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In an exciting interview with EMobility+, Vivekananda Hallekere – CEO & Co-Founder, Bounce described the journey from Bounce Share to Bounce Infinity and the two versions of Bounce Infinity. He also spoke about the manufacturing challenges faced and the sales during the pandemic.
How will you describe the journey from Bounce Share to Bounce Infinity?
First of its kind, indigenously built, with in-house R&D, Bounce dockless bikes were launched in Bengaluru in May 2018. The company strongly believed in the potential of Electric Vehicles for India. Bounce for its mobility business wanted to move towards EV for ease of operations and better economics apart from the fact that it also is good for all of us, however, was unable to find any form factor that could be readily used. Primarily due to the lack of reliability & durability of the scooters available in the market. In addition to this, the range anxiety and downtime that comes with a fixed battery (Charging) was not viable for a Fleet operator.
Hence, Bounce invested heavily in R&D with an in-house Vehicle Engineering team to modify some of the existing models and also to design and develop a new model from scratch, especially working on a Removable battery and swapping network. Having invested and developed form factors that are suitable for the Indian conditions, it made sense to manufacture and sell this to the Consumers, in a market which is starved for good electric 2 wheelers.
So we started with a small project to build an electric scooter that works for India and the journey got us here. We have done over 2 crore km on battery and the battery swapping station built with the power of mom and pop stores. The company firmly believes that India is at the dawn of an EV revolution and Bounce is committed to taking up all challenges to bring India onto the world map of EV adopters.
Bounce Infinity will be available in two versions- with or without a battery pack. How do you foresee consumer acceptance for the two segments?
The recently launched Bounce Infinity E1 offers a unique ‘Battery as a service’ option – the first of its kind in the Indian market. Here, customers have the choice of acquiring the Bounce Infinity E1 at a highly affordable price with ‘battery-as-a-service’ and using Bounce’s battery swapping network instead. Customers pay for battery swaps, whenever they swap an empty battery with a fully-charged one from Bounce’s extensive swapping network.
The inability to charge a 2 wheeler has been the biggest impediment to EV adoption in India. Infinity E1 is the first and only scooter in India to provide both options – to swap batteries from the Bounce network as well as charge-at-home. This not only addresses the charging problem but also mitigates the need to invest in batteries – the customer can pay per swap for battery usage. This pushes the running costs of the scooter down substantially, by as much as 40 percent compared to conventional scooters. Customers have the choice of acquiring the Bounce Infinity E1 at a highly affordable price without the battery and using Bounce’s battery swapping network instead.
The ambition is to build the world’s largest and densest battery swapping platform to support India’s transition to clean mobility, and offer a swapping facility within a one-kilometer distance for its customers. People if they can’t host space then they can just invest and get a fixed return on the investment they make. We call this “Bounce Power” and we are empowering the common man to be part of this transition to clean energy.
Are you going to keep the (Battery as a service) B-A-A-S option exclusive with bounce or consumers will be having their preferred option?
The B-A-A-S services are restricted to Bounce Infinity customers at the moment. But with the EV scooter numbers tripling, Bounce is looking at creating a robust infrastructure and network for all in the future.
From a manufacturer perspective, what are the key challenges you’d like to figure out in terms of scaling up manufacturing in the country? And what should be done to overcome these challenges and boost up the sector’s growth?
Bounce had a very clear thesis to develop a scooter for India, utilizing the Indian manufacturing ecosystem. India has been manufacturing and selling over 20 million two-wheelers each year and is one of the best two-wheeler manufacturers across the world. It did not make sense to be importing models that were designed for countries like China and assembling them in India and force-fitting it to the Indian consumers. Bounce has worked with some of the top-tier Indian manufacturers in the ecosystems to design & develop Bounce infinity.
As you are into manufacturing now, how do you see the sales at the time of the pandemic? And what about after-sales service and charging facility, which customers want before switching to electric mobility?
EV scooter sales have more than tripled in 2021 with more than 1.2 lakh units sold in the first half of the year and the two-wheeler EVs alone have the potential to account for almost 40% of the market in the next 3 to 4 years. This is just the beginning and we are certain that the industry will soon switch to EV mobility with more options available in the market. Deliveries for Bounce Infinity are slated for April 2022 through its dealership network and its online platform, for seamless deliveries across India. The initial target for the company is to go out and deliver one-lakh scooters as soon as possible.
For the after-sales service, Bounce is working towards building the world’s largest and densest battery swapping platform and offering its customers a swapping facility within a kilometer. The network will serve both its retail customers and rental business. The company has already established around 250 swapping stations in Bengaluru and Vijayawada for its scooter rental services. In Bengaluru, with the current density, one can find a swapping station every 2-3 km. By April, when Bounce will begin the delivery of the scooters, all major cities in India will have swapping stations. Bounce has also partnered with companies, like NoBroker, so that the Residential Welfare Associations (RWAs) associated with the platform have a swapping station.