By Pramod Thomas
Electric two-wheeler manufacturing company Okinawa Autotech Private Limited will set up its second plant in Rajasthan, India, with an annual production capacity of one million to offer a wider variety of electric vehicles. This year the company will launch electric motorcycles and would expand globally, Jeetender Sharma, Managing Director, Okinawa Autotech, told AutoParts Asia.
Founded in 2015 by Jeetender Sharma, and Rupali Sharma, Okinawa is located in JMD Megapolis, Gurugram. The manufacturing facility is in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan. The plant has a production capacity of 1.8 lakh vehicles a year, and all its scooters are manufactured in this unit.
Okinawa was established to transform the two-wheeler industry in India. The name is derived from Japan’s Okinawa Island, which is renowned for its cleanliness and adoption of eco-friendly ways. “We took almost two years to introduce our first product, EV-Ridge, which remains as one of the most innovative electric scooters in terms of technology, performance, and efficiency. The same year, we rolled out Praise, another groundbreaking long-range scooter. In October 2018, the high-speed detachable Li-ion battery EV Ridge+ was launched. Our latest offering is the Praise Li-ion “i-Praise, The Intelligent Scooter,” Sharma said.
Majority of the bookings for ‘i-Praise’ have come from Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities like Pune, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Nasik, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Ambala, Vishakhapatnam, Mysore, Bulandshahar, Gorakhpur, Warangal, Trichy, Thrissur etc. Okinawa’s i-Praise has a range of 160-180 km/charge, a reasonable charging time of two-three hours and weight that is about 30-40 percent less than many of the other EVs in its category, claims the company. The Okinawa scooters are in the price range of Rs. 44,740 – Rs. 76,499.
“We are thrilled by the booking for this scooter in a very short period. Okinawa’s electric vehicles are built around four main factors of power, performance, range, safety and environmental sustainability. Instead of just meeting our customers’ expectations, we try to exceed them by incorporating cutting-edge-technology and best-in-class features ensuring rider safety as well as convenience. Detachable Li-ion battery, EABS (Regenerative Braking System), waterproof motor with more output power, walk assistance and LED lamps with DRL (Day Running Light) are of some of the advanced technologies we have introduced in our products. Coming up with an eco-friendly transport option without compromising on the performance quality is Okinawa’s USP,” Sharma said.
In 2018, Okinawa Autotech entered into a partnership with Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) to spread awareness about ‘Green Mobility.’ Okinawa’s Praise Li-ion became the first electric scooter to scale around 1,350 km from Gurgaon, Haryana, to reach the height of 18,000 feet in Leh, Ladakh.
“Short battery-life and heavy weight of the battery are the main obstacles faced by electric vehicles when it comes to Valve-regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) batteries. In order to overcome these challenges we are focusing on rolling out Li-ion battery-operated products which increase the performance and life of the battery. A recent survey conducted by IndiaSpend has revealed that about 87 percent of Indian drivers would prefer owning an electric vehicle (EV) since it helps in reducing air pollution, a pressing issue in the country today. Another report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) says India is expected to see better progress with electric two-wheelers than electric cars,” Sharma said.
The company hopes 2019 will be an exciting year as the future of e-mobility in India looks bright. “Looking at the high demand, it’s safe to say that we will capture a significant portion of the EV market in the coming months. Apart from introducing policies such as Faster Adoption and Mobility of E-vehicles (FAME), and National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP), the Government of India has recently installed 28 charging points at North Block in New Delhi for electric vehicles. Consumers too are slowly turning towards electric vehicles due to factors like convenience, comfort, safety and reduced carbon footprint,” he said.