The Indian government’s push to promote new electric and hybrid vehicles is definitely a step in the right direction, but given the sheer numbers of IC engined cars plying the roads of our country, one shouldn’t overlook the potential of retrofitting them with electric motor and battery.
For car owners who are on a budget, retrofitting their existing car would prove to be a lot more economical than trading it in for a new EV. Then there is the burden of storing and recycling the old cars which could be reduced by adopting retrofit electric cars.
E-Trio, a mobility startup based in Hyderabad, has become the first such firm in India to receive ARAI approval for retrofitting regular IC-engined cars with all-electric power train. The company has received the approval for converting Maruti Alto and WagonR into fully electric vehicles and is gearing up for a market launch.
The electric kit which consists of a motor and battery pack will be sourced from South Korea and China while E-Trio has developed the controller by itself. Without revealing much about the technical specifications of the electric kit, the company claims that the retrofitted Alto and WagonR electric vehicles will have a range of 150 km. Sathya Yalamanchili, founder of E-Trio, says that the vehicles can be charged anytime and anywhere.
E-Trio is planning a market launch with initial production capacity of 1,000 retrofitted cars per month. In its first year of operation, the startup plans to convert 5,000 conventional cars into pure electric ones. Currently, the company is working with an R&D team in San Francisco to further improve the electric kits. It is also in talks with a few OEMs.
Moving forward, E-Trio is working on securing approval from ARAI to retrofit other popular best selling cars in India. While transforming existing conventional cars into EVs seems like a bright idea, a comprehensive charging infrastructure network and incentives from the government are necessary to achieve large scale success.