkarsh Joshi ( ex –Accenture, HRfund) a go-getter in VC funding and deep experience with startups ;
  • Kshitija Karnik (ex-TVS, Citibank, HSBC)with experience in Product management & Sales;
  • Ashwini Mehta ( Director- Plantinum Group) with experience in large scale manufacturing and Kaushal Bansal a mechatronics expert.

Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
Ans:
BattRE Electric Mobility is a smart electric scooter startup founded in 2017. It is headquartered in Jaipur. BattRE is introducing affordable E-scooters and packaging a whole gamut of innovative features & services to truly enhance consumer experienceas they step into the green technology revolution. At the onset when I spoke to a number of people regarding electric vehicles, many would refer colloquially to them as ‘battery-waligaadi”. So I coined the name ‘BattRE’, with RE standing for Renew/renewable energy. The idea is to have a quick recall for the brand and I am hoping that BattRE becomes a generic name for Electric vehicles.

BattRe is the Contribution Towards Reducing Carbon Footprint, Noise Pollution, Traffic Issues and Creating a Greener Planet

Having worked in an erstwhile sunrise industry i.e Telecom, I felt that Electric Mobility is the next sunrise sector for India. Just as Telecom has accelerated growth across the country, Electric Mobility will bring down mobility costs rapidly and take India on a different growth trajectory. Moreover, the government gearing up for a push in the electric mobility usage along with a strong manufacturing aspect will play a major part in this domain. So, with this favorable ecosystem, we explored e-cycles as a starting point to gauge consumer demand and understand the space better. With the success in that space, we were able to break into the network of electric mobility users. A deep analysis threw up several gaps in the space which became the starting point for the company.

Story that led to start the company or Eureka moment:
With prior experience in the telecom industry, Nishchal was convinced very early that Electric Mobility is the next sunrise sector for India. Just as Telecom has accelerated growth across the country, Electric Mobility will bring down mobility costs rapidly and take India on a different growth trajectory. Just like telecom, the government was gearing up for a push in the electric mobility usage and the number of potential users in India is staggering. Similarly there is a strong manufacturing play in this domain as well. Nishchal explored e-cycles as a starting point to gauge consumer demand and understand the space better. With the success in that space, he was able to break into the network of electric mobility users and e-scooter dealers and suppliers. A deep analysis threw up several gaps in the space which became the starting point for the company.

Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
Ans:
BattRE e-scooter uses IoT (Internet of Things) to connect with a smart-phone app and stores all vehicle-related data online. Using the app, the vehicle users will be able to locate the nearest charging stations and also predict maintenance-related requirements. The e-scooter owner can send service requests through the mobile app.

Another major advancement in the innovative smart electric scooter by BattRE is that it will run on lithium ferro phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries instead of the lead-acid batteries thereby providing superior performance and longer operational life. The batteries of this scooter will power it for about 7 years. The battery is detachable and the 10amp charger drastically cuts down charging to 2.5hrs.

The e-scooter has Digital speedometer which displays the battery usage, speed, temperature, odometer and faults.It offers safety features like day running lights, rear reverse, anti-theft alarm with tyre lock, front & rear disc brakes and broad tubeless tyres. For added convenience,it has features like keyless start, underseat storage, USB port and motorcycle like handle.

During the ideation stage we had one on one interactions and focused group discussions with existing e-scooter owners, their dealers, ICE scooter owners and prospective e-scooter consumers. This research gave us an insight into the consumer expectations and gaps in the existing electric vehicle space.

We classified the consumer expectations into 5 broad categories, namely- Convenience, Affordability, Safety, Efficiency and Styling. Internally we refer to these 5 categories as CASES. We wanted to offer an e-scooter that was aspirational while being affordable.

The next step involved sourcing of the materials and components required. We met up with vendors who have the relevant expertise & technological know-how. Based on the consumer insights we created a prototype which eliminated the gaps in the existing e-mobility market. We successfully tested the prototype and went ahead with the manufacturing of the e-scooter. Coming to Distribution, our strategy is to build spread at District HQ level through Dealers and create depth through Sub-dealers at Taluka/ Tahsil HQ level.

Q.: What is your USP?
Ans:
Here are our USPs:
· Our e-scooters run on Lithium Ferro Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries. They provide approx 2000 charges in total. So if we charge the battery daily once , it will power the e-scooter for upto 7 years.
· The product has at least 15 key differentiations broadly classified in Convenience, Affordability, Safety, Efficiency and Styling.
· A smart product with innovative design features, Competitive pricing, Strong After Sales and maintenance Support.

Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learnings that you have?
Ans:
As far as the target audience is concerned we are looking at Generation Z – the teens and young adults. These youngsters are actively championing the Go Green movement. While being ergonomic and style conscious this segment adapts easily to evolving technologies.

Other than the innovative features and stylish looks, our e-scooters are lightweight and provide a complete value for money. This will be an attractive offering for Women as well for the Elderly. But in the end, any consumer (irrespective of age and gender) who aspires to buy a futuristic / smart and eco-friendly technology based e-scooter is our target audience.

In the B2B segment we are looking at ride share companies and delivery companies as it offers them an affordable mobility solution.

Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)
Ans:
BattRE is funded by angel investors and founder capital.

Q.: What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it??
Ans:
As an entrepreneur I have seen lots of failure/setbacks. But I definitely believe in the saying ‘Fail Fast Fail Smart.’ You just have to pick yourself up and get back in the game. Every failure has to be treated as a learning to come back wiser, stronger and eventually succeed.

Q.: How are you pricing the Product? Explain your thought process.
Ans:
The pricing is totally dependent on the specs, technology incorporated, sourcing, scale of operations, distribution network and other parameters.The time duration can be anywhere between 1.5- 2years as it involves various stages like ideation, product research, sourcing, product development, testing and finally manufacturing the end product.

We will have 2 variants of the e-scooter according to the battery capacity. The e-scooter with a 24 Ah battery is for Rs. 59555 (on road price). E-scooter with a 30 Ah battery variant is for Rs. 63555 ( on road price). They will be available through our dealers and online.

Q.: Is there any interesting success story? If yes, please write about it. ?
Ans:
I think right now the fact that we have been able to conceptualise , manufacture, test and now we are on the cusp of launch , all within a year is a success .

Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Ans:
At BattRE, we are placing a lot of emphasis on distribution and after sales service. We are looking at 59 dealers and a revenue of Rs.28 crores in FY 2020. We target to achieve a revenue of 600 crores by FY2026.

Ultimately we want our consumers to live by our trademarked mantra – “Don’t be FUELISH !!”

Q.: Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture? Please explain in details:
Ans:
We started with manufacture and sale of e-cycles online . In the last two quarters of 2018-19 the company’s revenue from e-cycles stood at Rs.27 lakhs. The e-scooter is still in the pre-launch stage.

Q.: What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? Uniqueness about your Startup.
Ans:
BattRE Electric Mobility is a smart electric scooter startup founded in 2017. It is headquartered in Jaipur. BattRE is introducing affordable E-scooters and packaging a whole gamut of innovative features & services to truly enhance consumer experienceas they step into the green technology revolution.

BattRE e-scooter uses IoT (Internet of Things) to connect with a smart-phone app and stores all vehicle-related data online. Using the app, the vehicle users will be able to locate the nearest charging stations and also predict maintenance-related requirements. The e-scooter owner can send service requests through the mobile app.

Another major advancement in the innovative smart electric scooter by BattRE is that it will run on lithium ferro phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries instead of the lead-acid batteries thereby providing superior performance and longer operational life .The batteries of this scooter will power it for about 7 years. The battery is detachable and the 10amp charger drastically cuts down charging to 2.5hrs.

Q.: List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles.
Ans:
Sure. Here are the details:

  • Nishchal Chaudhary :
    · Operations
    · P&L management, sales & marketing, distribution
    · Prior roles with Bharti Airtel and Essel Group
  • Gajendra Chandel:
    · Strategy
    · Ex- President Tata Motors
  • Utkarsh Joshi:
    · Finance, Equity
    · Ex-VC, Strategy Consulting & Advisory. Deep experience with Startups
    · Prior roles with Cognizant, Accenture
  • Anant Arora:
    · Growth
    · Scale up and turnaround expert
    · Prior roles with with Bharti Airtel as CEO
  • Kaushal Bansal:
    · Technology
    · Mechatronics Engineer
  • Manpreet Oberoi:
    · Trade Finance
    · Ex- Director Cargill, American Express
  • Kshitija Karnik:
    · Customer Delight
    · Ex- Citibank, HSBC bank

Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?
Ans:
The direct competitors are:
· Hero Electric
· Okinawa
· NDS Eco Motors
· Ampere
· Ather

Our e-scooter’s price to feature ratio is extremely favourable.

Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
Ans:
We will be launching e-scooters for delivery in the next 6 months and of course expanding the distribution and after sales service centre is something we will be focused on.

Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Ans:
My messages for fellow entrepreneurs are:

  1. Talk to the consumers. Understand the consumer needs and create a solution accordingly.
  2. Think big, as competition is much lower at larger scale . However don’t test waters with both feet.
  3. Start frugal, with a middle class family mindset. Every penny counts.
  4. Network extensively

Q.: Any other information you would like to share?
Ans:
BattRE is incubated at Sangam Ventures.

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Thanks Nishchal. Best wishes!

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