Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Ola invests in electric vehicle start-up Tork


PUNE: The latest investment by Aggarwal and Bhati is in addition to the undisclosed seed funding they have put in the start-up of cab aggregator Ola, Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, have together invested Rs 45 lakh in Pune-based electric vehicle making start-up Tork Motorcycles.

According to the documents in possession of Moneycontrol, sourced from Paper.vc, the Ola co-founders invested in Tork in January this year, which was closely followed by a deal worth Rs 30 crore with Bharat Forge for a 45% stake in the Pune-based company.

The latest investment by Aggarwal and Bhati is in addition to the undisclosed seed funding they have put in the start-up. Bhavish has invested nearly Rs 30 lakh while Bhati contributed about Rs 15 lakh, in lieu of shares.

Aggarwal and Bhati declined to comment, while Tork Motorcycles founder Kapil Shelke said, “We do not intend to comment on this,” in response to an e-mail query sent to both the companies. Tork, which makes electric motorcycles, had raised angel funding led by Ola founders in April 2016 along with other angel investors such as CoCubes co-founder and chief executive officer Harpreet Grover.

The SoftBank-backed ride-hailing company’s investment in Tork is seen as an extension of its ambitious plans of putting together a fleet of electric vehicles. The company had launched a pilot project for electric vehicles in Nagpur, last year, which included electric cabs, electric auto rickshaws, electric buses, rooftop solar installations, charging stations, and battery swapping experiments.

In April this year, the company formally launched its Mission Electric programme, wherein it plans to add 10,000 electric vehicles, a majority being e-rickshaws, to its platform in 12 months. The Bangalore-based company plans to have one million electric vehicles on its platform by 2021, and has carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra as a partner for electric four-wheelers.

Tork Motorcycles, on the other hand, has developed a motorcycle, code-named the T6X, which is capable of operating for 100 km on a single charge. The company showcased the vehicle a year ago, but has been unable to monetise it commercially as yet.

During the showcase of its vehicle prototype, the company had said it is developing a battery management system, control systems, motor tuning, drive train, and overall product integration for the T6X. It has built five motorcycle prototypes so far.

Bangalore-based Ather Energy is also building an electric scooter, which is also a smart device with Bluetooth connectivity and monitoring capabilities. The company counts Tiger Global, promoters of Flipkart – Sachin and Binny Bansal – as investors. It concluded the last funding round in October 2016 of about USD 27 million from Hero MotoCorp, against 26%-30% stake. Ather’s scooter is not launched for retail consumption either.

Another Bangalore-based electric vehicle start-up Emflux Motors recently secured fresh funding of Rs 2 crore from existing and new investors. The company plans to launch its first prototype by October this year.

Electric vehicle makers are quickly gaining steam, after the launch of Government’s National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 that aims to put seven million electric and hybrid vehicles on Indian roads by 2020. A Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme is also a major boost to the sector, which seeks to provide Rs 795 crore to electronic vehicle makers till 2020.


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