Automotive OEMs have been focusing to transform transportation in India and in which commercial electric vehicles have been the juggernaut. Given the transformation, Euler Motors started its operations in 2018 with a major focus on custom-made EVs. Euler Motors aims to create superior alternatives to traditional mobility igniting the mass adoption of electric vehicles while giving customers a seamless experience.
In a casual interaction with Aishwarya, Vani Mehra, VP, Sales and Mobility, Euler Motors shares her thought on her exciting journey while working in the company and how far the current EV segment has flourished as it is ready to take a center stage.
Also, she highlights the opportunities the booming EV industry inculcates for women in tech. Edited Excerpts below.
Coming from an engineering background, what helmed you towards the Electric Vehicle (EV) sector?
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In retrospect, my engineering background helped me evaluate the space in which I wanted to work. So, I left core engineering somewhere around 10, 12 years ago. Post that, I have been involved more in the business side. 2018 is when Euler Motors started its operations. Prior to that, I was working in a start-up, which used to provide an Android OS customization for Android phones and so we used to travel a lot to China and Shenzhen in particular. During this time, I saw the whole BYD evolution which included the e-buses followed by BYD e-cabs. Acquainted with the evolution of BYD while witnessing the whole electric vehicle journey in the initial phases of China which further inspired me toward green mobility. India also faces major pollution problems and electric vehicles seem to be the only favourable answer for the Indian automobile industry. I think my engineering background gave me the ability to kind of understand the technology, evaluate the space and also understand what would be the challenges and how could we solve them. Even today, when I speak to my customers, I can help them understand the engineering aspect of the vehicle. Alongside, from a business perspective, I help my customers a lot, whether it is in terms of efficiency, reliability, or affordability. This way the conversation with them just becomes easier because having a very dense tech conversation is not viable also when you’re trying to pitch your product to the customer. In short, I think my engineering background has given me that ability, which makes this profession enjoyable for me.
Being in the leadership position as a woman, how has the growth journey been with Euler Motors?
At present, there have been a fair-good number of women in the EV sector and electric vehicles as a sector have inspired a lot of women to come into the automotive segment. Though the numbers are still small as compared to men it’s still better off than the traditional automotive space. Mahindra and Kinetic also have women leaders and that’s great. Nowadays, in multiple brands, even traditional brands we are seeing women leaders at their core. But traditionally automotive was a segment that was male dominated for various reasons, but I feel today things and the scenario has changed. So being a woman, I think my learning curve was steep in this segment. It has kind of helped me grow only to achieve better for Euler. I have been a part of Euler since day one. I’ve donned various hats, whether it was regarding the initial tie-ups with the customers or doing the final sales. My journey comes along even when the EV industry was not very prominent. Creating awareness while explaining to customers about the technology which is still evolving is the most challenging part of being a leader in the segment more than anything else. And, it is very touching when your customers actually recognize you for the time you spent with them or the journey you walk them through and appreciate it.
Working as a woman business head, tell us about your key role in the company, and your experience in the EV sector so far?
Euler Motors started in 2018 and that is when my electric vehicle experience started. Prior to that, I had merely any experience in the EV space. My role in the organization has been more on the business side.
Creating the order book and then ultimately getting the customer to purchase the vehicle or let it up into sales is what I am responsible for. Currently, we have an order book of 9000 plus vehicles. E commerce has been the flag bearer in terms of this industry but our team has also managed to penetrate into FMCG, pharma, furniture, gas cylinders, water bottler beverages industry. Convincing traditional businesses to adopt new technology is where we have been perennially focusing.
E-commerce from a woman’s standpoint is a well-represented segment. Initially, fleet owners are used to seeing traditional automobile companies and there was a bit of awkwardness, but, if you have your current data in place and if one makes sense in what one is saying then your product is able to prove it further. The correct solution or tested product resonates with the customer because the customer is also looking for a solution. As long as you’re able to provide statistics and effective solutions, which they can understand and you solve the problem, people only look up to you.
Talking about Euler Motors’ fleet data management platform, can you tell us more about this?
Euler Motors offers a full-stack solution. Our vehicles are smart which conforms with the whole idea of transitioning to India in the IoT space. Customers can actually record data, understand their vehicle better, and witness efficient performance while satisfying their expectations from the vehicle. That’s what Euler Motors actually helps us do. It’s a platform basically where you can monitor over 500 data points across the vehicle.
In our platform, thousands of data points come to the vehicles every three seconds. This helps us in preventive maintenance and in understanding what exactly your vehicle needs. Instances like sharp breaking and sharp turns where they have a habit of pressing the brake and driving at all impact ranges.
Euler basically offers a diagnostic tool that helps us to get the best performance of the vehicle. It also has additional features like locating charging stations and how you can book a slot and charge it. It’s a whole ecosystem that we are building up on Euler Motors.
Coming across Euler’s Charge on Wheels Initiative where a customer can use battery top-up, how does this work?
One of the biggest problems, when we go to sell a vehicle, is range anxiety. Whether it is a retail customer or an institution, we have a vast network of petrol pumps or CNG pumps in the country but not many EV charging stations.
We can’t install switching stations everywhere, so another solution was that if you happen to get out of charge, we will come to you and charge your vehicle. That’s what I believe is an innovative way of covering the shortcomings of the EV sector.
Electric vehicles are limited, people don’t want to invest in the infrastructure and so if there are not enough charging stations, people will not buy vehicles. And this is not something that we can directly control. In addition to the charging, the ‘Charge on Wheels’ has essential tools. The main idea was to charge the vehicle on the road at your demand so the customer can reach the nearest charging station. The EV industry has become quite competitive in the country, which is giving OEMs quite a sweat to roll out products at par with R&D and manufacturing costs.
How do you see the EV market currently going in the country?
Commercial space is definitely a leading opportunity in India’s EV revolution, and this is a space where the total cost of ownership makes sense because they are better earnings to drive more adoption. Even if we see our customers, we started sales in January last year.
It’s been about 1.5 years, and the people who have seen the benefit of savings, have come back to buy more vehicles. This is a segment which makes sense economically as well as from the savings perspective. Confidence in technology is definitely increasing, people are rapidly switching to EVs and as Euler, we are also looking to scale our existing operations to meet demand. We’ve recently opened new outlets in Delhi and we are looking to open new showrooms across the west, east, and south of India to cover more and more geographies and make a product available to them while also looking to penetrate more industries. E-commerce is a segment where EVs are widely accepted. But our effort has also been on business sectors like FMCG and Pharma where the penetration has been much slower. This is a massive opportunity in the EV market for commercial vehicles in India. It’s just the tip of the iceberg right now. We have a lot of potential in this space which is yet
to be discovered.
Interview conducted by Aishwarya Saxena and edited by Niloy Banerjee.