We speak to the CEO and Co-Founder Mr Parveen Kharb, and ask him some questions on the product, the technology and upcoming milestones.
Flow is slated for introduction in August End 2019. The first cluster of cities where we are likely to have our footprints are Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, Kolkata. Flow unlike any other EV is just not a product it is a complete solution starting from the e-scooter, Ionex energy network catering to end to end energy solutions for end users including battery swapping, fast charging and range extension. 22Kymco will not sell any battery unlike the rest instead the batteries are going to be available on subscription.
Can we know why you have chosen a hub motor drive, and not a belt/chain drive? What benefits do you see in this?
Belt Chain Drive centre motors are meant for high wattage motors while ours is only 1200 watt with a peak capacity of 2100 watts. For such motors rear hub one is more cost effective and performance friendly. The speed torque requirements are addressed thru innovative electronics.
The dual battery, where one is fixed and one is removable is an innovative concept. We understand that the removable one can be charged at home on a dedicated pod, but can users simply charge both batteries in the vehicle itself using a charger, say in their parking?
First of all we don’t have any fixed battery in Flow both are removable, portable and can be charged on the scooter as well as off it at anywhere the users wish to. The idea is to offer unrestricted range and not limited or restricted range which we see is generally offered by the existing scooters. No matter how far the scooter can go in one full charge it still keeps the riders anxious and fails to meet the quintessential challenge of roadside refuelling like an ICE scooter within similar time. And without this e scooters will continue to lack consumer preference.Therefore Ionex is the only interim solution until a battery which can be fully charged in 30 seconds for travelling some reasonable distance is invented. Cost surely is another matter which would have different set of solutions.
Your website says "Any time, you have an issue with the battery, it gets replaced free of cost". Can you explain how this works exactly?
In order to provide battery swapping options, no matter how rare this need maybe, one needs to stay away from selling the battery and instead make this available on subscription. Once the battery is not owned by the end users they avail the complete energy solution uninterrupted and perpetually as long as they are paying the monthly subscription. Therefore if the battery which s/he is using without owning it has issues s/he is replaced with a performing battery and this also saves the users from the pain of replacing the old battery periodically at a cost which is unwanted and mostly unaffordable. Also when one buys an ICE vehicle s/he does not pay upfront for the future full cost of the vehicle for say 4years; but in an EV one in a way is compelled to do so since a good battery is likely to last for that kind of a period unless the shame is subscription. And for this model portability of the battery is critical for swapping and fast charging etc. This flexibility relieves the users from so called range anxiety by suitably using such options.
See data connectivity is probably the cheapest commodity in the market now and the value it offers completely overshadows the cost. However typically a data sim may cost around Rs. 300 a month but in Flow powered by Ionex the total ownership cost would still be the best in its class and significantly lower than the regular ICE CVT scooters by all means. The reason to buy is not cost or savings. The idea is with no significant trade off you are upgrading to the technology of future and the future of technology. If in today’s atmosphere one is not connected to the internet s/he is out of sync and similarly vehicles which are not connected will soon find themselves in the stone age. To keep pace with this fast evolving technology you have no choice but to be connected.
Are you manufacturing/assembling the vehicles, the batteries as well as the charging stations in India? What is the target for your production capacity?
Yes we are going to manufacture them in Bhiwadi soon as our plant is under completion. You maybe knowing Ionex (energy solution) is a solution coming from Kymco of Taiwan, who is our strategic partner with equity stake in the company (we are now called 22Kymco) and initially the Ionex solution will be imported from Taiwan and subsequently we may consider making them here too. Ion is an open system and any manufacturer of EV can avail this solution if they wish to.
Regarding the Ionex charging stations, will they too be launched at the same time along with the FLOW, or will they come out later in a phased manner?
Yes they will be and I think I have already answered this.
How many such stations are you planning to install, say on a per sq.km. Basis?
It will gradually get populated and ideally we want them to be available like a mobile sim card pre and post paid which is virtually everywhere. But that would take time.
The Ionex charging solution is not exactly "battery swapping" as we understanding it. Each user can use only their own batteries. However do you see yourself venturing into "battery swapping" in the future?
You are right battery swapping is a very small part of it and maybe people would not avail this much. It is about refueling as per suitability. For our entry into battery we haven’t though of it. We would prefer to be in vehicle side.
Will the Ionex charging station be eligible for subsidies under FAME-2 ?
Not clear on this as yet.
Where all do you plan to install your "Ionex charging stations"? Is it only commercial spaces & offices etc., or even individuals can install them in their premises? If it is also for individuals, what is the business case for them?
You will get to know about that soon but the formal and informal sectors both will contribute to this.
Are you also targeting bike taxi companies besides retail consumers? If yes, are you in talks with any such companies?
How many units of the FLOW and the charging stations are you expecting to sell/install in the next couple of years?
If the solution is appropriate the numbers will be much more than what we can imagine. So we are more focused in making the solution right.
Other than FLOW, are you working on any other products currently? What new products can we expect in the near future?
Yes we are but that is not for public eye right now.
Thank you Parveen and we are looking forward to the launch of Flow and Ionex.