Deepak Mohan (left) and AJesh Saklecha with Ozone Motor’s microcar
Deepak Mohan (left) and AJesh Saklecha with Ozone Motor’s microcar

It is somewhere between a car and a quadricycle. It is an electric vehicle. A lot of the 4-seater is made from recycled materials. You can buy it for around ₹6 lakh. 

The Chennai-based start-up, Ozone Motors, is getting ready to produce such vehicles when it secures the ₹25 crore ‘pre-production’ funding. The tie-up for the funding is just around the corner. 

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When the promoters of the start-up began designing the car, they meant it to be a ‘family vehicle’. However, the two prototypes that Ozone Motors unveiled to the public recently threw them a surprise—the commercial segment is hungry for it. “More than a thousand people have shown interest in buying the vehicles,” says AJesh Saklecha, Co-Founder and CBO of the company, who foresees big business in Europe, as it has been built to European standards. Saklecha said Ozone’s micro-cars greatly enthused those taxi operators who drive short-distance from Chennai Metro stations. 

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Ozone Motors was started in 2016 by its CEO, Deepak Mohan—Saklecha, an automobile expert who joined the company three years later—his idea was to retrofit Maruti 800s with batteries. Years later, the promoters thought, why not build a new car ourselves? 

They built a prototype in early 2022. The company has since test-run the prototype for 20,000 km and has perfected the vehicle. Saklecha stresses that the product is not a dumb electric cart on four wheels, but a smart one with features such as active vehicle monitoring, dynamics and control systems, and intelligent operation modules. 

Speaking at the ‘Chennai Climate Start-up Stories’ workshop, organized here recently by Chennai Climate Consortium, Saklecha said that the car weighs just 500 kg (Maruti Alto weighs 757 kg).  

The vehicle can be modified to either accommodate more passengers (6-seater or 8-seater configuration) or more cargo, Saklecha added. 

The cars, which will be sold under the brand name ‘Alice’, will come in 120 km, 150 km and 210 km range options, featuring an SUV-style four-door with four airbags and an optional solar roof. Ozone Motors intends to make the vehicles available in blue, red, yellow and grey. A two-seater version is also in the offing. 

Ozone Motors is setting up a mother factory in Oragadam, Chennai, which would produce about 30 chassis a day to start with, but eventually go up to 100 a day. Satellite or ‘child’ plants nationwide would build the full car. This ‘micro-factory architecture’, is very cost-efficient, Saklecha said.