In late 2021, avid bikers Gautam Khot and John Kuruvilla offered a novel proposal to Dr Prajwal Sabnis and Ranjita Ravi — co-founders of Orxa Energies, a high-performance electrical car and vitality programs startup primarily based out of Bengaluru

 Their concept was to embark on a record-breaking, 14,000-kilometre experience on the most recent electrical bike developed by Orxa Energies known as the Mantis. 

After these preliminary discussions, Gautam and John — who’re mentors at Brigade REAP, a Bengaluru-based startup accelerator — collaborated with the Orxa workforce to rope in six different startups to help their efforts, organising a consortium known as ‘StartupnRev’. What adopted was a 13,510 km-ride across the nation throughout the span of 54 days, christened the ‘Electrical Bharatmala’. 

Unfold throughout 20 states and two union territories, the ‘Electrical Bharatmala’ experience on two prototypes of the Mantis e-motorcycle started on 4 February 2022 from Bengaluru. 

After their preliminary experience to Chennai (through Mangaluru and Kanyakumari), the ‘StartupnRev’ workforce made their manner up the coast abutting the Bay of Bengal, grazed previous the foothills of the Himalayas and thru the immense warmth of the Thar desert and the Rann of Kutch. From there, their experience took them alongside the Arabian Beach and thru the Western Ghats earlier than lastly reaching Bengaluru on 29 March 2022.

Throughout this nationwide highway journey, in addition they took a big detour by means of the luxurious and hilly terrain of the North East from Guwahati, Assam to Dimapur, Nagaland, and Imphal, Manipur.   

Chatting with The Higher India, Prajwal Sabnis, co-founder of Orxa Energies, says, “The Electrical Bharatmala and the StartupnRev consortium are the brainchildren of Gautam Khot and John Kuruvilla. The concept for this experience was to advertise entrepreneurship in Tier I and Tier II cities in India and take the idea of Made-In-India startups to college students in faculties and universities of smaller cities, encouraging them to construct within the nation, for the nation.” 

Startups have come together on this EV expedition
Electrical Bharatmala Map

For electrical mobility 

However as soon as they received different startups on board the Electrical Bharatmala, the imaginative and prescient for it expanded. 

 As Ranjita Ravi, co-founder of Orxa Energies, says, “The Electrical Bharatmala was powered by seven startups that additionally got here collectively to handle roadblocks related to the adoption of electrical mobility in India. Gautam and John have been the ideators, route planners, and coordinators. Orxa Energies equipped the electrical autos and oversaw coordination of charging installations.” 

Bolt and Charzer, that are startups offering electrical car (EV) charging infrastructure options, offered the requisite charging infrastructure. SpareIt, a web-based garages community platform, was chargeable for servicing the EVs with a devoted service chief. 

Pothole Raja, a social enterprise on a mission to repair roads in India, oversaw highway security issues by repairing potholes alongside the complete journey. Freeway Delite, which runs a journey app designed for Indian freeway travellers/highway journey, managed lodge lodging and on-site charging stations for the workforce and Spiceroute Authorized offered authorized help. 

In the meantime, CEAT, the multinational tyre manufacturing firm, was the official sponsor and facilitated the set up of the charging stations at CEAT Shoppes. 

EV Startups have come together
Dr Prajwal Sabnis and Ranjita Ravi, co founders of Orxa Energies

The expertise of using throughout India  

The experience began with Gautam and John on the Mantis 1 and a couple of prototypes respectively. 

“Once we reached Chennai, the Bharatmala workforce determined that we had to seriously change our strategy to the experience. Whereas Gautam continued to experience the Mantis 1, John switched to his Kawasaki Versys, and workforce members from Orxa hopped on the Mantis 2. Prajwal, together with Janmejay Mishra, Akhil Prabhu, and Akshay Tippannavar, who’re senior mechanical engineers at Orxa, have been on the Mantis 2 at completely different factors of the experience,” explains Ranjita. 

“Because of the perseverance of Gautam, Mantis 1 is the bike that holds a distance file of 13,510 km by a single rider. Mantis 2 accomplished the gap as effectively — Janmejay rode round 7,000 km, Prajwal rode round 4,000 km and Akshay and Akhil cut up the remaining,” she provides. 

Prajwal rode the primary leg from Chennai to Kolkata, following which one his teammates and senior engineers stepped in for the stretch between Kolkata to Guwahati. He rode the second stretch from Guwahati to Imphal, Manipur, and again. The third stretch the place he joined Gautam was through the experience from Pune to Bengaluru on the ultimate leg of the Bharatmala.

“The experience was significantly fascinating in Tier II cities due to the response and response of the folks there. There was one specific occasion after we have been crossing the Chilika Lake in Odisha on a ferry. We had a really inquisitive boatman asking us in regards to the electrical bike. There have been basic questions on what would occur to the electrical bike if there was water logging, whether or not it’s secure to drive, how lengthy does it take to cost, and many others,” he remembers.

Through the Electrical Bharatmala experience, the workforce had the chance to work together with 1000’s of scholars from completely different universities, sharing information and success tales of varied Indian startups which can be creating revolutionary options within the EV tech and electrical mobility area. 

“In Puri, for instance, the scholars have been extremely involved in the way forward for electrical mobility in India, and the workforce was capable of have interaction and educate them successfully,” claims Prajwal. 

For Janmejay, a senior mechanical engineer at Orxa, among the finest moments of the experience was from Nainital to Dehradun. 

“We began descending from Nainital, from the peak of 2000m above sea degree, by means of lush inexperienced ghats so stunning that it took some effort to deal with the highway forward. For the reason that bike is so quiet, the sounds of the jungle have been clearly audible,” remembers Janmejay.

Gautam, in the meantime, remembers, “This journey required loads of psychological and bodily conditioning since you aren’t simply placing your self by means of a really lengthy experience, but in addition encountering completely different terrains, temperatures. There may be the added complexity of fixing batteries each 150 km which may occur in the midst of a freeway below the obvious solar or the rain, and many others. However we had ready ourselves for all these situations and eventualities as a workforce. I used to be capable of full this journey as a result of we had discovered a correct help system.” 

 Essentially the most thrilling expertise for Gautam was crossing a few of India’s largest rivers which he had solely beforehand examine in his college textbooks together with the Brahmaputra, Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna, and many others.  “For instance, whenever you cross the Ganga for the primary time simply outdoors Haridwar or within the city of Farkka, taking a look at that expanse earlier than me was a thoughts boggling expertise. It offers me goosebumps even right now after I give it some thought,” he says.

 One other memorable expertise was the hospitality, kindness and compassion of strangers.  

 “In states like Gujarat, Odisha and areas just like the North East, we encountered full strangers who basically instructed us ‘You individuals are our company, you received’t pay for something and we’ll maintain you’. Such episodes reaffirm your religion in humanity,” he remembers.  

EV Startups have come together for the Electric Bharatmala
Taking the Mantis to the Northeast

No Electrical Bharatmala with out prep

After John and Gautam proposed the concept of a record-breaking 14,000-kilometre experience on the Mantis bikes, Prajwal and Ranjita have been excited but in addition considerably apprehensive. 

 “We compiled a three-page lengthy record of potential dangers (with about two columns per web page), after the primary assembly with the workforce at their workplace. All potential risks associated to security, technical, engineering, regulatory, and authorized facets, have been completely examined. Ultimately, we determined to proceed with the problem. At Orxa Energies, our foremost goal was to push the Mantis bikes to the restrict, and thru this experience, amass a big quantity of information from throughout India and below various excessive situations,” says Ranjita.

Gautam Khot, who rode for all 54 days, additionally spoke of the intensive preparations that went behind the Electrical Bharatmala. “We spent 4 or 5 months planning this journey. The route map needed to be very rigorously designed for everybody to grasp the place we might be tenting for the night time, together with kinds of lodging like motels, faculty dorms, and sponsors for this endeavour. These places wanted to have some kind of charging infrastructure out there,” he explains. 

The Mantis

The Mantis is designed as an early-performance Avenue bike. It presents 200 km of actual vary, 9 kWh battery capability, an in-house constructed DBW (Drive by Wire) system, and a liquid-cooled motor. 

“Our engineering prowess is our strongest muscle, with 80% of the expertise being constructed in-house and 100% of design and meeting carried out in India itself,” says Ranjita.

“By the Bharatmala, the Mantis prototypes carried out as anticipated, and in sure respects, even exceeded our expectations. Over the course of the final 12 months, we’ve got been utilizing this data to make mandatory changes to the Mantis earlier than we start closing manufacturing later this 12 months. This was most likely probably the most aggressive ‘Beta testing’ any EV has undergone within the Indian market. All of the suggestions from the experience is being integrated into the ultimate manufacturing model of the Mantis,” says Prajwal. 

electric motorcycle startups and EVs and Electric Bharatmala
Mantis e-motorcycle

 Challenges galore

Their main problem was to implement the plan whereas prioritising the rider’s security. They have been additionally getting ready for any potential danger they might establish. Through the journey to Sangrur, one of many Mantis riders met with an accident, and the closest help automobile was 15 kilometres behind. “The locals have been useful and helped take our rider to a clinic for an preliminary medical evaluation, adopted by a switch to the closest hospital. Because of his protecting using gear, he didn’t maintain any extreme accidents,” remembers Ranjita.  

The injured individual was Akshay Tippannavar, considered one of Orxa’s senior mechanical engineers. He had been using with Gautam from Dehradun to Manali, Srinagar, Jammu and right down to Punjab.

 “Upon coming into Sangrur in Punjab, he received a warmth stroke. He crashed right into a facet railing, however fortunately considered one of our different teammates Janmejay Mishra was current, and he took over proceedings whereas additionally sending Akshay house to recuperate. This was an necessary lesson for us about riders having all of the requisite safety gear on a regular basis,” she remembers.  

In the meantime, when the workforce have been in Manali, one of many help car drivers suffered a coronary heart assault. “Because of the fast pondering and help of all of the members of the complete workforce, that individual acquired instant and proper medical consideration. On the time, we have been leaving for Jammu. Fortunately, he survived and his truck was taken over by one other workforce member from PotHoleRaja who drove all of it the best way again to Bengaluru,” explains Gautam, who was current there.  

The workforce additionally confronted excessive climate situations, starting from the scorching temperatures of 42 levels Celsius in Rajasthan to freezing temperatures of -2 diploma Celsius in Manali. 

“We additionally navigated by means of the wettest terrain in Nagaland in late February with difficult off-road situations as a consequence of heavy rain and poor pathways. All through the journey, we undertook a number of challenges, together with endurance rides that lasted six days and lined round 450 kilometres every day. Rides over steep inclines from Sitapur to Nainital concerned ascending from an altitude of 100 metres to over 2,000 metres in a single day,” remembers Prajwal. 

“Nonetheless, our hardest problem was Goa. Two days earlier than the tip of the experience, we have been unable to cost our bikes as the provision of load or electrical energy was nearly non-existent. We solely managed to cost our packs and full the experience because of Professor Hegde of GEC Goa, who accommodated our charging necessities at his house,” he provides.  

Apparently, there have been solely 4 repairs on each the Mantis prototypes collectively through the journey — a pulley change, motor sensor difficulty, headlight difficulty, and one tyre puncture. 

Startups have come together for EV riders taking the Electric Bharatmala
Dawn in Manali

Startups organising charging infrastructure

Barring all of the challenges, Prajwal believes the implementation of the Electrical Bharatmala initiative has been advantageous for the EV ecosystem. “Sixty eight new Bolt charging factors have been established in 17 smaller cities similar to Forbesganj, Sangrur, Sitapur, and Vapi. These charging factors at the moment are accessible to the general public and assist to facilitate the unfold of electrical autos to smaller cities and cities. Moreover, EV charging stations have been put in within the Northeast area in locations like Darjeeling, Dimapur, Cherrapunji, Cooch Behar, and Guwahati. This enlargement of infrastructure contributes to the federal government’s goal of a large-scale shift to electrical mobility within the close to future,” he says.

“The charging factors have been put in by Bolt and Freeway Delite at CEAT outlets and motels recognized by Freeway Delite. They have been 3.3kw /16A factors, that are good for 2 and three-wheeler electrical autos. These act as good gadgets that join through a devoted app. The primary charging level was arrange at Jamshedpur and final at Gujarat. This was to cowl the sections within the experience in any other case not lined by lodge associations or different,” he provides. 

 The places for putting in charging factors have been normally lodge parking areas or Ceat Shoppes, which now act as an extra revenue supply for the Ceat sellers or lodge homeowners. “In some locations, they’d straight join our moveable chargers to the plug factors on the motels. This required prior discussions with the motels as we would have liked to cost 48 packs,” says Prajwal. 

 As Gautam remembers, “The Charzer and Bolt workforce joined us every week or two into the experience, they usually arrange charging stations alongside the places we have been travelling to. Sometimes, earlier than we arrived at our lodging for the night, the charging models have been arrange for us. There have been additionally locations, significantly the smaller cities, the place we actually struggled due to some communication points. Fortunately, the moveable charging programs that we have been carrying with ourselves helped us. We used our {hardware} to cost our batteries.” 

In the beginning of this journey, the workforce had ventured out with 11 moveable chargers, nevertheless it turned out that due to the standard of energy (voltage and present fluctuations) in numerous elements of the nation, they ended up dropping loads of them. “By the tip of the experience, we ended up delivery out like 30 chargers throughout the nation. That was a watch opener,” provides Prajwal. 

Nonetheless, the actual process was to finalise the places, persuade hosts, procure the BOLT gadgets, and coordinate with native engineers and electricians to put in the models throughout these factors. Language and communication boundaries in most of those places added to the above. 

“As well as, the workforce did carry out a recce on every website to verify feasibility or search for alternate options. We additionally needed to think about the potential of the rider altering their plans and routes to accommodate climatic and highway situations through the experience. The workforce could be up for hours collectively to place all logistics in place. At the moment, every time a rider expenses his car at considered one of these factors, the workforce feels happy with themselves,” claims Prajwal. 

Using the ferry to cross the Chilika Lake in Odisha
Utilizing the ferry to cross the Chilika Lake in Odisha

Abstract and looking out forward

Over the course of 54 days, the bikes lined a distance of 13,510 km. On common, the workforce rode round 300-350 km per day, sustaining a mean velocity of roughly 70 – 75 kmph.

“This experience demonstrated the Mantis’s vary, which was discovered to be over 150 km per cost on highways with a mean velocity of 70-75 kmph, and over 200 km per cost within the metropolis. In the meantime, the 68 charging factors that have been arrange are nonetheless lively, although some are much less utilised than others. We now have additionally observed that some motels have superb utilisation,” claims Prajwal. 

In the meantime, Ranjita notes, “We’re within the midst of the certification course of proper now. By Diwali this 12 months, we’re anticipated to begin manufacturing. Through the Bharatmala, we’ve carried out about 27,000 km of testing with our prototypes, determining what issues we have to enhance. As soon as we full the road-worthiness certification, we might be launching the e-bike.”      

(Edited by Divya Sethu; Photographs courtesy Orxa Energies)                   


By Damian

Hi Damian, a talented website author who embraces her work with genuine enthusiasm. With an unwavering commitment to excellence, she combines her creative talent and technical expertise, creating sites that stand out for both style and substance.

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