Abhishek from PluginIndia speaks to Mr Pratik Gupta, who is founder of Strom Motors, a Mumbai based EV startup, who will be launching a city electric car in 2020.
In part 1 of the interview, we learnt about test drives, booking, delivery process for the Strom R3 electric car and more!
In this part 2, we ask rapid fire questions on the car features and also EV community questions.
Can the sunroof be opened/closed?
The sunroof unfortunately does not open! Its mainly there to give you a very roomy cabin. When you sit inside a Strom, you feel like a glass bubble. Its mainly for giving you a better experience.
Your website says R3 will have 300L rear and 100L front space. Does that mean we will have a frunk finally in India?!
Yes! We will have a frunck! It is big enough to keep a carry on luggage. You can put your office bag or grocery bags.
You will have three modes of regenerative braking - Aggressive, Normal and Off. Can these be configured in the car?
Yes. That is configurable in the touch screen interface. You can also create shortcuts for yourself in the screen. The screen is very customizable, you will be able to create your own shortcuts. As you go about using the car, you will find out about these hidden features.
Abhishek : That is fantastic! You can turn off the regen when you are cruising in the highway and set it back on when in city.
Will the in-car turn-by-turn navigation be based on Google Maps or are you developing proprietary software?
Yes. We are using Google Maps. Its very seamless experience. If someone shared a location on Whatsapp, with a click of a button, you can share the location on the car.
It's all in the same ecosystem we have been using.
We will have physical buttons to adjust the AC temperature. True/False?
Abhishek : Am getting more and more excited as this goes on! (Laughs)
What can the touchscreen not do?
(Laughs) Because of the size of the touchscreen, we cannot type on the screen. We have tried to make an interface where you don't have to type on the system. You are encouraged to use gestures. You can swipe/slide to increase volume, also certain other gestures you can add. Most of the typing will happen on the Phone, you wont have to type. You can just talk to the car.
Give us an example of a voice-controlled command on the Strom R3.
You could say - "Strom! Turn on the AC at 21 degrees C. You can talk to your car do perform functions"
Abhishek : Wow! That just blows my mind!
Can I see efficiency readings in wH/km and graphs of my drive?
Oh yeah! On highways, you will get amazing efficiency. These screens are customisable. If you are a geeky fellow, you can pull that up and that can be shown as a graph or just look at the numbers. There are various interface options available. As we get closer to the launch date, we will put out more and more screenshots.
Can a user choose between 3 seats vs 300 L boot space? Can we have an an extra seat behind?
No the only option is to go for 2 bucket seats. The storage area is completely separate. The roof height is not big enough. We also wanted to give a small seat in the back. The way the car is built, it's not possible to do that.
Regarding the battery, what is the percentage of degradation one can expect after, say, 4 years/48000 km?
Our numbers are showing 2 to 2.5 percent degradation per annum and that is factor of how you drive and conditions in terms of weather and roads that your drive on. We should expect 2 to 2.5 percent which is industry standard. We have seen the same thing in our testing. You probably will loose 23 km range after 1 Lakh km driving in 5 years.
That is just the way the technology is.
When can we expect to see the future tech features you promised - Automatic vehicle following and parking assist.
We looked at what are the current problems when we drive in the city and we found that bumper to bumper traffic becomes the number 1 irritant. We wanted to solve that problem.
We have version 2 of the system we have built and its under testing. Also we are trying to make this as an attachable kit to existing cars. Current buyers can install these kits when it's launched.
So this brings an end to the rapid fire round! Let's move on to the EV community section.
- Sateesh Reddy, Pune
Regarding vehicle warranty and battery warranty? Your website says you offer a 1-year warranty, which is crazy. I’m sure this is a typo, right? Right?
We have been getting that feedback on our website and social media platform. We do realize that it's a low number. As a company we don't want to over promise and under deliver. This is what we have right now. At the time of launch we will be adding an additional warranty which you can buy, which will give you 3 years additional warranty.
The car will then be offering a 4 years/60,000 km complete warranty. We are still working on the pricing. I know this is low, but we are working on that.
- Sampath Kumar, Kochi
Regarding pricing, will your 120 km model cost less than 4 Lakhs? If i book the 120 km model this year when can i expect delivery?
The 120 km should be close to that. I cannot promise it would be lower. In terms of timeline, 70% of the deliveries in the first year will be for the 200 km car. Post which we will start putting other models on the road. In Mumbai, towards the end of first year , post deliveries you should be able to get a 120, 160 and 200 km car.
- Mayank Deo, Ghaziabad
The FAME 2 scheme does not offer subsidies for private owners of electric cars. What are your thoughts on this and government support for EVs?
As a company we have always believed that subsidy is not the way for Indian EV industry to grow. The way our car is priced with low cost of ownership, low maintenance.
Cars like Strom will make sense even without subsidy. We can perform on our own given the product that we have made.
On the other question, the government is doing good for EVs like reducing GST rates, no registration costs. Overall we are happy with how the government is supporting the EV industry. They have 1000 other things to take care of with infrastructure etc. We are pretty happy with what the government is doing for EVs.
- KV Suresh, Noida - who has done 1.3 lakh km in his e2o
The Mahindra e2o has a DC variable speed compressor, which is more expensive to maintain and repair. Maruti and other ICE cars have a compressor by ICE engine through a pulley. The old Reva electric car had this same system. This system is more cost effective than the DC variable speed compressor. The question is what kind of AC compressor does the Strom has?
That is very technical. We are glad the community is asking such questions. We are using the latest compressor for EVs. As we all know, EVs does not have a pulley based system. When the car is idling we cant have cooling. The scroll tech has come up in the last 5 years and the car is using scroll technology as compressor, which is ubiquitous around the world.
- KV Suresh, Noida
What is the battery chemistry used in the Strom R3?
We are using NMC chemistry.
- Anubhab Khundu, Kolkata
Have they got anything in mind regarding an EV with similar dimensions but 4 wheels as 3 wheels in reverse trike configuration looks too non conventional for me. I would prefer a 4 wheel Strom!
We are planning to build a 4 wheeler. If you try to make a 4 wheeler now, it would be expensive. The reason we built a 3 wheel car was to reduce weight. Unless the battery chemistry or something changes, we might not speed that up. It might take 3-4 years from now to work on a 4 wheel car.
- Mukesh, an EV Owner from our Telegram group
What about a 4 seater Reverse Trike? Is that possible in the future? Also how bout using a Made In India microprocessor - Shakti Processor made by IIT Madras in your IOT systems.
The way 3 wheelers are the way it works, you need to have maximum weight in front for better stability. If you add 2 more seats in back, the weight starts to go towards the back. That is why most 3 wheelers around the world are 2 seater platforms. That is also because we understood the market the way it is evolving in our cities. The most efficient system is a two seater, quick turn around time in city and we will focus on that.
I have not come across the Microprocessor. Till now, we have focussed on domestication on all our components. The complete drivetrain is made in India. We have been working very aggressively on that. If there is something that works on par with the market we will be happy to take it up.
Awesome! so that brings us to the end of the questions and answer section and thank you so much for speaking to us, this really was a deep dive into Strom R3 and also great insights on the work being done by your team.
QnA : Strom R3 Electric Car Updates : Booking and Deliveries
Strom-R3 Electric Car - Thoughts from the reveal (2018 blog)