Tork Motors, India’s first electric motorcycle startup was born out of passion when Kapil Shelke started building the first electric bike while still in the second year of his engineering college. From then on, there has been no looking back. After being the first Asian to win the prestigious Isle of Mann TT race (Mecca of sports bike racing) thrice, Shelke decided to take up Tork commercially in 2009. The company recently introduced TIROS as their key technology which drives intelligence of T6X, their soon-to-be-launched electric motorcycle.
Analytics India Magazine caught up with Kapil Shelke, CEO & Founder, Tork Motors to get an insight into their product and how they plan to promote it using analytics.
Analytics India Magazine: What are the manufacturing and component procurement challenges Tork Motor faces?
Kapil Shelke: Tork Motors is currently facing the biggest challenge of creating awareness and knowledge about the superiority of electric vehicles v/s normal internal combustion engine-powered vehicles. Since every component of Tork Motors is built in-house and electric mobility is new to everyone, it’s difficult to hunt for expertise in this segment.
AIM: Are you happy with the current EV policy of the government?
KS: Yes, we think that the government’s EV policy is a balanced one. We support their initiatives like the local assembly of EVs, reduction of GST on electric vehicle chargers to 12 % from 18% earlier and exemption of battery-operated vehicles from payment of fees to name a few.
AIM: Which are the most promising cities in India where EVs can take off?
KS: India has become the biggest market for cell phones in a very short span of time. Similarly, India is growing up with its EV side too. Cities, where EVs are seen at higher rates, are Gurugram, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. In a few years, all the cities in India will be EV friendly.
AIM: How does data analytics come into the picture? How does your vehicle carry analysis and compilation of data for every data?
KS: Tork Motorcycles are powered by TIROS which stands for Tork Intuitive Response System which works as an operating system to facilitate motorcycle performance parameters, riding pattern data, and GPS data that can explain terrain irregularities would facilitate machine learning. TIROS ensures that all the parameters are within the specified range to facilitate healthy battery conditions and performs automatic onboard diagnostics when systems undergo any errors. At all given point TIROS ensures there are no absolutely cases of electrical accidents and even shuts off the electricals if the temperatures reach beyond specified limits. This prevents fire accidents as well as sudden failures.
AIM: How do you hunt for talent in this space since this is a nascent phase?
KS: We conduct campus hiring programs that facilitate the list of skills of each individual. Then as per our requirements be it in creative space, digital space or technical environment, if the set of skills match our requirements, we go ahead and hire them. Over here it is the approach that matters more than the end goal.
AIM: What lessons have you learnt from the adoption of EV in America and Europe? How is the Indian market different in this space?
KS: EVs in America and Europe have taken a lot of time to understand EVs and have spent ample financial resources to build a product which still has issues with its sustainability. India, on the other hand, has definitely entered late in the league of EVs yet its adoption curve and growth has been faster. India has learned from the mistakes of other countries. With the Indian Government has implemented EV friendly policies, which is conducive to build EV friendly infrastructure.
AIM: How viable is the EV market in India? What are some of the challenges of scaling up in this space?
KS: The Indian EV space is at the cusp of a major transformation with the adoption of EVs, government support and manufacturing interest from enterprises are being welcomed.
AIM: How did the idea of founding Tork Motors conceptualise? What are some of the milestones that you have achieved so far?
KS: My passion for motorcycles led me towards building the first prototype of the electric motorcycle. It was exhilarating as we won thrice at Isle of man, the Mecca of motorcycle racing. We interacted with engineers from across the globe at the event which gave me a sense of understanding of what we lacked in terms of technology and people skills. In India, I was hearing about electric cars and scooters and no one spoke of motorcycles. So Tork Motors came into being as India’s first electric motorcycle startup. With T6X, we are on the journey from prototyping to manufacturing India’s first electric motorcycle for commercial purposes.
AIM: What is your roadmap for the coming years? What is the target that you wish to accomplish?
KS: The target for Tork Motors is very simple, it is to build the electric future of India. This means it can take anything, be it a scooter, a car or a bus from us to make a brighter electric future for India. The roadmap to follow is to build a team that can build more, better and advanced EVs in the next 5 years.