They were even asking for public feedback without even realizing that the market is a tiny fraction if at all there is a market. Presently there is no market as such. There is not a single person who believes that they cannot do without Electric Vehicles. But then there was never a need for iPods touch screen phones or iPads. The fact is that we cannot imagine the need for products that are not available in the market. There is no demand for EV's as the public is not even aware of how useful the vehicle is. Forget about the illiterate people even well educated people are not aware of the benefits of EVs. The EV products available in markets are not "Apple" standard either. This entire website has been set up for that very specific reason by us to educate the people how good the EVs are and what these 'oil fuelled' auto companies and car review websites and magazines will not tell you.
Unlike in US and Europe the Government in Asian countries are is not much interested in encouraging electric vehicle companies and formulating laws favouring EVs. In fact India has gone on and become the 1st Country in the world to ban Electric Rickshaws from operating. Tatas had tried Electric Buses 4 yrs ago but they were neglected and never introduced into service.
But along the way I saw glimpse of 2 great eBike designs of which one is still in early stages (by Sunil Vallath first image on top) the other one already developed and ready to sell. The developed bike was one from Naman Chopra and it was almost ready to sell and Naman had already put up the bike on display on the Exhibition and the bike had kicked up some storm. Actually the bike stole the show so much that the other exhibitors started complaining. The bike is priced around Rs 300,000 and all the bikes will be hand built. Expect a top speed of 130 km/hr and range about 200 kms. The Battery will last for 10 years and charging the battery will take about 3 hours. (Naman Chopra FB Page: Rexled FB Page). Naman's bike is really an awesome bike!
So in this blog I will share some of the tips of getting your business started. Most of the advice is from Guy Kawasaki and I have added his videos for ease of understanding.
I always believe and advised all to make a prototype first. That is the first proof that you believe in the product and above all in yourself and in your ability to build and in the vision. But if you don’t have the prototype and just powerPoint presentation files then I can only wish good luck to you. But if you have the prototype running almost anybody will be interested to fund it. That’s the easier way out. So go ahead and build it in spite of not getting sponsored or funded.
Another point I always point out is to keep the price of the e-bike on the lower side, to keep the price below the "NANO figure" the Tata Nano figure of Rs1,00,000 (US$1,670) that is the magic figure. (If you can keep it below Rs 50,000 it would be amazing... but then I think the quality would be similar to the Chinese e-bikes currently available). Another advantage with the Nano figure is that it is easier to build a prototype below this price from your own money, or with a small bank loan if you have a job or say 5 friends putting in Rs20,00 each. Lower price also makes it easy for people to buy.
Read and know the Motor Vehicle Act. There is a clause in Automobile law that says you need not need license or number plates for bikes below a certain power. So while making the prototype it would always be advantages to keep the power of the motor and speed of the bike low and concentrate on the range.
An ideal e-bike should have a strength of frame to hold at least 300kg weight (the Chinese e-bikes have capacity of 100 kg) and should be able to travel 200 kms for starting. Range could be increased by adding more batteries. Also I wouldn’t encourage using Li-Ion batteries for prototypes due to their expense. The development of such an e-bike in India, China and all South East Asian market is much more important than say driverless car or even an Electric Car.
Mahindra Reva has so much advantage in this sector that they could use in their benefit. They already have the deep understanding and real world data about EV battery technology, the infrastructure (dealership and charging network), the software (the charging and the GPS). The only thing left is for the bike to be designed similar to an Enfield Bullet or Pulsar and price it below Rs 100,000.
Another vehicle that has intrigued me much is the electric rickshaw. While the world over they are struggling to transport 2 people in electric car here is a vehicle that transports 8 people. So I say… keep the frame and add one more wheel and make it not only a 4 wheel vehicle but also an all-wheel drive vehicle. The extra wheel will add greater stability for the vehicle.
Recently I came across the videos of Guy Kawasaki who explains the art of innovation and presentation. Since he himself is a venture capitalist it makes great sense to listen to him before you make your pitch to a venture capitalist. (But I myself don’t believe there exist any such funding in India outside the IT sector).
Kawasaki encouraged attendees to “want to change the world” with their products, noting that this ethos was at Apple’s core. Ask yourself if you can change lives with your product.
2. Have a mantra. If you really want to be innovative, said Kawasaki, create a mantra. Mission statements are lengthy and unmemorable, and people need to know why your organisation exists. Kawasaki gave Wendy’s (“healthy, fast food”), FedEx’s (“peace of mind”), and eBay’s (“democratic commerce”) as examples. 3 to 4 letter statement of your business.
Ice 1.0 was when Baba & Junior harvested Ice by going to Ice Lakes and Rivers and cut blocks of Ice and transported them with horse drawn carriages. Harvesting time was limited and delivery too was only possible to limited areas. It was a seasonal business. The number of Ice blocks cut per harvester was less.
Ice 2.0 was when Ice started being made in factories and being transported in motor vehicles daily … to all the shops. A factory could churn out huge quantities of Ice which was previously impossible. It was a round the year operation.
Ice 3.0 is the Refrigerator which can make Ice in every single household, any time of the day any number of times. You have to innovate and move to the next level and jump to it. Nokia was THE GIANT in mobiles just a few years ago but it never saw the touch screen tsunami coming neither did it see the advantage of jumping to Android today it is sold off to Microsoft.
Thus the question I ask is will Mahindra Reva will prefer to remain only a car company or will they be interested to jump to the next curve/level of making an electric bike? A good electric bike will sell in millions annually in India. It will sell in millions in China, sell in millions in almost each Asian country!
Apple, Microsoft & Google did not invent by itself all the stuff they have today. Whenever they saw good technology or software they bought it or made it themselves. Those most successful are able to see a product and say “Wow! This is the next level… the next curve… we got to get on it… or let’s get it done ourselves”. Apple and Microsoft both did it by incorporating and developing the Graphical User Interface (GUI) mouse that was already being developed by Xerox. Well the Xerox mouse cost $300 with 3 buttons Apple outsourced the design to another industrial design company who made a single button mouse for $15. Few months later Bill Gates sees the mouse at Apple and develops his own version of it and makes the announcement at the industry's biggest trade show, Comdex that he released his GUI called Windows. Not only that he goes out and gives his OS and mouse to any computer company willing to install his GUI OS needless to say COMPAQ, DELL, DEC, NEC, HP and IBM were all happy.
5. Be willing to polarize people. There are people who love the Enfield Bullet and Pulsar even though they have inferior mileage and yet there are people who would like to ride a bike that gives the better mileage. There are people who love the Apple products and there are people like me who do not. But it’s ok. But for this to work… the product has to be elegant and has to be better than what’s available….not just 10% better but 200% to 500% better than what is available in the market.
The ten topics/slides that a venture capitalist would probably care about are:
- Your solution
- Business model
- Underlying magic/technology
- Marketing and sales
- Projections and milestones
- Status and timeline
- Summary and call to action
Aim to keep the length of your presentation/pitch short. There is absolutely no reason to speak beyond 20 minutes. If you can’t express your main ideas within this time frame, then you probably have no idea how to land the plane on your key points.
30 Point Font
Use big text and don’t be afraid to explore font sizes that are 350 point font or even larger. Bigger is better, and nothing should be on your slide that is 30 point font or less.
As soon as the audience figures out that you’re reading the text, it reads ahead of you because it can read faster than you can speak. The result is that you and the audience are out of synch.
8. Churn baby Churn. Once your product is out listen to your customers and revise your product to make it better. Windows does it all the time; our phone apps do it all the time. Pay attention and listen to your customer. Today with the internet there are so many ways to get feedback. But companies misuse it just to see how many they are able to reach. Most of the companies do not take the feedback seriously.
9. Use social media and Repeat your post on social media 8 hours apart. Put out pics of you working on the vehicle. Show problems, ask for answers, if you find answers share it, let the technology be open source for the betterment of all.
Some of the greatest of the bozosity heaped on mankind... not by stupid people... but by some of the greatest achievers...
1. On the The Beatles – “The Beatles have no future in show business”… A Decca Records executive to the band’s manager, Brian Epstein, following an audition in 1962. He continued: “We don’t like your boys’ sound. Groups are out. Four-piece groups with guitars, particularly, are finished.”
2. “The Horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad”… The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903.
3. “Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breath, would die of asphyxia”… Dr. Dionysys Larder, science writer and academic, in 1828.
4. “It will be gone by June”... On rock ‘n’ roll, Variety magazine in 1955.
5. “Remote shopping while entire feasible will flop”… Time magazine, 1966.
6. “Children just are not interested in witches and and wizards anymore”… Anonymous publishing executive writing to J.K Rowling, 1996.
7. “X-Rays will prove to be a hoax”…Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1883.
8. “The world potential market for photocopying machines is 5,000 at most”… IBM, to the eventual founders of Xerox, saying the photocopier had no market large enough to justify production, 1959.
9. “The telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication” William Orton, president of Western Union, in 1876, when Alexander Graham Bell tried to sell the company his invention.
10. “Little girls will never play with your doll”… The answer of toy producers to Ruth Handler, on the concept of “Barbie” doll in 1959.
11. “What sir, would you make a ship against the wind and currents by lightning a bonfire under her deck ? I pray you excuse me. I have no time to listen such nonsense.” Napoleon Bonaparte to Robert Fulton - the inventor of the steamboat.
12. “Who really needs to hears the actors speaking in movies ?”… Warner Bros. 1927
13. “Television won't be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”… Darryl Zanuck, the president of the 20th Century Fox, 1946.
14. “There is no reason why anyone would want a computer in their home.”... Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation 1977
And the best… since they both used to copy and were aware of each other from a long time...
15. “There is no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.”… Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, 2007.
Go ahead…IGNORE the BOZOS.
Trust your gut and follow your dream. Do what you think is valuable.
I wish you good luck...Now GO and CHANGE THE WORLD!