Interview: Our goal is to create an ecosystem for electric vehicles — Yatin Gupte, Wardwizard

The EV industry has seen immense growth in recent times, and when speaking about the electric mobility industry, we are looking not only at EV makers, but the entire ecosystem that includes battery and cell manufacturing, component production, and a host of other things.

One such EV maker is WardWizard Innovations and Mobility, based in Gujarat. The company is better known for manufacturing the Joy e-bike range, which includes the Monster, Wolf, Glob, and Honeybee. At a time when established EV makers are facing the heat of battery failures, WardWizard has not shied away, instead, invited journalists with open arms to have a look around the facility and discuss its plans going forward.

WardWizard assembles its range of electric scooters in its facility in Vadodara while importing a few parts from China, mostly plastics. However, the company has bigger plans — the EV maker has invested in a 100-acre land close to its existing facility to build the necessary ecosystem to manufacture EVs.

The open land will soon host an extensive ancillary plant and its cell production facility, where WardWizard will also welcome other manufacturers to set up base. This will be done through MoUs and JVs, while WardWizard will also invest in various ways, including land. To better understand its ideals, Express Mobility spoke to the person behind the plan, Yatin Gupte, Chairman & Managing Director, Wardwizard.

“We started in 2016 with a small capital. Our goal was to create an ecosystem for electric vehicles here since globally, such systems exist. We were importing spare parts when we started, now, our electric scooters have almost 90% localisation. We started reverse engineering chargers, controllers, steel parts, etc. Our chassis come from major suppliers based out of Maharashtra who make frames for Bajaj and TVS,” said Yatin Gupte.

These chassis suppliers had to create a separate manufacturing line for Wardwizard since most of their chassis were for ICE engine vehicles. After helping them set up the line, they now supply ~500 chassis to Wardwizard daily. Wardwizard did the same with batteries as well and sources them locally.

“The whole idea of the ancillary plant is to reduce other manufacturers’ dependence on import and have direct it here,” said the Chairman.

Wradwizard has acquired a 100-acre land and plans to allot it to companies that are ready to come with their technology or innovation. Warwizard will give them free land, electricity, infrastructure, and manpower. Yatin added, “There are companies who would like to share their technology with us for a year or two, but do not want to set up base in India. In such cases, we put in the capital also.”

So far, Wardwizard has garnered the interest of steel manufacturing companies, and a circuit designer amongst others who will be manufacturing circuits, controllers, and wiring harnesses for Wardwizard. “We are also in talks with lithium cell manufacturers to set up base here, and if we do get a deal, we will have the ability to control the price of batteries,” said Yatin. He added, “If we do that, EVs will see a reduction in price and in the next two years, they will be more affordable than ICE vehicles.”

Warwizard will be making big investments towards its ancillary plant as well. In its first phase, there will be an investment of Rs 200 crore, which will be done before October this year. Also, the ancillary business will not cater to Joy e-bikes alone, but also the open market. There will be more investments made and just setting up the battery manufacturing will need an additional Rs 350 crore investment. In total, there will be an investment of ~Rs 1000 crore.

The e-bike maker has investigated the pricing for components and has found many of them to be cheaper in India compared to being imported. “We have found that more than 40 components are cheaper to manufacture here. Compare this to the logistics cost for import, taxes, and time, EV manufacturers can save a lot,” he added.

Another important aspect of the ancillary plant is that EV makers can have an eye on the quality of products. This is an important aspect considering the number of EVs with imported cells that have caught fire in recent times. Many experts, including Yatin, point toward the quality of the cells as a major reason for EV fires.

Also, the new ancillary plant will have separate production units to manufacture low-speed scooters, high-speed scooters, and electric three-wheelers, which Wardwizard is foraying into.

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