These 4 automobile engineers are trying to make electric vehicles more efficient

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Belonging to the very first batch of Nepali students who specialized in automobile engineering, Pankaj Joshi, Rohit Kumar, Bijay Prakash and Subas Badu are already diving in the world of entrepreneurship with their innovative idea of solving the problem of electric vehicle owners are facing. Their start up is called as Chilgadi

They pitched their idea at  Connect (In) – 2nd International Entrepreneurship Conclave  wherein we got hold of the entire team to know more about the groups of plan

Can you brief us about your Start-Up idea?

Our idea is to add solar power in electric vehicles. We are currently targeting “Safa tempos” which are already plying in Nepal. They run up to 60 km and the average time required for re-charging the battery of these electric vehicles is 10-12 hours. However they are required to be stationed at one place for recharging them with electricity. This is time consuming for the drivers and cost them money. Drivers often get discouraged with the idea of buying electric vehicles because of the issues of battery durability and charging time.  We want to fix this problem by introducing a mechanism for the vehicle to be in use while getting its battery re-charged. Using solar energy for the same will enable us to resolve the problems from both the ends. This will not only benefit the driver but also help the environment. Currently we have the blue print of this idea and figuring out a plan to implement it.

How did you come up with this creative idea?

It clicked us when we were working as interns. We were responsible for taking reviews from the customers and soon we 6figured out that the customers were unhappy with the battery life of vehicles. Their feedback was that if vehicle was in use on a continuous basis, it would stop abruptly and could lead to battery failure regardless of the warranty. It was then we spotted this opportunity and came-up with the business idea to optimize the driver’s time for battery recharge while reducing the electricity consumption.

Can you explain in more detail how will your idea benefit the environment?

Pollution generated from fuel vehicles is a global problem and Kathmandu is no exception. Electric vehicles were introduced as an alternative but people are resistant to invest in them as early adopters have started facing problems with the battery life. We thought why not launch solar panels in the same electric vehicles and resolve the issue. It does involve a substantial investment and installation costs but in a long run it will prove to be worthy. Moreover, chances of battery failure will also reduce to nil, motivating the drivers to purchase energy efficient vehicles. This in turn will lead to commencement of an eco-friendly era and lessen the air pollution which is also one of the biggest challenges faced by people of Kathmandu. Also, solar panel will aid in mobilizing the vehicle for a much longer time which seems to be a win-win situation at the end.

What stage is the company at?

Currently it’s at the idea stage and the company isn’t registered yet. We are working on it. However our key focus for now is to develop a prototype which can be installed on a Safa tempo and determine the storage capacity of battery using the solar panel. It will take around 2-3 months to complete this task.

How many people are working on this business idea?

Right now it’s just 4 of us who are working on converting this idea to an actual product

Have you faced any hurdles while validating your business idea?

Yes, a lot them. We faced many problems at the research phased. We tried to collect data from online resources but hardly found any as it’s a new idea. Also the data we found wasn’t relevant to Nepal. Then we moved to collecting primary data by conducting an interview’s with Safa Tempo users, even that wasn’t very helpful as they were unfamiliar with the technical data that we needed for our study. So yes, even reaching here wasn’t that easy.

How did you overcome this challenge of lack of information?

Till now we have been investing much of our time in researching as we do not want to be in any situation wherein we are lacking any vital information. We keep contacting the service centers and consult with various other electric vehicle companies for acquiring information and solving our queries.

Continuing with the question of challenges, what kind of hurdles do you foresee in the future?

The major obstacle that we see for our business is getting the spare parts imported from another country as Nepali markets do not stock the high-quality parts that we would need for our product.

What’s your target market?

Our main target market is public transport which includes TukTuk running on electricity outside Kathmandu Valley and electric buses that Nepal government is planning to bring in. But for now as mentioned Safa Tempo owners are our focused customers and we will be running a demo with them and if everything goes well we will commence the business with Safa.

What kind of resources would you need after the company is established?

We are at the idea stage and are not aware of the resources that would be needed to establish and run a company. Though, we might need some legal assistance as we are clueless about it.

Do you think in yourselves as social entrepreneurs?

To be frank we are not sure about if we are social entrepreneurs.

You can reach out to them via. subashbadu41@gmail.com