Voltrix offers e-cycles for city office commuters
Two young Turks, Viveak M Palanivasan (30), co-founder & CEO and Sakthivigneshwar R (28), co-founder & CTO, joined hands to set up a start-up venture, Voltrix Mobility, in Chennai. Both founders have an engineering background and work experience in this field. Viveak takes care of the marketing and clients, while Sakthivigneshwar is in charge of design and development of products. The venture was started in 2019, but due to the Covid pandemic, things got delayed and their first product, e-cycle Tresor, was launched earlier this year.
The company was initially bootstrapped and is now planning to raise further funds for expansion and the development of more products. The duo are also in talks with a number of investors, including high net worth individuals (HNIs) to fund their project. The Tresor offers a range of 60 to 80 km per charge with five levels of pedal assist and a throttle-only option. It has a 250-watt motor that makes for a comfortable ride with a top speed of 25 kph.
“When you ride a pedal-assisted electric bicycle like Tresor, you give yourself a safe and effective cardiovascular exercise that’s high enough to make a significant positive impact on your health. Electric-powered bicycles are much needed for our country to be a healthy ‘young India’, the way it used to be till the early 90s, and I am confident that Voltrix will become a brand-new alternative for safe, enjoyable and healthy transportation for the urban population,” says Viveak.
“Our mission in this exciting journey is to inspire customers and Tresor, being our first product line from Voltrix is designed and developed specifically for office-goers. We will be launching more products in the coming months catering to different customer profiles,” adds Sakthivigneshwar.
Several studies suggest that 20 minutes of daily cycling can save one from heart-related disease. Physical inactivity is associated with many lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiac ailments. According to the World Health Organisation, insufficient physical activity is one of the 10 leading risk factors for death worldwide. But while we count smoking as a serious health hazard, physical inactivity is hardly considered a life risk. Cycling is one of the best cardio-exercises for people of all age groups and body types.
Tresor provides a range of 80 km per charge and it uses electricity of around 0.5 kWh (units) which costs around ₹3 – in comparism, two-wheelers give 40km per litre (₹100). The Tresor cost per km (for a two-wheeler) is four paise while a petrol two-wheeler would cost ₹2.50 (62 times more).
Since its inception in April 2019, Voltrix has achieved many milestones and established supplier relationships with the world’s leading cycle component manufacturers. Tresor proves itself in three core areas – comfort, convenience and reliability. More than 100 satisfied customers use the Tresor in Chennai and across the country. The company also regularly conducts awareness campaigns through social media throughout India and physical camps in Chennai to improve the visibility of the product and educate consumers on various quality parameters in the nascent e-cycle segment. Their website is one of the most visited (for e-cycle brands).
Cause for concern
The KPMG’s report on ‘Pedalling India’s growth’ with the All India Cycle Manufacturers Association (AICMA) 2021 emphasises the importance of sourcing components for e-cycles. It further says the majority of the critical component parts have been imported (battery, motor and controller, to name a few) apart from a few parts which can be manufactured in India under Atmanirbhar Bharat. The e-cycle consumer segment is still in a nascent stage with not even one per cent of the total bicycle consumption.
Voltrix is currently focusing on creating a vertical integrated platform that ensures fast-paced product development catering to various consumer and B2B segments. The company is working with e-commerce companies (including in the US, Canada and Australia) to customise the product for their requirements. To attract customers, it is working on a number of technology features such as keyless authentication for safety, range estimation, weight reduction, reducing the size of the battery, increasing the power of charging and safety aspects of the battery. The company has two more products in the pipeline – e-bikes for general commuting and cargo e-bikes for last-mile deliveries.
Both Viveak and Sakthi are confident they will overcome any initial hiccups that may occur and they are ready to go the extra mile to achieve their goals.