Discover more from The Founder Thesis Podcast | Learn from disruptive founders
Transcript : Electrifying Mobility Through Tech | Saurav Kumar @ Euler Motors
To tackle the serious challenge of pollution in Indian cities, Saurav founded Euler Motors in 2018. He talks about his decade-long journey as a founder, his take on the commercial EV space, and Euler’s plans to dominate the sector.
Other Ways to Listen:
Read the text version of the episode below:-
[00:00:00] Saurav: Hey. Hi. I'm Saurav Kumar, founder and CEO at Euler Motors,
[00:00:04] I'm originally from Bihar. And, actually, I was homeschooled for a fairly bit amount of time. There was an organization called Sulabh International. They had sponsored my education back then to come up from Behar to Delhi. I joined DPS rk puram in sixth class then from DPS rk puram uh, then I went to Delhi College of Engineering, then went to Cornell. So after undergrad at DC I became very interested in robotics. At the end of the day, robotics is also your maths and physics. All the engineering and everything applied to it so I actually started liking that a lot. So by, by the time I moved from DPS rk puram, I was already like decided Robotics and that was already there. And then when I moved to Delhi College of Engineering, we built a couple of projects around unmanned ground vehicle. So once I came to college so that is what I looked at as objective then figured out US is the best place to do something in robotics. Actually I took a year break in between I was interested in building aerial vehicles. I had applied to a place called Inria in France. So Inria translates to Mathematics and computing research center, uh, national Computing Center for France.
[00:02:40] So I went there for a year six to nine months actually. And there I was working ,with some of the driverless car that they were working on with Toyota. so I had meanwhile applied to Cornell before going there. So after I received admit from Cornell, so I went to Cornell to did my masters there also, I worked with aerial vehicle team, underwater vehicle team. So electric vehicle, it is all I think if you think from kid to undergrad to grad was building all sorts of electric vehicles. Some could fly, some could go underwater. It's just that at Euler we are building like a bigger form factor of vehicles.
[00:03:17] So at Cornell uh, there was ad startup called Moat that I was working on in New York for almost a year. And then I went to Yahoo, search to in California. Worked with them as well for year and a half or something like that. So there was that entirely two, three places where I had good interaction with like Europe, some of the other folks in similar area in machine learning, in computer vision, mathematics. It's also, good time spent there, but there was always in back of mind . Basically my first startup was an excuse to come back to kind of India. Smartphone was disrupting the feature phone market here. And we saw a huge opportunity to build something in that space. And I just seized that opportunity in, came here started my first company.
[00:04:03] Akshay: What happened to the love for robotics?
[00:04:05] Saurav: At that time, when I was graduating in 2000 I mean I think 11 the robotics job required you to have us citizenships and green card in US. Because of that, all, almost all robotics companies had a defence contract. And there was, post 9/11, there was all kinds of t hings that was built in. So that was where I got stuck. So my love for robotics had to go away because I was not qualifying for anything, any robotic, any company that was doing robotics was not there.
[00:04:33] Akshay: So 2012 you started your first startup in India?
[00:04:36] Saurav: Yes. Yes. Yes.
[00:04:38] Akshay: So you started in US and then came roughly around I think 13, early third May. So one year I struggled in US and then came.
[00:04:46] So what, what was like, tell me the genesis like what was the idea and did you have savings with you to bootstrap it or how did you get it off the ground and what was the white open space you saw because of which you wanted to do this business?
[00:05:00] Saurav: Basically I mean I started Cube 26 with a thought process that most of the I mean it started with phones, but you can expand it to other devices as well. That the feature phones was getting disrupted. You had more compute power available on the phone. You had different sensors like camera, gyrometers, telescopes. So there's other sensors that are there. It has compute power. So the thought process was can phone use all of these sensors, can use some of the compute power and be more intelligent rather than being device for texting and calling. So that was like, so interaction piece, the part that I was always fascinated by the way, so all throughout all of this career, big fan of Star Wars, Marvel, all of these kind.
[00:05:42] Robotics, all of, so it always pushed that boundaries of intelligence for you, so as devices, we could, I was trying to figure out, can you communicate with them much more in a much better, or devices can communicate to you in a better fashion. One of the early thing I remember that we were building is, let's just say you and I are having a conversation.
[00:06:01] A third person walks into the room, and even if one of them looks at the other person, the other person sort pauses the conversation or and then let's just say the third person and the first person's interaction finishes, or the third person leaves the room and then they resume, we build this feature called look away to pause in the video player for some of the Android phones. So if you're watching a video, and let's just say you look at something else, so you're watching and you look at some, content that you were consuming would pause, and then once you look back, it would automatically start playing.
[00:06:31] Akshay: Is this a B2B thing that, that you're building features which app makers can plug into their apps, or did you want to actually build apps?
[00:06:39] Saurav: So it was, the idea was to power the phone. So whether it's OEM that can integrate it in the gallery app or the video player or a video player company takes it and integrates for us, it was more how do you make phones smarter? And that was how do you make device smarter? That was, I would say, one line that we had written for Cube 26. So that was the thought process.
[00:07:01] Akshay: And we, meaning you had co-founders in this or you were
[00:07:04] Saurav: Yes. So there were three co-founders. There's Akash and Abhilekh uh, we all actually were roommates in Silicon Valley. Akash used to work with Oracle ,Abhilekh Lake used to work with Arista Network. And I was with Yahoo, so we all three were roommates. And we all three went to Cornell as well. So we, we had seen each other, but we I had interacted with Abhilekh mostly, and, but we have known each other because of the Indian community over there. But not done too much work participated in one or two hackathons together. So that was like the most I had done. So whenever I came, so I was originally in New York and then went to Silicon Valley, so these guys were there. So India was the third largest smartphone market back then. second or third I think the China, US and India, these were the only two, three markets, that meant something. So India, nashville, then I looked at the way India market was fragmented. There was no sort of carrier control over phones. You had Micromax's, carbon solo allowers of the world. So that's where we started talking to them, figuring out. So I would stay up in the night in US to talk to them in India. And then we started we pitched them this idea.
[00:08:09] They really liked it, Micromax was the first one to respond to the idea. And I, I remember speaking to the CMO, I think Subajith so he gave us that first break in the Micromax. So then he said, okay, this seems interesting, but we connect you to Rahul. And Rahul luckily was at that time, he was traveling to US, so I ended up meeting him in the US. I showed him the app. So he really liked it. And then he said, let's let's run it on Micromax phone if it's possible that we tried to start working with them. So me and Akash be like, would spend the night working with Indian timetable, because most of the guys are awake and and China and would wake up early so that was still better. But India was like fairly opposite side, so our time table was completely reversed. And so that's when we decided, ki, we have to build this. Let's go to India and build it.
[00:08:58] Akshay: Did you get the Micromax deal?
[00:08:59] Saurav: Yeah. Yeah. We launched, I think it was in one of the canvas four or something. So I still remember, so we built, integrated and the phone release was like 10, 15 days when we were speaking to them. And it was a immense sort of I think journey that we I remember a a part of the lake meme, we all were working and they had multiple phones that has to be tested. Everything like temperature, all of that, so we integrated and then we were trying to see their live event, if they eventually announced or not.
[00:09:30] Their entire launch had finished and they not talked about that feature. So we felt that they had not integrated, but then at the end they had a special sort of this conversation about this feature. And I think, so that was the big name. So they integrated, then they followed through in multiple devices. Few lakhs devices actually shipped with that feature. And that was also our one-on-one and two business. So first time you understand about licensing, how do you license these as what cost? And then we started selling other features, getting into so that's where we started getting into features and then, at some point I told them our original thought was to make devices smarter. This is making things in piecemeal. Let's build the entire smartphone and let's make it smarter
[00:10:15] Akshay: you were, uh, so far doing all this for primarily Micromax, or did you get other clients also?
[00:10:20] Saurav: All of them. So over a period of one year, we were like true hustlers. So we got like almost everyone.
[00:10:26] Akshay: So from all the Indian OEMs, like lava and
[00:10:29] Saurav: All the Indian OEMs, Lava, Zulo and then we, in fact, we then there were a couple of folks, Vani Rohit who had also joined when we had started in India. And so we had Pallavi all, like couple of few folks that stayed on to build Cube 26. And my brother Gaurav also joined the when we came to India from the operations side, so it was I mean we, that is one thing that I really loved about India is like you had a lot of support fairly quickly on, like you had, obviously my dad that I remember was not very happy when he learned that I was coming from the US to India. Cuz he was like, we did everything to push you to US where the technology and things that I was pursuing, he knew that like US is the only sort of location that would give that kind of the things that I wanted to do was very limited in India and especially in robotics. So he was not super happy when I told him that I'm coming so early. But at the end of the day started supporting in the journey. So it was great I would say start, but the team also hustled a lot of, we, you were talking about did we crack rest of the OEMs? Yes. We cracked some of the, most of the OEMs here.
[00:11:33] We in fact went to China and we cracked pool pad over there. We were, and they were sold in Chinese market. We were looking at Panasonic as well. So there were couple, so a lot of phones companies we were able to crack out, but it was always like, piecemeal sort of work. So for some companies would take it for the camera, some would take for the messaging, some would take for different.
[00:11:55] So we had built different kinds of features where you could make phones smart, but there was no holistic sort of phone, which could show all of those things together to the world. And that is where we said, let's build our phone. And that is something I would say that was also an introduction to building hardware. But we said before phone let's get into other IOT products. Let's go through a hardware sort of, how do you build hardware? How do you know, do its quality check? How do you produce them at scale? How do you distribute? How do you sell? We need to learn all of this because if you do I mean of the phone and then you end, not end up like, doing a lot of the other things that are required, then it might not be you might not be able to sell the phone as a brand, eventually so we started with smart bulbs. So we looked at devices around you, they, they thought it's still same, making devices smarter. We looked at bulb and we looked at how do you change the colors, mood. If it's rainy a day, it's going to be a rainy day evening, can it give you a different color when you're leaving the home so that you can take an umbrella? so we were trying to push that boundary of like, how devices communicates to you, and I
[00:13:02] Akshay: And did you launch the bulb? And you were planning this as a B2C, like your own brand name?
[00:13:07] Saurav: Yeah. Yeah. We did. We did it. It has fantastic reviews, man. I still remember people until last year, some of the early investors in Euler, they later got to realize that they had used our product from the previous brand. They never knew that was my previous brand.
[00:13:22] Akshay: What was the brand name under which you launched?
[00:13:24] Saurav: Iota, I O T A, Iota, basically imaginary number imagining imaginary so every imagining possibilities, like living in a virtual kind of world. And so Iotta was that thought process where we, and then we later renamed it to Reus.
[00:13:40] Akshay: Okay, but this was like a D2C thing, like you launched through
[00:13:43] Saurav: Yeah. It was launched on Flipkart and Amazon that's where Flipkart had also the idea of Flipkart became an investor cuz so that we can get access to a larger distribution. How do you build a distribution platform? So that is where we were speaking to Flipkarts of the world.
[00:13:59] Akshay: And when did you launch this? Like when the iota, this pivot to Smart devices?
[00:14:03] Saurav: So first Smart World, could have been I think 13, 14, 14 and then Reus was an upgraded version of that, when that came probably in 15.
[00:14:12] It'll be around that time. so yeah, something around 15 I would say.
[00:14:16] Akshay: So and so Flipkart was your first institutional funding or?
[00:14:19] Saurav: Yes. so we had made uh, quite money from working at all those Yahoo, US and then we started making money through some of the P2P business. I remember we worked for Fujitsu and Wipro for different like assignments that would pay the bill for us, and in parallel we would pursue this thing. So yeah, there was lot of that time because you spent almost a year and a half without doing getting much of break. But Micromax definitely started helping generating some of the revenue, helping us grow slowly so that we could build team of five, 10 people. we had also figured out way to monetize the devices, help some of the Flipkarts and of the world monetize devices in a better way. And the targeting and advertisement. So those were, and those were the worlds that was also brought up. So I had also a good understanding of some of the system. And that's how Flipkart was one of our customer. And they they became interested in what we were doing at Cube 26 like, and that's when they had decided to invest in us.
[00:15:18] And then I remember, I think at that time, Nishant Verman used to head Flipkart, so he led the investment. Then he also connected me to Sachin Bansal, who connected me to Lee Fixel at Tiger Global. And then Lee also liked that idea back then the building, the devices ecosystem and monetization of that eventually. And so that's how they had that fundraise actually happened. So we are not looking, per se, for fundraise. Earlier company was entirely bootstrapped, but lot of iot and everything had come post fundraise, not pre, because with that money, I could think , maybe we can go a step further and take a risk toward building a device.
[00:15:58] So then we thought about alternate way of working with one of the OEMs in India, and basically launched the phone with their support and journey. But then de demonetization had come back then and all of their cash flows and working capital and inventory, everything got stuck for a couple of months. So that was like the final nail in not being able to do hardware and smart phone.
[00:16:23] And at this
[00:16:24] Akshay: time your B2B revenue was still there, or you were
[00:16:27] Saurav: Yeah. B2b we were still doing, there was always like, so that was, it would not have been significant. Yeah. So it was not significant. There was still revenue part coming in. So that's when we had to shut down the hardware division completely. We had to let go of the entire team, and then we pivoted mostly to focus on the software aspect that we were doing. And at then around, and this is like around 2017 when I, uh, spoke to, Paytm Vijay Shekhar and I, that's when they were interested in acquiring the team and the work that we have done.
[00:17:01] Akshay: like a acqui hire?
[00:17:02] Saurav: Yes. And by end of the year that was done. The entire team moved uh, Paytm almost every investor lost their sort of money in the process. And we could not see a very, I would say, a successful sort of outcome of the Cube 26 journey. it was thought like, I would say the best part of why you start a startup. We had already spent I think 7, 6, 6 and a half years, seven years building Cube 26. I think we had made tons of mistakes, but we also learned a lot in the process. So that was the, I would say first chapter so at the end of 2017 is where Cube 26 was acquired by Paytm. And I think at that time I was thinking about the next business opportunity and so I had a couple of thought process back then to think about. And so one was sort of building satellite constellation of satellite for India and use that for some imaging related activity.
[00:17:58] The second one was more around the electric vehicle. And the idea was obviously in, anything that I was picking had a hardware and software component built in, and that was mainly because of my background into the different vehicles, whether underwater vehicle, aerial vehicle or robotics that I did as a kid. So that was how why I was looking for something in the hardware and software space EV over a period of I think as I spent more time with electric vehicle the idea around obviously India had been doing a lot of work on electric vehicle almost from 2008, nine sort of era.
[00:18:31] So the questions that I had was mainly in my mind was. That in the market there were a lot of like noise and very less signals. There were few companies that were doing great in two wheelers and then a lot of brands talking about the cars. But when the lens at which from which I was looking at electric vehicle was coming from pollution and air pollution challenge that India was facing. And this is also like when I had come from US and this is 20 12, 13. 13, around 13. And spent like five years. And before that I was like, almost 4-5 years was in US. So there was a drastic sort of change in sort of pollution that you suddenly, it hits you and then it hits you again and again, every year
[00:19:12] Akshay: And especially in Delhi where you have that winter smog.
[00:19:15] Saurav: Yes. Whether it's because of the crop burning or the air stagnation and different issues. So I started looking into why air pollution and also electric vehicle. so what I realized that I mean A India host almost like 18 to 19, I think top most polluted cities globally.
[00:19:32] And then within all of the city and even globally that I saw air pollution, 40% of them roughly was because of vehicular pollution. And then within that I saw that in vehicular pollution, your commercial vehicles are like one of the biggest sort of contributors of of the air pollution. Two-wheeler was also coming in close. But India had a lot of like companies and working in the two-wheeler space. So I started looking at the commercial vehicle, what people are doing in that space. That was obviously one lens, but then I also like, because I built that prior company Cube 26, I started also looking at from the sort of economics point of view because people at the end of the day wants to buy a vehicle.
[00:20:12] They don't care whether it's electric or nuclear powered or CNG powered. At the end of the day, it's more around the sort of experience that they want with the vehicle. So in that experience what we realized was as long as and this is not so true with commercial, but in general, when we saw what are the total sort of kilometers somebody tripes in a day what is the cost of operation? Where will they charge? How much time will they it take for them to charge, whether, if they're doing at home, if they're doing it at a charging station. So we looked at all the things that are responsible for making a vehicle work, the entire ecosystem you are financing your servicing, your charging station and the uh, sort of the supplier that is required. And then you look at the fame, then you look at the competition, that as you're building there will be players coming from China and will wipe you out like in phone industry, right? Like India had like a lot Indian OEMs trying to build smartphones. And then suddenly you had Oppo, Vivos of the world coming in at us who had advantage of scale and price point. And they came in and disrupted the entire India mobile phone with huge quantum marketing. So looked from all the angle and pollution at the center of it and realize yaar commercial vehicle, there are very less players that are focused on this.
[00:21:28] And this is a segment where total cost of ownership, which is TCO, makes immediate amount of sense because the vehicle utilizations are very high. So at the end of the day, people care about vehicle, right? And so let's just say if it's a cargo vehicle that Euler is currently building, then the performance criterias are more around what kind of payload it'll carry.
[00:21:48] If you have a overloading scenario, will it walk? The basements have a very different gradient than the flyover. So will it be able to climb any kinds of basement? What about hilly region? These vehicles are used even in fields in rural area. So will it perform well in those? So it's a combination of everything that sort of a vehicle has to undergo.
[00:22:07] If you want the transition to electric to happen, then the electric vehicle has to be at par or superior in performance. Then the the diesel led CNG vehicles of the world, most vehicle and commercial that we saw in 2018 were subpar vehicle. Whether you look at like the e ricks in passenger or some cargo experiments or even the, some of the other cargo experiments people were, other brands were doing, they all were like subpar vehicle. And that was a big sort of question for me as well. Why are these people building like this? And the answer was very simple that I receive. So there were two trajectories that I saw. One was by definition, when you make an EVs, uh, I mean it's a bit costlier than the IC engines of the world in terms of costs.
[00:22:50] So most people we saw were taking approach where they were building the vehicle for the price segment that a particular product represented it. So if you have a three wheeler that comes in a 2 Lakhs or a band then people were trying to build an electric vehicle also in that price band itself so that the customer does not feel the burn of it. What that was leading to was subpar electric vehicle. And hence your transition was getting slow.
[00:23:14] Akshay: Because drive train of an EV is inherently costly. So if you wanna the only way to achieve the same prices to then compromise on other features basically
[00:23:22] Saurav: Exactly. so that's where the biggest product sort of fallacy is what we understood which market was doing that they were trying to look at EV at the same price lens of an ICE. And by doing that, they were making an inferior sort of vehicle. And because of that the customer expectations were not getting matched. And you experience was going for a toss right, what Euler did was we said, you cannot, p eople at the end, end of the day, wants a product and, uh, the, the associated sort of benefits are not changing just because the vehicle is electric, suddenly a guy would not say, here, I'll start delivering lesser number of cylinder.
[00:23:56] Or a, basically whatever they're using the vehicle for their uses is constant. They're mostly going to use the, replace the existing in the same way. Right? So, So what we did is we mapped those use cases and we made sure that the vehicles are matching in performance, the price went down. But because of the saving that you have, because of the pure nature of the low cost of operation, overall saving, you still get because you are, you have a low running cost. So we put a rule that anything that we do, uh, TCU should match in a year, year and a half. I think that was a golden rule that we wrote for ourself in terms of how we think about product.
[00:24:32] Uh, We think about building, sort of getting into new segment and that's how we started building the.
[00:24:38] Akshay: Setting up a vehicle manufacturing business it is inherently high CapEx, I mean, you would need a lot of money right from the get go. So you understood, okay, we need to create an EV which matches IC in TCO, total cost of ownership instead of the one time price, which somebody's paying for it. So from this insight to actually launching your first vehicle, tell me that journey how did you get the capital together? How did you get the know-how in place are there some sort of government regulatory norms that you needed to cross to get the license to sell vehicles? All of those behind the scenes things? That's what I wanna hear.
[00:25:14] Saurav: Obviously it would be fair to say that when I started I wasn't aware of the complexity of the entire business. Had I been aware, I think I would've probably I would've thought more. But so it was also like, you know, sometime you say ignorance is bliss, and I think that was true. The idea was very exciting. And I could see that as a kid, like some of the things that I worked on in robotics and on vehicles, and then the purpose behind building this, right? The idea was not to only think about the monetary benefit at the end. I mean, it was linked to like, can I fix some of the accelerate the transition to EVs, and I think if we could do part of that in some segment lot of other volume will come and maybe it won't fix all of your problem, maybe it just moves a needle. And we need lot of people to fix that needle, it's the kind of pollution problem that we are in it's like it needs a lot of effort.
[00:26:07] Akshay: But the initial capital you would still need a manufacturing setup,
[00:26:11] Saurav: So yeah. So I had invested my own whatever personal wealth that I had generated over a period of
[00:26:17] Akshay: from the Paytm sale
[00:26:18] Saurav: Paytm and then also US when I was there. Whatever that has been saved and that I had, so that obviously that I had put in. Then there was some, one engine that had come very early on was one of our customers for my previous company, one of the longest sort of customer, and so I discussed that idea after like the sale that, Hey, I'm thinking about this. And then I continue to to take his guidance and then one day he was like, oh, this is interesting. I would like to put up the one cr, that was the first check that kind of kept afloat that 2018. So he had ended up investing like close to one point five, 1.8, 1.8 cr I think. So he said that he can put in up to four. Then I said, Hey, this is gonna be super risky. I don't want four. Let me take like one and then as I need, I'll take some more. So I think we ended up going 1.8. And then I was speaking to all the venture capital all the investors in India globally, so you basically just need one. Yes. Almost everyone sort of, uh, I think we spoke to, I think, it was Bloom venture that said yes. I think they, I mean they literally took the bet when like no one could A, understand what it would become.
[00:27:29] And almost everybody had said no. that was that entire sort of one year journey in which we first took vehicle from some other company, because the idea was trying to prove that a three wheeler cargo would work for an e-commerce. So we said in building, let's find out what's available in market. Let's see what are the challenges. So we did that for three months and we realized the vehicle is not great.
[00:27:50] Akshay: You t ook a vehicle and then what you like we were running a logistics business like you would do it
[00:27:55] Saurav: It was to understand the logistic. If there is a, because at the end of the day, our customer was going to be a logistic provider, who will either end customer or a logistic player. So we said if we have to sell it to them, let's become them, so we said, let's become them, live their journey so that we understand what challenge are they going to face, so because that's your, primary, you become your customer and then you live that journey. So we begin that, and then we took a vehicle from somebody in market. We took battery from someone. We assembled some of the, the already running vehicle that was, but we just replaced some of the things and then we ran it. I think at that point with Grofers was the first customer. I knew Albinder pehle se, so he was kind enough to help me with the pilot. And and then we ran it we did more experiments with Micromax and some of these guys back then in pilot day to realize what to build, what not to build, because you can build everything if you would really want to, but the answer lies in saying no to lot of things, so we realized the battery, the electronics, the softwares, these are the important parts that you need to build over a period of time. Everything else India is good at. It's, I think, partnering with the right companies over there and you can partner with them and build your business around that, that was one learning. Then we, obviously, we started building our own product. I, I don't think we had a line or anything back then. There was this vendor in I, we talk about it internally a lot. So they used to make these e rickshaw for lot of with the Indian players. So they were backend manufacturer for the Big S, the OEM. So we ended up like working with them. So like we, we used to sit in there or, so we didn't have any developers or engineers or whatever you say, was the first engineer in the team as well while thinking about, so I had assembled a couple of people but there was, at that time no engineer. So we used to sit at this manufacturing company in , and then I would hand draw things. Then there was a person who was kind enough to like convert it in CAD the things that I used to tell him. And this is also like where I was telling Akshay, like the passion for engineering was always there, so that's something that I enjoyed anyway. So it was not something that I was feeling like I have to go in the morning to do it. Like I would very happily go yeah. A nd this is a factory where you don't have air conditioned and stuff like, but still super, super happy. So we spent time over there building the chassis with them.
[00:30:13] We saw a lot of, because they were also building a lot of vehicles for other companies. So you could take inspiration also very quickly. And then they had this extra space in their own factory, which was like for scrap and garbage and different things. So we had got that cleaned and we started you know, they didn't charge us any money for it, but that's where we actually started doing the first sort of vehicle assembly for our own pilots. And this is like pure, like land. There is, there's just a shed. And so it would, so we would take their tools in the night and the best part was that I was blessed with like couple of people who were there even if l ike two, three o'clock, four o'clock. We used to just do some welding testing and make chassis testing the vehicle because we were literally on ground trying to build these vehicle tested and this is like sort of area.
[00:31:03] So you also didn't have like very great roads, so you could actually test out and figure out all the issues that you're going to face, so that's ran for like almost six months, early part of 2018. Then when the first engine check came, I took first 5,000 square feet factory in free the world. Again, this is no fancy, no air condition and every time in summer like you had these heat waves, so it used to be very terrible sort of phase. So that's, so we took the first factory. So there it was mainly assembly. So the supplier used to supply us the chassis and cabins cabins and then our bodies, and then we would try we, I had, because of my previous experience, I and Gaurav was there who was also heading up operation at Cube 26. We could access an understanding of the China and Taiwan so we could figure out the early electronics and components that are required for batteries and some of those things from there. And then we started some of the early assembly in terms of your figuring out what components are required whether it's motor or controller or, so right now no engineering at such good level.
[00:32:07] It's mainly , I would say. You bring things and you bring them together to check product that you can actually test it on ground, \
[00:32:16] Akshay: so this is like basically a MVP in a way, like a,
[00:32:19] Saurav: so what happened by end of the year? Like I'll tell you like what we had was around 20 vehicles on ground, which were running for two, three e-commerce companies, we ended up getting up around five to 10 charging stations and and which was again, on rental. So as we were running these vehicle, our understanding was updating also, like the charging station we create. So we went need some space to make those charging station.
[00:32:43] So because we owned everything so we could change things at a very high speed. That's how I think the first part and then Bloom saw that potential that, that e-commerce is growing. We've been able to, to at least something on ground. And by then, I think this is like end of the year when Bloom had come in. But I've been speaking to Karthik throughout the year, I think from May, June, July when we was talking to them or maybe bit prior to them, and I think eventually happened in near Diwali and I think by February they had widen the capital next year. But so that we had also fully understood what the market, what are the things we'll do. And then we had some early work done on the battery pack because battery was what we understood was single most important thing. So I ended reading spending a lot of time on battery with a lot of people globally in India, figuring out what are the things that are going to happen.
[00:33:37] And because of the pilots that was running right and majority of our time was spent during the summers of that 2018 that realization around heat and challenges around. Your battery issues around whether it's poor BMS and some of these things. I had that understanding firsthand. So our focus on liquid cooling or battery pack started, I think that's where some of our core today IP stands, because those are the things that we saw first time battery by end of the year, we had set up a small lab where we were making like one battery pack in two, three days. So we are not deploying like more than like you deployed 20 vehicle and entire year, so you're not making like hundreds of battery pack a day or something.
[00:34:18] You're doing like five days me ek so, so you could slowly test build out. And then, so that was like first year and almost every year. Akshay since then has been, I would say a just bit better version of what I've told you, but every year next one investor would come and save Euler. Then like by next year it was Inventus capital. I think I, I met Ruthvik I think through an introduction by an investor that was investor in Cube 26. So they had introduced us together and then Ruthvik had come over. He saw some of the work that we have been doing and the product and by then, like we had built around this is a year later, so some 100, 1 60 vehicles were running on ground and had shown some of the early prototypes of liquid cooling, battery pack. Then our vehicle also because of the hundreds of vehicle, we also were able to understand what would be a right form factor of vehicles. So we tested our product with B2B companies, B2C groceries all kinds of, we understood all kinds of payload requirement, speed requirement and your cargo box and everything.
[00:35:23] So that is what we I mean built in that next sort of product Ruthvik really liked what we were doing, And then I met , uh, Samir at the IC and I remember calling from Bloom before IC ki what are the things I should talk about? And he said, you like technology a lot. You should probably talk about technology the most. I think that's, because everything else investor has to take a gut feeling and a bet that this should work, and I think that advice really worked out well. And Ruthvik comes with a product experience background, so he asked a lot of questions around tech in that IC meeting. Obviously a business and everything was definitely there. And again, they were like, I had spoken to around 30, 40 of investor that year. I remember for series eight. This is 2019 Inventus okay had come at the end of the year, I think, around December something, November and January I think we ended up down signing term sheets. I think so. Yeah. So it was like one investor out of that entire pool. Otherwise so bloom would probably would've to done a bridge or like we would've shut shop.
[00:36:27] Akshay: One quick question before that like before moving on in a regular IC vehicle, that does that engine change because the IC engine has this there's that explosion which moves to piston up and down. How is a battery driven engine different from a patrol driven. And how did you source the engine, like the drivetrain part of the vehicle? Was that also provided by a local vendor, or was that imported or, does India have an ecosystem of companies who will provide you that engine? That seems like the core part of building a vehicle, everything else you could probably find vendors and assemble.
[00:36:57] Saurav: So the concepts are similar, but here, instead of engine, you have motor, let's say induction motor.
[00:37:02] Akshay: Like a pump, like a water pump you have.
[00:37:04] Saurav: Or a plant that you have, or, so induction motor India has been building like over a period of time. The major IPs are more around the vehicle control unit, the motor controller, the battery pack. These are the core areas where we focus uh, motors. Some of these things we designed these status and rotor, but I'm telling you from today, but if we eventually outsource this to a Japanese based OEM who make it for us and then provide us these different components which we take internally, assemble them together to make the motor, and we integrate our gear box and everything to make the entire drive train. Then we integrate your, all the electronics battery pack to make the power train.
[00:37:43] Akshay: So essentially the motor, per se is not a challenge to solve. It's just like a motor of any other electric device.
[00:37:49] Saurav: Like I think the more interesting things that people have been doing around is the control of motor, the efficiency, just like even an engine, right? It's the, one engine to the other, the betterment comes from that additional mileage and so here also, like how efficient is your motor in converting the electrical energy to mechanical energy? And I think that's where the majority of work internally and with our vendor goes into that. How do I go maximum amount of range on a single unit of charge, so that's the end game that you're trying to sort. Because at the end of the day, most people don't really care about what's inside to a greater degree. What they care more is the experience that's around the vehicle that key. When I charge this is the payload it can take. This is the range it'll go, these are the boundaries in which the vehicle has.
[00:38:39] Akshay: Okay. So the challenge is essentially taking all those components and putting them together in a highly optimized manner so that they work well with each other. Got it. Okay. Okay. Okay. So yeah, let's continue that journey the series A. How much did you raise in that series?
[00:38:52] Saurav: Series A was 10 million, I think roughly around 10 million by the 2021 Asian Development Bank had also come in. So we had spent time with them toward end of the last year. And we have been fortunate in the sense that lot of investor has taken a bet on us and also every time there have been like, new set of investor coming in and taking bet on Euler.
[00:39:13] Akshay: So , what is your current state of manufacturing? like how does a vehicle get built at Euler today? Tell me that whole process, like from the raw material to the final vehicle driving out.
[00:39:23] Saurav: Yeah. So today I mean we are still like very limited because so far we have only raised like around 25, 27 uh, million. So we have a fairly limited amount of capital to invest in the factory. So we have an integrated facility right now where all of your manufacturing, R&D, sales service, everyone sits together, uh, in a large office. Today, your vehicle, when you talk about the raw material so if you look at the chassis cabin and the press welding and then painting, all of that is outsourced. So we have outsourced it to a couple of vendors in India. we have given them the designs. We have made the tooling with them and they would do the entire pre BIW integration, BIW's body wide integration process. So they make entire body chassis cabin weld them together them, and ship it to our facility here in Delhi.
[00:40:14] Then after pack we make internally, so cells would come from some of the vendor in Taiwan and then in China uh, Korea. And then we would take cells from multiple of these vendors. Then there are components that are taken from Indian vendors related to aluminium boxes, wire harnesses, a lot of those things.
[00:40:32] Some of the electronic comes from European vendors, so we work with them on some of the key electronics. Some we make ourselves as well in the battery pack. Then all that manufacturing of battery pack happens internally at our factory. So we don't take any battery from outside in our vehicles. We, it's all hundred percent Euler. Then all your instrument cluster, all of those electronics also Euler designs it. There are SMT facilities in India who would make these and then give it, give us the PCBA chip. So we would work with some of the tier one chip companies like your ST or NHP or LTC all of these guys, and then work with the assembly vendors, the PC then you'll assemble all of the electronics in house and the software is also controlled. So your major idea that we had understood back then, like the software, the electronics the battery, all of that Euler controls. The only part that we don't control is like today we have outsourced all of the painting, welding, press, all of that. And at this point of time, we are looking to set up like the bigger factory that can do 3000 vehicle in a month capacity, that's something that Euler is currently working on setting up.
[00:41:42] Akshay: Okay. And uh, what is your current production? Like how many vehicles a month?
[00:41:46] Saurav: Current a hundred.
[00:41:47] Akshay: A hundred, okay. Okay. Okay. So that's a massive job. Okay.
[00:41:50] Saurav: A hundred to 3000.
[00:41:51] Akshay: Wow. Okay.
[00:41:52] Saurav: So it's basically a function of the space and the bit of automation that we are doing. Yeah. So we, so our currently we are going to go from a hundred to 300 in next three months. That's with the current facility and couple of facilities that we have taken nearby. But the larger facility that we are setting up will do 3000 vehicle in a single month. Yeah.
[00:42:12] Akshay: So what do you think will be the challenges like hundred to 3000 that, doing that journey how you must have got some sort of a roadmap in mind on what are the things to get right. What is in your checklist? There's things to get right.
[00:42:24] Saurav: Most of the things that we have done has been on the pro two sort of level, so obviously, the, in the engineering challenge. So we are continuing because our competition is ourselves. Like the vehicle that we have produced or the one that we launched last year say in October, we, our first cargo vehicle, high Euler, high load. That means every IC variants that are out there. Our major competition is is the IC engines of the world. We don't, we would want as many electric vehicles, so we don't compete with that, at least in our mindset. Our main competition is the IC engines of the world, so if you put a Euler high load, it'll beat every IC vehicle that is out there.
[00:43:01] And when I say beat whether you do payload capacity gradient or you do tug off or whatever you need to do, it'll. It is better than anybody else.
[00:43:09] Akshay: And what is the range? So this is like your you have only one product today, the high load EV three wheeler high load.
[00:43:15] Saurav: There are a couple more that will come along the but yeah, today it's just one.
[00:43:19] Akshay: But this is your flagship product. Okay. Tell me about this flagship product. If you were to pitch the product to me as a logistics operator what would be your pitch?
[00:43:26] Saurav: So when we pitch, I think the thing that we speak mainly about is that this vehicle is superior in your performance and efficiency and design than any IC. Other than government and everybody focused on moving to electric, our pitch mostly talks about how they're going to earn more. So the payload capacity of our vehicle is, for instance, 688 kg. Which is roughly 40% more than any IC engine vehicle. So their earning potential goes up by 40% because of electric in nature, there is obviously as compared to a diesel which would probably work at three rupees per kilometer. CNG would be at 1.5 to two rupees per kilometer. Your electric is your 60 paisa per kilometer. So with a higher 20% cost upfront , earning potential is 40% more. And then saving reduction is you are going from three rupees to 60 paisa per kilometers. So anything upfront that the customer ends up paying the first set of like year when they buy, it goes out in operational saving within a year. So that's mostly where it becomes a win-win so they can, without thinking they can place their fleet.
[00:44:33] Akshay: And what is the range?
[00:44:34] Saurav: On a single charge, currently it does 120 kilometers on ground, so government certified range that like 150 sort of kilometers so on a single charge which is the vehicle come with a liquid cooled battery pack. So they can also get a fast charging done from our fast charging center. So in 15 minutes there's a 50 kilometers or a fast charging option available. And I think that's the one of the thing that we realize that while people will charge this vehicle at home in a sort of a, with a three pin plug where they can,
[00:45:04] Akshay: overnight charging,
[00:45:05] Saurav: night charging in 4 hours five hours, it'll charge the entire vehicle. If some of the customer we have seen that also drives a few 150 kilometers in a day. So they would do like a 15 minute fast charging at the station and then be less worried about it.
[00:45:19] Akshay: And this fast charging infra that you're setting up this is again, a revenue generation source for you. Like you, you monetize this or
[00:45:27] Saurav: Free. We have kept it free because we cared more about the adoption, but over a period of time we will work about, both ways, so inter portability as in how can we make sure that Euler vehicles can charge at other charging station? And similarly, how can other vehicle can come and use Euler charging station.
[00:45:44] Akshay: Like what is the percentage of adoption of EVs today? Like in, let's say just this logistics operator business like out of every hundred vehicles sold, what percentage are EVs and what percentage that I see.
[00:45:55] Saurav: So actually if you look at pan India, forget about logistics. If you look at just the cargo vehicle, the segment where Euler is operating and if you look at overall, so we are three wheeler cargo, which is L5. So when we look at the penetration pan India, it's roughly 12% pan India penetration. Last year, the new vehicle sales that are happening is already electric. If you look at very three wheeler cargo, it's roughly more than 50% of the vehicle that are being sold today in three wheeler cargo is already electric.
[00:46:25] And these are like, I'm not talking about the e rickshaws of the world. I'm talking about three wheeler cargo. So percentage wise, if you think Delhi has already hit the tipping point. So because of that 50% sales hub, I think Karnataka was the second one where I had seen that they were around 25, 26% or maybe a bit more here. So more than 20%. Pan India, you have seen, we have seen like around 12% electrification already happening in the three wheeler cargo. So this year I think India will probably look at more than 20% pan India level electrification.
[00:46:57] Akshay: This is impressive. I think even advanced, like US and the west would not be hitting 50% so soon, right? Yeah,
[00:47:04] Saurav: yeah, yeah.
[00:47:05] Akshay: And so what drove that hitting the tipping point in Delhi? Was it charging infra? Was it government subsidy? Like from a macro perspective what's driving this?
[00:47:13] Saurav: The Delhi government has done lot of work, the Delhi subsidy is, whether you talk about the no entry restriction removing of that, then the removing of operational limits for the vehicle, then the incentive.
[00:47:25] Akshay: Oh, so for, IC there is a, like cargo vehicles can't enter between I think 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM some restriction is there in Delhi. So that is EVs are exempt from that.
[00:47:33] Saurav: Exactly. So they exempted EVs from that. So that was an operational sort of benefit, and so these were our, used to be a pitch to the main, by the way, guys, that you can do three trips, trips in a day, or if somebody was doing one trip, you can do two trips, so there's a operational benefit. Then physical incentives were like, obviously you're removing of some of the taxes on registration, pollution and some of those. And then other than that, giving that 30,000 subsidy on top of the vehicle purchase.