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Three Questions with - Arun Reddy, founder of RACEnergy

Our guest for this interview is Arun Sreyas Reddy from RACEnergy - an electric vehicle infrastructure start-up based out of Hyderabad. RACEnergy aims to transform autorickshaws into electric vehicles with affordable retrofitting.

Photo credit : The Better India

Arun and Gautham co-founded RACEnergy in 2018 right after their graduation from BITS Pilani.


Having a keen interest in building vehicles in college, they spent a lot of years researching and understanding the E-vehicle space, specifically the battery-swapping technology and the solutions available. They aim to give this sector a unique proposition through their state-of-the-art battery swapping stations and batteries. Here are the top three questions from the interview - What were the challenges you faced while adopting this model? Was there any friction? We were better builders of the product rather than sort of figuring out a model. We had a very strong feedback loop from the drivers. Even before we conceptualised the whole idea, we had spoken to about 500 drivers already through one-on-one conversations.


With an intent to understand what auto drivers wanted, we picked out their challenges- -They didn't want CNG fits as they would have to wait for a longer time to refuel every day. -They were okay with diesel engines that offered more torque and power but these were noisy and heavy on vibrations. After this, we went out and built the battery swapping stations and batteries. When we showcased the product, it was an instant attraction. The challenge isn’t about building the product but building it at an affordable price. What are the challenges around credit for the segment? Why should auto drivers be getting credit from Rang De? Can’t they get it from a bank? What challenges have you uncovered? I think in general, E-vehicles face challenges in getting financing. Since the fire incidents of certain e-vehicles have happened, it's been very difficult for anybody to get financing. This is a very valid reason because a manufacturer can cut some corners and easily produce very faulty products, which can then hurt the owner and therefore the financers, in terms of what they've extended as their line of credit. In addition to this, we came ahead with retro-fitting making it a little more complicated than usual. And to take it a step further, we decided to swap batteries rather than charge batteries. All these made it a lot more difficult. But I think Rang De has done extensive diligence. It's been great that Rang De was patient about it, learning about what we were building. And we’re happy to have you on board to finance these conversion kits. So that was good. And I think more and more people will follow moving forward.


For Social Investors, the people who have actually invested in RACEnergy and the community that is associated with it, we would love to hear - what kind of response or feedback have you received? One is just about the product experience, these drivers are coming from manual gearboxes - having to shift gears, and they work for 12-15 hours, which is a very common situation. Sound and vibration are a big problem in diesel engines.


So that whole experience itself has changed. It is now more comfortable for people to be able to drive longer. And on the second side, of course, is the whole money aspect. Shifting from petrol/diesel engines, drivers are now able to increase their income by 25-30%. Over a month, you're looking at close to ₹6k in terms of added income. That makes a lot of difference.


_____________________ We asked more questions to Arun in this conversation that gave us insightful information about the EV sector and the work RACEnergy is doing, like - - the global semiconductor shortage - the shift to EVs and the effect on pollution - scaling strategy of RACEnergy pan-India If you’re interested in watching the full conversation, head on to https://youtu.be/tFYjAxSZHfc

RACEnergy is a Rang De Impact Partner. Through our partnership, social investors enabled auto drivers to earn more income by investing in their transition towards e-vehicles. Become a Social Investor today!

Join www.rangde.in Image credit: Better India



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