Rituparna Kakati | 23 Dec, 2017
In an exclusive interview with SME Times, Ayush Lohia, CEO Lohia Auto Industries said the electric vehicle industry recently has witnessed new policies favourable for its growth, which was previously missing.
Excerpts of the interview...
Please tell our readers about your company and its entrepreneurial journey.
Ayush Lohia: Lohia Auto Industries was established in the year 2008 with an objective to provide clean, efficient, reliable and affordable inner-city & rural transportation. Our main goal is to maintain our customer trust by providing 360 degree service. When we started we were only into electric 2W, but now with our own in house strong R&D team we are manufacturing Diesel 3W, and In-house and indigenous development electric Rickshaw with almost 100% localisation. With the multiple products, we have double our sales over last year and hope to grow further and aim to do 500 Cr turnovers by 2020.
My entrepreneurial journey stared 15 years back in business domain. Before joining Lohia Auto Industries in August 2008, I spent nearly nine years in different companies of Lohia Global, leading strategic fronts and fostering engagements with brands like Wal-Mart, Tesco, IKEA, Pottery and Barns, Target and others. The initial years at Designco, a handicraft export arm of Lohia Global, were of Global by acquiring the stainless steel manufacturing unit, where I roped in an great importance in my learning. I have tried to expand the portfolio of Lohia exposure to the production and development of the raw steel.
As a CEO at Lohia Auto Industries, I lead a team of strategists, R&D, sales, services, marketing and business development managers who work closely with the brand, dealers, vendors and agencies to ensure optimal delivery of consumer experiences across the company’s pallet of offerings. I have built a strong portfolio of products, strategically positioned at different segments, which provides Lohia Auto Industries, an opportunity to touch a larger base of customers.
Please tell us about your product range.
Ayush Lohia: In Lohia Auto we have wide product range that starts from Electric two Wheeler to Electric Rickshaw & Diesel Three Wheeler. We are leading the market when it comes to Electric Scooter Category. We have Oma Star & Oma Star Li (Lithium ion Battery) in two wheeler category.
Keeping in mind the burgeoning demand for E-rickshaw, Lohia Auto has launched 2 ranges of e-Rickshaw that are Humrahi and Narain. Each E-Rickshaw is having 2 variants i.e. passenger and loader. Also, recently we have launched Solar Powered E-Rickshaw which can charge batteries on the run in sunny day. Solar powered E-rickshaw increases the efficiency of the vehicle and solar panel increases its mileage by 10-15% with a life cycle of 10 years.
Apart from Electric Vehicle segment we have product in Diesel category as well i.e. Humsafar. Very soon we will launch new products in market.
What is the current situation, challenges and opportunities in your sector?
With 2017 coming to an end, the electric vehicle industry has witnessed new policies favourable for its growth, which was previously missing. Besides it has been successful in putting in place the incentive policies, which will lubricate in long term planning to move ahead for companies.
We started our business to create awareness about the use of electric vehicles and give company an identity in market. Under the immense pressure of stringent policies on the permission of electronic vehicles in India, Lohia Auto went through a lot of ups and downs. But company left no stone unturned to overcome a queue of challenges.
When in 2009-12 the entire industry was reeling under tremendous pressure because of certain reasons, Lohia Auto was trying to get the subsidies, relaxation in custom and excise duties for electronic vehicles.
As most of the key components that come in use while manufacturing the product had to get imported in India, therefore convincing government was a big necessity at that time. But the major challenge we face is to change the minds of consumers.
The future looks quite promising for electric Scooters, E-rickshaws as well as electric cars plying on Indian roads. It is our government’s aims to make India a 100% electric vehicle nation by 2030. These machines not only help users save money but will also provide and promote a safe and clean environment which is the biggest health concern today. The future is electrifying as it will reduce fossil fuel dependence and pollution, and prove beneficial for both consumers and the nation in the long run.
What do you think Indian auto component players should do to match global competition?
Ayush Lohia: Indian automotive components players need to generate substantially greater economic profit to match peers from China, Germany, US and South Korea. These countries with high economic profit generation signal their higher competitiveness that enabled them to attract over two-thirds of global investments in the last five years.
Do you think Government should take some concrete steps for the sector, if so what?
Ayush Lohia: The government aspires for a nation with 100 per cent electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030. Though this feat may seem achievable on paper, it would be interesting to see how this mission is executed.
So far, the government has allotted a meagre sums of Rs 10 crore (2015-16) and Rs 20 crore (2016-17) towards installing dedicated charging infrastructure for public buses. While the allotted money may be adequate for creating charging infrastructure for government-owned electric buses at bus depots, it would be encouraging to see the central government roll out concrete plans to fund charging infrastructure at public places (areas that accommodate large volumes of vehicles) as well. It would be heartening to see parallel infrastructure development efforts from the central and state governments towards EVs in the near future.
Please tell us about your future plans?
Ayush Lohia: Lohia Auto in currently present in Electric two wheeler and three wheeler segment.These segments represent almost 70 percent of the total volume of the Indian Automobile sector.The next focus area for Lohia is to increase its market penetration and create a all India dealer network. We plan to have more than 150 dealership in this financial year. Our R&D is continuously working in developing new and improving our products next in By 2020, Lohia intend to cross 500 crore market revenue.