Saietta VNA, the joint venture between Saietta Group plc (Saietta) and Padmini VNA, is delivering on its ‘Make in India’ strategy which will see it begin eDrive (electric drive) volume production in the country in 2023.
Saietta VNA has developed a new eMotor targeted specifically at the Indian market, and is on plan with the construction of a high-tech eDrive manufacturing facility in Delhi. In addition, it has appointed a new managing director to lead the next phase in the joint venture’s commercial and technical operations, and appointed a new non-executive director with extensive Indian market experience.
Saietta Group Plc is a specialist in providing flexible eDrive solutions for electric vehicles with a portfolio of technologies designed for rapid integration into a wide range of vehicles and marine craft. The UK headquartered company is working with a range of customers to decarbonise mobility with the aim of helping to clean up air in the world’s biggest cities.
With state-of-the-art manufacturing and R&D facilities in India, Padmini VNA has placed ‘Made in India’ auto components on the global roadmap, becoming renowned for its technological capabilities and quality manufacturing around the world. Its customers include most major automotive brands that are manufacturing in India.
Expanding portfolio of eDrive solutions developed for India, made in India
Saietta VNA is uniquely positioned to offer vehicle manufacturers in India a range of turnkey light duty eDrive solutions to help them meet rapidly growing demand for clean and sustainable mobility in large cities.
A new Radial Flux Technology (RFT) eMotor has been developed for lightweight two and three wheel applications. Specifically with Indian market applications in mind, the RFT85-65 was designed by Saietta’s Light Duty eDrive (LDE) team in conjunction with Saietta VNA. The compact air-cooled unit produces 4 kW of continuous power at 48V, is lightweight and efficient, and can be fully integrated with Saietta’s power electronics and transmission.
The RFT85-65 is anticipated to be produced in India alongside Saietta’s AFT140, an Axial Flux Technology (AFT) eMotor ideal for premium motorbikes and lightweight three and four wheel applications between one and two and a half tonnes, such as last-mile delivery vehicles.
The construction of Saietta VNA’s new high-tech manufacturing facility in Delhi is on track, with volume production slated to start in 2023. Groundworks for the 30,000 sqft factory started in Q1 2022 and the outer shell is complete. Fit-out will begin in Q1 2023.
Saietta VNA has appointed Prad (Pradumna) Walimbe (43) as its managing director, and he takes on the responsibility for leading the company’s Indian operations. Walimbe holds an MBA from the University of Edinburgh Business School, an Executive Programme in Business Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, and a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Pune University. Since joining Saietta, Walimbe has developed an enviable expertise in the global lightweight mobility sector, which has proved crucial to the company’s strategic approach to new, fast-growth markets. Previously, Walimbe founded a social enterprise in Oxford, UK and has extensive entrepreneurial experience with a proven track record of delivering results and transforming businesses for sustainable growth.
Mr. Walimbe said “India is one of the largest and most strategic auto and electrification markets in the world, and we have high ambitions for it. Our focus will be on strengthening the strategic partnership with Padmini VNA to secure market share and valuable contracts and help our customers and partners transition to electric mobility faster by enhancing access to our ground-breaking technology and engineering expertise.”
“We are very excited to bring our engineering and manufacturing capabilities to the Indian market. With the Saietta AFT and RFT eDrives, we intend to develop an affordable and scalable eco system that will accelerate the adoption of electric mobility. Saietta VNA is uniquely positioned to be a leader in the country’s electrification revolution.”
Wicher (Vic) Kist, CEO of Saietta Group, said “We were among the first eMobility technology developers to recognise the importance and potential of the rapidly evolving Indian transport landscape. Through our joint venture with Padmini VNA, we are delivering a portfolio of turnkey eDrive solutions that are ideally suited to the market, and – crucially – they will be produced in India, for India. We are currently working with a number of OEMs and Tier 1 partners in the L-Category segment and will release more information on this over the coming months.”
“In appointing Prad to managing director of Saietta VNA, we now also have a hugely experienced automotive leader with extensive commercial and technical expertise spearheading our activities in India.”
Kabir Bhandari, managing director of Padmini VNA, said “We are excited to be at the vanguard of clean eMobility technology with Saietta. Through Saietta VNA, we are giving Indian vehicle producers access to industry-leading eDrives, and are investing in high-quality manufacturing capability and processes in India.”
Bhandari continues “Should India achieve its EV ambitions and targets, the market opportunity for the decade to 2030 is estimated to be worth around $206 billion by 2030, and the Government has a clear commitment to electrify the auto sector. Saietta VNA believes that the time has come to democratise zero-emission mobility in India, beginning with the most popular forms of mobility, such as motorcycles, scooters and lightweight commercial vehicles. The tipping point is nearing, and we are determined to be a key enabler to fast-track lightweight vehicles to electric propulsion and contribute to cleaning up the chronic air pollution in India.”
In addition, a non-executive director joined the board at Saietta Group in 2021. A respected and established automotive industry leader, Seshu Bhagavathula joined Saietta after a highly successful career helping to progress and advance the Indian automotive sector. Bhagavathula has previously held senior executive positions at Ashok Leyland Group, Great Wall Motor Company, Daimler Trucks and Daimler Chrysler AG.
“It is an honour to be part of Saietta Group at such a pivotal moment,” said Bhagavathula. “The pioneering RFT and AFT eDrives are the right technology at the right time for the Indian automotive scene. With Saietta VNA, we are well placed to meet local market requirements in the country and work closely with major Indian OEMs as they look to electrify their product line-ups, meeting tough upcoming legislation and, most importantly, providing clean mobility to customers.”