With its main focus on making ebikes for the young population of the country, the startup launched its first ebikes, KM3000 and KM4000, in January 2021
Recently, the startup raised $50 Mn (around INR 412 Cr) in a Series A funding round from Qatar-based Al-Abdulla Group to ramp up its production and launch more vehicle models
Kabira Mobility is set to open its new manufacturing facility in North India. Currently, it has a 1,50,000 sq. ft. manufacturing unit in Dharwad, Karnataka with a capacity of producing 40,000 vehicles a month
If there is one category of vehicles that has reaped the most out of the government’s push to ply more electric vehicles (EVs) on Indian roads, it is, with all certitude, the two-wheeler segment.
However, this segment largely comprises escooters and not electric motorcycles. Interestingly, there are fewer players in the country’s ebike space than escooter manufacturers.
To change this equation, the founders of electric two-wheeler maker Kabira Mobility forayed into the space in 2017, with a focus on electrifying the performance bike segment. Soon they moved to produce their range of ebikes.
Incorporated in 2019 by ex-serviceman Jaibir Siwach and his sons Akash Siwach and Sagar Siwach, who are engineers by profession, Kabira Mobility first entered into the EV space with an esccoter, Hermes 75.
According to the founder, although the escooter was launched specifically to cater to the last-mile delivery needs and offered a range of 130 km and a top speed of 85 km per hour, the strategy behind its rollout was to study the market and the industry, given that the founders did not have any prior experience in the automotive space.
However, since then there has been no looking back for the founders who have been slow but steady in their quest.
In 2021, the founders launched the first of their flagship bikes, KM3000 and KM4000, targeting young bike enthusiasts. Interestingly, the company could only sell five units during the year. In 2022, according to Vahan data, the startup’s vehicle registrations grew to 107 units. So far this year, 74 EVs have already been registered.
Recently, the startup raised $50 Mn (around INR 412 Cr) in a Series A funding round from Qatar-based Al-Abdulla Group to ramp up its production and launch more vehicle models.
Kabira Mobility has started its operations in a space populated by large internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle players such as Bajaj Auto, Yamaha Motor, Royal Enfield, and Honda, just to name a few.
Given that India’s motorcycle market is projected to reach $36.09 Bn in 2027 versus $24.27 Bn in 2022, as per a Statista report, there is a huge market for players like Kabira Mobility beckoning disruption.
The EV Maker Gets Ready To Revv
With its main focus on producing ebikes for the young population of the country, the startup launched its first ebikes with claims of ‘India’s fastest and longest-riding ebikes’.
However, after facing some resistance in the market in the early days, Kabira Mobility further revamped its vehicles with inputs from the biker community. Following several test rides across the country – on different terrains and climatic conditions, it started full-fledged sales of its ebikes in April 2022.
The ex-serviceman said that he invested three to four years in R&D before finally taking off. He added that the startup had to go through a rigorous journey of building the design, testing, and getting approvals before they finally launched their flagship ebikes.
Its KM3000 bike model comes with a 4.14 kWh battery capacity and provides a range of 120 km per charge while KM4000 has a battery capacity of 4.60 kWh with a range of 150 km. In Goa, the vehicles cost in the range of INR 1.23 Lakh to INR 1.25 Lakh (ex-showroom).
Ready To Race?
In the broader two-wheeler EV space, Kabira Mobility is currently competing with the more established and bigger OEMs like Ola Electric, Ather Energy, Ampere Vehicles, Hero Electric, and TVS Motor, just to name a few.
In the niche ebike space, its direct competitors include the likes of RattanIndia-owned Revolt, Oben Electric, Orxa Energies, Ultraviolette, and Odysse Electric.
Though there are many players in the electric two-wheeler space, Siwach believes that not many players in the market have a long-term goal.
Hinting at the incidents of EVs catching fire and other safety concerns, the CEO said most players in the burgeoning automotive segment are aggressively pushing sales when they should spend more time on R&D.
For Kabira Mobility, he said, this is just the beginning, and the startup is planning product expansion in various categories of ebikes.
The startup has raised more than INR 430 Cr in two funding rounds since its inception.
Its pro variants of KM3000 and KM4000 are expected to be launched this year with a top speed of 140 km per hour and 160 km per hour, respectively.
It is also planning to launch a new model (KM5000) in the cruiser bike category next year. The vehicle would come with an 8 kWh battery pack and a range of 330 km per charge. Kabira Mobility is also mulling the launch of a budget motorcycle KM2000 by the end of 2023.
Siwach said that currently, the startup is receiving vehicle orders and enquiries not only from the general public but also from government departments.
And with advisory firms like Deloitte and EY working with the startup on various fronts – tax, FAME-II subsidy, and other regulatory compliance requirements – Siwach believes that his company would be able to cater to the rising demand for its ebikes.
Kabira Mobility’s revenue increased to INR 12 Cr in FY22 from INR 5 Cr in FY21. The startup is expecting to generate INR 18 Cr in revenue in FY23.
In The Fast Lane
At a time when EV OEMs are expanding to in-house component manufacturing, along with vehicle making, Kabira Mobility has not ventured into the vertical yet. The startup outsources all its components, including the drivetrain, battery packs, BMS, and others from suppliers like DeltaEV, Jyoti Tooling, Hitachi Astemo, and more.
However, Siwach said that the component designs and technology are developed in-house, and its suppliers meet the quality of its product requirements.
Determined to ramp up the production of ebikes, the startup is set to open its new manufacturing facility in North India. Currently, it has a 1,50,000 sq. ft. manufacturing unit in Dharwad, Karnataka, which has a capacity of producing 40,000 vehicles a month.
Further, amid the future of the FAME-II scheme in the doldrums and the government’s ongoing investigation on at least 14 electric two-wheeler OEMs, including Hero Electric, Okinawa Autotech, Okaya, and Jitendra EV, just to name a few, the founders told Inc42 that Kabira Mobility has been receiving the subsidy benefits without any major roadblocks.
While the ebike space still has less competition compared to the escooter counterpart, the race is gradually becoming intense. Ola Electric is working on the launch of its new vehicles in the electric motorcycle category. In November 2022, Ultraviolette launched its F77 performance electric motorcycle in Bengaluru.
According to a recent report by Redseer, a strategy consulting firm, overall electric two-wheeler penetration in the country is expected to grow to 60%-80% of the total two-wheeler market by 2030 from a meagre 4% in FY23. Like ICE two-wheelers, EV players in Tier 3 cities and beyond are expected to contribute 50% of the total electric two-wheeler segment by 2030, the report reads.