KEL is future ready; to develop motors for Electric Vehicles: Col. Shaji M Varghese

Kel MD Col. Shaji M Varghese

By Pramod Thomas

Electric Vehicles (EV) are going to change the future of mobility. Major companies are eyeing a pie in the ‘electric’ revolution in the automotive world. Kerala Electrical & Allied Engineering Company Limited aka KEL is a company which is keen to develop motors for EVs and is already in talks with automakers to develop prototypes. In that way, the company says it is “future ready”.

KEL had its humble beginnings in 1964 in Kerala, India. Through its four production facilities, located in various districts in Kerala, this ISO 9001: 2015 Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) provides basic engineering services / products besides executing projects of national significance for high profile clients like the various defence establishments. The power packs designed and supplied by the company for missile projects like Falcon, Prithvi, Trishul and Akash have been pioneering efforts. The company has also supplied special alternators to the Army (Military Power Cars) and Air Force (Radar Applications).

Now KEL is on its way for a path-breaking initiative; building motors for Electric Vehicles. Col. Shaji M Varghese, Managing Director, KEL believes that If the company can develop the prototype successfully, “KEL can lead the market”.

In an exclusive interaction with Autoparts Asia Col. Shaji M Varghese reveals what KEL has in its arsenal, excerpts:

1, It is learnt that KEL is in discussion with leading automobile manufacturers for developing the prototype of world-class traction motors for electric vehicles. Could you please elaborate?

Government of India proposes to withdraw all diesel/petrol public vehicles from metro cities and replace them with non polluting electric vehicles by 2020. In this context all major automobile companies are in the process of developing electric vehicles. One such company has designed an electric motor for their electric bus, through an agency and sought our interest in developing the prototype. We have agreed to develop the prototype and further supply the motor in bulk on successful development of the motor. As the discussions are only in the primitive stage and as we have entered into a non-disclosure agreement with the customer due to strategic reasons, we cannot disclose the name of the company with which we are in discussion on this matter.

2, What are the capabilities of KEL to carry out the development of prototype of motors for electric vehicles.

KEL is the company who introduced Brushless Alternators to Indian Railways in 1973 for their Coach lighting and Air-conditioning needs, in technical Collaboration with M/s. EVR, France, a leading rotating electric machinery manufacturer in Europe. Since then, we have manufactured and supplied more than 60,000 Alternators to Indian Railways. The Traction motor for Electric Vehicle is also a rotating Electric Machine, similar to the Alternator we are manufacturing for more than four decades. The infrastructure, experience and expertise we are having to manufacture Brushless Alternator for rolling stock application give us the confidence to develop the Traction Motor for Electric Vehicles.

3, Do you think that the future will be of electronic vehicles. If that is the case how companies like KEL are going to be benefited.

It is expected that, by 2030, India will have only non polluting Electric Vehicles on the road. As such, demand for motor is highly promising. If KEL succeed in developing world class electric motors for vehicles at a competitive price, KEL can lead the market.

4, Where are your manufacturing facilities located, any plans to add new facilities?

We propose to develop the prototype at our Alternator manufacturing facility at Kundara, Kollam, India. On successful completion of the prototype, for bulk production, we are planning to establish a state of the art manufacturing facility exclusively for the production of Motors for EV, attached to any of the four Units of KEL.

5, Could you please tell us about the future plans of KEL?

We are presently manufacturing distribution transformers ranging from 15 KVA to 2 MVA and we are in the process of expanding our capacity. Our new project to manufacture medium power Transformer is at the finishing stage and by end of this year we will be rolling out Transformers up to 16 MVA capacity.

The Brushless Alternators for Railways, being manufactured at Kundara Unit (Kerala, India) is undergoing major revision as part of modernisation of Indian Railways. At the insistance of Railways, we are in the process of developing compact and light weight Permanent Magnet Alternators.

Other than Motor for Electric Vehicles, we are having plans to enter into new product lines including Smart Energy Meters, LED Lighting Systems, Solar Systems, Dam Safety solutions, etc.

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