Companies

Ampere bullish on e-scooters as paranoia over public transport grows amid Covid

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on July 13, 2020 Published on July 13, 2020

Nagesh Basavanhalli, MD, Greaves Cotton   -  PAUL NORONHA

Customers would rather steer clear of public transport during Covid-19

Greaves Cotton is betting big on the personal mobility business where its subsidiary, Ampere Vehicles, will play a key role with electric scooters.

“On the Ampere side, it is important to accelerate our initiatives in personal and affordable mobility. Post-Covid, a lot of people will hesitate to use public transport over the next three-four quarters if they have a choice on affordability,” Nagesh Basavanhalli, MD and CEO of Greaves Cotton, told BusinessLine.

This is where Ampere is hoping to catch customers’ eye with its electric scooters. Its latest offering, Magnus Pro, is part of this strategy to offer a reliable and comfortable high speed scooter with the value-for-money quotient. Magnus Pro is priced at ₹74,000 (ex-showroom).

“Customers, both urban and rural,want high performance scooters with a long range,” added P Sanjeev, COO, Ampere Electric Vehicles. Over the last two quarters, the company has gone through a “massive expansion” of dealerships across Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru and Chennai. In the process, brand Ampere has grown beyond the South to a nation-wide presence extending to “even places like Rishikesh”.

Low-cost and affordable

The buyer base has also expanded significantly enough to spawn India’s first EV community, HOLA (Happy Owners League of Ampere). Sanjeev said customers are now beginning to appreciate the virtues of electric mobility, especially when it comes to low emissions and operating costs and high performance. Greaves had acquired Ampere in August 2018 and is now focussing on a complete makeover even while retaining its core DNA of electric mobility.

“From a low-speed affordable mobility kind of a company two years ago, we are now in the belly of the market with affordable mobility solutions,” said Basavanhalli. Magnus Pro is the third product launched in the last 18 months and Ampere today has on board people with different backgrounds. “There are more technology heads and we are creating additional capacity while focussing on the brand even more aggressively,” he added. An e-commerce portal has recently been created keeping in mind the realities of Covid-19.

“Our footfalls in the store could have fallen but digital has brought us closer and given us useful feedback,” said Sanjeev. Between Greaves Retail and Ampere, there are 400 outlets across the country which are “beginning to become a sizeable asset for us”. Basavanhalli was also upbeat about the cerebral synergies happening between the teams of Ampere in Coimbatore and the Greaves technical centre in Bengaluru.

Incubation centre

“We have started an incubation centre with a top university in Bengaluru where students work with us on electric vehicle related work,” he said.

The CEO says the company’s top priority is to ensure that the Ampere brand is constantly evolving. The electric scooter goes beyond an automotive product and is more in the realm of consumer goods. “It is about meeting the aspirations of the millennial,” said Basavanhalli. There are a host of players in the electric scooter space, a list that includes start-ups like Ather, Okinawa and traditional players such as Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor. Bengaluru has traditionally been the biggest market for these companies even while the likes of Ampere are going flat out across the country.

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Published on July 13, 2020
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