Bengaluru startup claims its e-scooter crosses 250-km-barrier on full charge
Suhas Rajkumar is a 24-year-old, Bengaluru-based qualified architect. He has already founded three startups, including one which claimed to produce the ‘world’s most comfortable shoe’, in almost as many years.
Rajkumar’s fourth is, perhaps, the most eye-catching. His company Simple Energy is readying an electric scooter which claims to be as practical as a petrol-powered scooter and substantially better than most other e-scooters.
To be priced around Rs 1 lakh, the battery-powered scooter, codenamed Mark 2, is claimed to have a driving range of more than 280 km on a full charge. What is more intriguing is that Mark 2, which goes on sale in a few months, can be fully charged in 40 minutes at home and 17 minutes at a charging station.
Other conventional electric scooters like the Hero MotoCorp-backed Ather 450, takes four hours for a full charge and returns a driving range of less than 100km. The Ather 450 is priced around Rs 1.15 lakh.
Rajkumar has benchmarked the Mark 2 against India’s best-selling scooter, Honda Activa. A full-tank (5.3-liter capacity) Activa 6G will power the scooter to around 250 km, considering a mileage of 50 km per liter. The ex-showroom price of the Activa 6G is around Rs 70,000.
“Our first aim was to solve the range anxiety of 100-150 km of an e-scooter. When you compare a petrol vehicle with an EV, it has to give the same drive range. So our initial goal was a range higher than just 200 km. We hit 240 km on our test model while our production model will be run for 280 km,” said Rajkumar.
According to Rajkumar, initially, engineers at the 20-month-old startup worked on getting the vehicle’s chassis and Battery Management System (BMS) right. BMS is the brain of the battery in an electric vehicle. It controls the voltage, current, and temperature of every cell in the battery pack to produce optimum performance.
“We developed the BMS in-house from scratch and also have filed a patent on it. We then went for designing the chassis. We built it according to our battery, and not the other way around. So we used the 4.2kWh, 3.7-volt single-cell battery, developed by Panasonic for Tesla. We installed a cooling system in the battery that gives it a higher efficiency,” added Rajkumar.
Simple Energy has filed eight patents on the chassis, three on BMS, and two motor controllers.
Before Mark 2 hits the street, Simple Energy decided to test the vehicle with users in real-world riding conditions. While the company claims to have tested the prototypes for 35,000-45,000 km already, the Mark 2 was even given for online food delivery platforms for real-world testing.
“We have given our scooters to Uber Eats, Zomato, and even Ola, and their feedback has been quite positive. By December, we will get the certification (from the Automotive Research Association of India),” added Rajkumar.