From becoming India’s youngest entrepreneur in automotive industry at an age of 14, to now shaping up the future of electric mobility in India, Raj Mehta, Founder of Greta Electric Scooters and MD, Raj Electromotives Pvt. Ltd., shares experiences of his entrepreneurial journey and his vision for the growth of the company with DeviceNext.
Here’s an excerpt from the interesting interaction with him:
Please tell us about the inception story of Greta Electric and the journey so far.
Compelled to ride my bicycle for many miles for errands, I wanted it to be simpler. Naturally lazy, I wished for a solution that would take the toil out of the task. As they say, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” one thing led to another, and I floundered on the idea of building an electric engine for my bicycle. I was around 11 yrs old then, but even then, I was aware of the significance of developing an environmentally sustainable solution. Once the possibility of having an electric engine for a toil-free ride took root in my mind, I was hooked. If there was no solution in the market, I wanted to make one. Researching and seeking help from my teachers and anyone I could find, by the age of 12, I managed to create a workable model of an e-kit that converted by cycle into an e-cycle. The challenge of making it, the research experimentation, and finally, the sweet success, not to miss the convenience it lent – I knew this was what I wanted to do. I never envisaged starting a company, but an unexpected interview with a leading news agency got viral, causing a flood of demand for e-kits and lo! Behold! I was in business. I was all of 14 when I set up Raj Electromotives, becoming the youngest entrepreneur in the automotive industry.
During my initial prototyping days, I realised that the production of e-kits would require a few critical components to be imported. Hence once we started the company, I applied for an import-export license becoming the youngest person to ever apply for one and be awarded one at the age of 17. None of this would have happened if my grandfather had not stepped in to loan me INR 8K in exchange for getting complete visibility on my finances.
Raj Electromotives started operations by producing conversion kits for pedal cycles. It soon expanded its portfolio to include conversion kits for tricycles for differently abled people, bikes (India’s first retro-fitment kit to convert a Petrol Bike to Electric), and pedal, freight and passenger rickshaws. Raj Electromotives Conversion Kits found traction both in the domestic and overseas markets. Today Raj Electromotives Pvt. Ltd. supplies to more than 19 countries globally.
The drive to expand my vision of a clean commute led to setting up Greta Electric Scooters in June 2019. Greta Electric Scooters is dedicated to manufacturing e-scooters. It received its ICAT permit in late 2019.
Greta Electric Scooters has made its presence in India and Nepal and are under road test in select European markets. Our showroom at Leh and Ladakh has given us the privilege of having an EV showroom at the highest altitude.
The journey so far has been a roller-coaster for me and I am striving to be a front runner in spearheading the changing face of transportation.
As the EV landscape is booming in India and many new entrants are joining the segment, specially the two-wheeler market, what is Greta’s differentiating factor from the competition?
My vision differentiates me from the rest. I am driven by a single vision of making commute easy and affordable for the largest population possible without adding to the carbon footprint. This was the very vision that had me set up Raj Electromotives at the age of 14 years and later resulted in the set up of Greta Electric Scooters.
To further the vision, we work hard at getting state of art features and benefits to consumers at affordable prices while offering top notch quality. Hearing from our customers and understanding the differences in their requirements, to help affordability we allow customers decide the battery they need. Battery being the largest cost component of the vehicle allows the customer to optimize cost to their requirements.
From your perspective, how is the EV adoption in India? What market segments will see the maximum traction in terms of EV mobility adoption?
Given the 2070 goal of the Government to be a zero-emission country, EV as an industry is exploding especially in the 2-wheeler segment. There is an opportunity waiting in every aspect of the EV supply chain may that be ramping up of ancillary suppliers, battery manufacturers, setting up of charging infrastructure or introduction of more offerings to meet the market demand.
While offering opportunities these are the areas that need focus and incentive to ramp up to help reduce dependence on imports for EV manufacturers, bring down the cost and make transitioning to EV more lucrative and acceptable.
For EV users, electric charging stations (aside homes) is a challenge as it limits their range. Are you also working or planning with the charging station providers to build the EV infrastructure?
As of now, our vehicles are designed to charge from any power point. Not being charging station dependent as of association or collaboration with EV Charger manufacturers is not quite on the charts. Our focus right now is to bring better than the best to our customers with safety as the paramount focus.
Please share about your new launches and the plans for 2023 for your market expansion.
In pursuit of my vision to make Greta Electric Scooters a game changer, research and innovation are a way of life at Greta Electric Scooters. Hence, new products are a given. We will share details on them as and when we are ready to bring them to market. In the meantime, the focus is on aggressively increasing our footprint across the country. To allow customers to make an educated purchase, our focus is on creating an experience centre in most of our showrooms. The target is to have a nationwide network of 50+ touchpoints by the end of FY22.
Greta Scooters have been sent there for road tests in response to the increasing demand for e-scooters in Europe. Our focus on quality which has helped us pass the stringent international standards will hold us in good stead, and soon Greta Scooters will be gracing European roads.