Euler Motors banks on small vans to electrify India’s roads

  • EV startup sets out growth plans with Series B Funding
  • Ecommerce majors such as FlipKart among first customers

Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter

As the world’s biggest automakers channel billions of dollars into electric mobility, it might seem that the age of the electric car is finally here.

In much of the world however, the battery-powered vehicles coming off the production line are more likely to be electric scooters or three-wheeled vans, at least for the foreseeable future.

In India for example, three-year-old startup Euler Motors has started ramping up production of its first electric vehicle – a three-wheeled delivery van called the HiLoad – from 100 to 300 units a month.

The first major orders came from BigBasket, FlipKart and Udaan, three ecommerce companies that helped Euler pilot 250 prototype vans on the streets of New Delhi and nearby cities.

These vans have already completed five million emissions-free deliveries.

After extensive testing, Euler launched its new van commercially in October, selling the HiLoad for ₹349,999 (~US$4,700). Leasing options are also available. 

Relevant Sustainable Development Goals

Some big-name buyers

Euler’s order books are filling up, with 3,500 vehicles commissioned already.

Electric fleet operator MoEVing signed up for 1,000 Euler vans in early December, adding to 2,500 sold to other buyers.

Euler is also branching out to other cities. The company has started setting up charging stations in Bangalore; Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chandigarh should follow in 2022.

Electric vehicles are about to become an increasingly common sight in India’s biggest cities.

At least 30% of new three-wheelers on India’s roads will be battery-powered within the next three years, according to Indian ratings agency IRCA. This excludes rickshaws, as these are mostly electrified already.

By comparison, at least 8-10% of new two-wheelers and buses, 4-6% of other new light commercial vehicles and 3-5% of new cars will be EVs in India over the same timeframe, IRCA forecasts.

A full suite of services

Euler started its EV journey with light delivery vehicles, as journeys tend to be shorter and concentrated in a defined area. This makes it easier to set up charging networks as well as support services.

The payback period for buyers is shorter too, given how many journeys light cargo vans make, travelling 80-100 km on average every day. 

In addition to developing and building EVs, Euler is providing other services van-owners might need.

The company is also setting up a recharging network, starting with more than 200 charging points across India’s National Capital Region. 

Some of these double as service stations, as they are set up within shops where mechanics have been trained to maintain EVs.

Euler plans to expand its charging network to 1,000 by the end of 2022, aiming to keep charging points no more than 2km apart in cities where its EVs operate. 

“This is the ecosystem that pushes EVs forward”

Euler also offers technical support and financing to encourage prospective buyers to take the plunge.

Recently, the company unveiled a mobile service station called Charge on Wheels that can meet vehicles at any location or breakdown point.

“This is the ecosystem that pushes EVs forward,” says Euler’s founder and CEO, Saurav Kumar

“That gives overall comfort to these larger brands,” Kumar tells Tech For Impact. 

“We hope other FMCG, pharma and utility [companies] will also join in, after looking at some of these guys giving out large orders. And from here, the [EV] transition starts to happen.”

Saurav Kumar

Euler has the money to realise Kumar’s vision too. The company has raised US$22.2 million so far, but is eying a lot more.

The US$22.2 million includes US$10 million announced in November as the first tranche in what Kumar hopes will be a US$60 billion Series B funding round, due to close early next year.

Current backers include ADB Ventures, Blume Ventures, Inventus Capital India, Jetty Ventures and QRG.

New investors should also come on board in the current round.

Kumar plans to put much of this Series B funding towards a new factory, as part of a target to manufacture 5,000 new three-wheelers by the end of 2022.

By that time, 1,000 new Euler vans should be rolling off the production lines every month.

Euler will retain its focus on light cargo vehicles over the next five years, adding a slightly bigger four-wheeled van in time.

The company is aiming to scale up production to the point where it will have put 50,000 Euler cargo vans on the road by 2025.

Kumar estimates that this will save 160,000 tons of TCO2 (total carbon dioxide) by replacing combustion engine vehicles.

A van designed for rough roads

As Kumar sees it, Euler is more than a business; it’s a company that intends to make a positive impact, curbing pollution while providing incomes to people living at the bottom of the pyramid. 

“A single driver entrepreneur can own a new vehicle that can help them save more money on a day-to-day level, so that they are able to live a better life,” he says.

The company already has 600 employees, including factory workers and a ground fleet leasing team.

To succeed however, Euler – named after one of Kumar’s heroes, Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler – must produce EVs that can outperform – not just match – their fossil fuel-powered counterparts.

Kumar, who studied machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing at Cornell University, has already built and sold one company – a mobile tech platform called Cube26.

For his next challenge, he rallied his team to develop an affordable EV that can compete with other delivery vehicles on India’s uneven roads. 

Company engineers say the HiLoad can carry up to 688kg per trip, more than any other three-wheeler in India. 

Engineers perform final checks on the manufacturing line at Euler Motors’ factory

Euler’s new van also comes kitted out with proprietary vehicle diagnostics.

This includes an inbuilt thermal management system and liquid-cooled battery tech, extending battery life by two years.

As a result, batteries – the most expensive part of an electric vehicle – can still work in extreme temperatures and even withstand waterlogging.

The company says the HiLoad’s 12.4 kWh capacity battery eclipses its competitors’ batteries, most of which are in the 8-10 kWh range.

The HiLoad’s battery allows drivers to travel 151km on a full charge. If they are running low on power, drivers can extend their journey by 50km in the space of a 15-minute tea break at one of Euler’s charging stations.

International ambition

While there is plenty of room to grow in India, Kumar is also weighing up the potential for overseas sales. 

“We’re also talking to ADB to see if at some time towards the end of the year, we can export to Indonesia and Philippines,” he says.

“We need to think about modifying these vehicles for the road conditions or the payload conditions over there.”

Some favorable regulatory shifts have also opened up new growth paths in India.

In 2018, the year Euler launched, the governments of several states – including the National Capital Territory, where Euler is based – adopted a raft of new EV-friendly regulations.

Core to these were FAME (faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles) – a series of subsidies to promote the sale of electric vehicles. An update earlier this year emphasized two-wheel and three-wheel models in particular.

Other regulations reduced EV registration fees. Another set harmonized guidelines for charging stations.

Import fees have also been reduced for some of the cells needed for lithium-ion battery packs.

Meanwhile, battery costs are coming down due to new pack designs and bigger order sizes, lowering production costs.

India’s government aspires to turn the country into a global hub for electric vehicles.

After years in the doldrums, these dreams are taking shape. Euler Motors is poised to be one of the companies at the forefront of this change.

Go Deeper

Share this article

Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter

Saurav Kumar

Founder & CEO, Euler Motors

Recommended Reads

Welcome to the Tech For Impact community

Let's get acquainted

What is your name?

email list sign up form

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.

Check your inbox regularly for a newsletter keeping you up to date with the stories, ideas and good news that your community is talking about.