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Lucas TVS in talks with e-bikes maker for supply of motors


India, January 19, 2019 : Automotive components manufacturer Lucas TVS is in talks with an electric two-wheeler maker for supply of motors, according to a top executive, as the company looks to expand its electric portfolio in the face of a global push towards e-mobility. The 55-year-old TVS Group company will use the e-two-wheeler project as an evaluation opportunity for further production of electric motors for two wheelers.

“The mainstream players have not gotten into electric two-wheelers… We are working with one pilot customer to prove our product and develop our capability, and then we’ll see how to deploy it,” said Arvind Balaji, Joint Managing Director of the company and one of the fourth-generation scions running the $8.5-billion TVS Group.

The incursion would be an attempt at expanding the company’s electric portfolio, which consists of motors for e-rickshaws plying in two- and three-tier cities. The company estimates the market at 200,000-400,000 units.

Balaji said, “The market is in e-rickshaws and two-wheelers and we felt if we get good experience in those segments and develop a good track-record over the next few years, we will also have more credibility when we offer (products) for four-wheelers”. “Over the next couple of years, we should get a decent business in this area,” he added.

NS Ramanathan, head of advanced engineering at Lucas TVS, said the company has worked on improving the efficiency and regenerative breaking capacity of the motors used in the rickshaws after studying Indian conditions. “Per charge, one will be able to drive 10% more. The Indian monsoon conditions have been studied and the motor is capable of running even when water gets into it.”

Lucas TVS, which has seven plants across India, has also begun negotiations with its US-based clients on the prospect of additional supply in the backdrop of the current trade barriers restricting Chinese import into the US. As part of its long-term strategy, the company may also evaluate setting up a specialised product plant in the US, Balaji said. He added that up to 13% of the company’s business comes from the US and Europe.

For now, the company has no plan of getting into making batteries for two-wheelers. “We are a motor and controller and convertor company, so we will stay with the powertrain. Our competency is in rotating electricals-…we want to expand and go global in this area,” said Balaji.

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