Published: 20th May 2018
Here's how Virtus Motors's Alpha is helping us take a greener leap
The founder of Virtus Motors speaks about finding the perfect eco-friendly solution and reinventing travel through their e-bike, Alpha
The idea that created Virtus Motors struck when its co-founders, Tushaar Bajaj, 28 and Vivek O Shettigar, 30, were doing their MSc in Automotive and Motorsport Engineering. Based in Hyderabad, the two were creators by nature and were homing in on the same idea although they were involved in independent projects at the time. Thus, Alpha, the ultimate e-bike was born: equipped with hand made-faux leather, LED lights and a dual disk breaking setup to ensure your safety. We caught up with Tushaar Bajaj to learn about their dream product and how it can change our daily commutes:
Most people make electric cars. What was the idea behind this e-bike?
Cycles are the first things that made us feel free and alive when we were children. We wanted to bring that feeling back for people over the age of 18. This is for people who may not want to sit on those uncomfortable cycle seats anymore but still yearn for the feeling that it gave them when they got their first cycle. The product itself is basically a cross between a bicycle and a scooter. We wanted to ditch the conventional design of a cycle which is bulky and, let’s be honest, not too good to look at and we swapped it with a much more comfortable seat and changed the position of it. So, we were able to unite the resourcefulness of a bicycle with the comfort that we've come to expect from scooters.
Ride along: The team have been able to reduce the charging time to 60 minutes
Could you share the process behind the design and engineering of it?
It was in 2013 that we finally got our ideas together and started developing a particular product. We wanted the design to be appealing to a variety of users. Another important point on which we emphasised during the building stages was that people would be able to charge it fast. We have been able to reduce the charging time to 60 minutes, which is a first in India.
How did you manage to keep it eco-friendly?
Something we knew from the beginning was that however the product turned out, it would have to be environment friendly and, if possible, contribute towards conservation. We were both researching electric vehicles for the past two years so we were able to build the whole electric cycle from scratch.
On an average, people have to travel 10-12 km by taking roughly 30 minutes, that is something that we want to reduce. With an electrified cycle, people can take their cycle to work or use it on their journey back if they are afraid of tiring themselves. Ultimately, we are trying to change the way in which last mile connectivity happens in the country and eliminating the polluting factor from it
Tushaar Bajaj, Co-founder, Virtus Motors
What has the journey been like as you developed this vehicle?
In 2014 and 2015, we were basically refining ourselves, talking to vendors and sellers. But at the end of the day, we were not able to do what we actually wanted to do because of a lack of funding. We were working as freelancers for different companies so we pooled all our money along with 3 interns, to start building the e-bike. And we were successful. We are currently just finalising all our vendors.
Mastered electric and effortless mobility
Fast charge in 60 minutes
Environment friendly design
Guaranteed safety with LED headlight, taillight and indicators
Handmade faux leather seat for added comfort
What would you say was one of the greatest challenges along the way?
One of the major limitations to starting a company of your own is finding resources and the appropriate support. Especially when you are working with a product based start-up, it is really difficult with a lack of funding. One always needs to have the capital to build anything. If it were an app, all it would take would be owning a laptop and you could start with that. But if you are product-based like we are, even to get started with the minimum viable produce, you have to showcase your idea to investors and be able to gather enough interest. It’s a huge problem. If you are able to persevere, you may not even end up building the same product in the end. But if you are able to pull through and get the product out, with your own money no less, it is the most satisfying feeling.