Cell Propulsion to scale up manufacturing electric LCVs

Ayushi Kar Mumbai | Updated on June 10, 2021

Focus on service centres and distribution centres of utmost importance, says Cofounder and CEO, Nakul Kukkar

Having received $2 million of fresh funding, mobility and electric vehicle technology startup, Cell Propulsion is looking to scale up manufacturing of electric light commercial vehicles (eLCV) and battery packs in their pilot assembly lines as well as expand distribution and service centres for their vehicles.

Nakul Kukkar, Cofounder and CEO of Cell Propulsion said, “What we have realised so far is that focus on service centres and distribution centres is of the utmost importance, while our production grows organically—this makes electric vehicles easily adoptable for our fleet operators, given that existing service centres and mechanic shops do not have the know-how for the maintenance and upkeep of our technology.”

Better demand

Pilot assembly lines for eLCVs and battery packs set up in January were Cell Propulsion’s first foray into the market and Kukkar is finding demand that is better than anticipated. “Where we were planning around 20-30 vehicles per customer, based on the demand from logistics companies, now we have to plan for a 1000 vehicles per customer over the next two years” said Kukkar.

Assembly lines set up by Cell Propulsion in January have a manufacturing capacity of 10 vehicles per month, and presently a fleet of 10-15 vehicles are deployed on ground for last-mile and middle-mile delivery service. “Covid lockdowns had a huge impact on production lines, now that the lockdown is over, we will be able to scale up our production accordingly,” said Kukkar.

The global silicon shortage that is ravaging auto-supply chains across the board also affected the company at a production level. “We are not established at such a large scale to see such an impact that halts production lines; however, we are seeing inflated prices for a lot of chips and integrated circuits (ICs) that we use to build components such as drivers and chargers for our vehicles,” said Kukkar.

However, Cell Propulsion has circumvented this crisis through building their technologies in-house. “We are going for ICs and chips that are really available since only selected chips are in shortage that are used in the auto industry extensively. Since we build our own electronics and we have written our own software to run those electronics, we can modify our technology in house to use alternative chip sets.”

Cell Propulsion is also conducting a pilot project in collaboration with Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, that manages public transport and bus services for the city of Bengaluru.

Published on June 10, 2021

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