Not looking at all-India penetration with the Haima-Bird EV1: Ankur Bhatia

We spoke to Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director, Bird Group, about the launch of Haima in India and his expectations from the EV1.

Which are the models that Haima has identified for the Indian market?

Ankur: We have identified Bird Electric EV1. We have already done some work on the model and will be modifying the shape of the car. We are looking at a 2022 launch (financial year) for the EV1. The EV1 will be hatchback with a tall-boy design and will offer a range of 200 km in a single charge in real world and a top speed of 120 km/h. We are looking at a price range of around Rs 10 lakh.

Haima also has other models including the E3. Are you planning to launch these models?

Ankur: As of now, we are only concentrating on EV1, and after launching it we will look into other models. We are looking at a production capacity of 5,000 units once our plant is completely running. As I mentioned, first vehicle would roll out towards 2022 and then we would be having a line-up of other products as well.

Where would you be assembling the product? Will the Haima EV1 be brought in as CKD units from China?

Ankur: It would be assembled at our Manesar plant. Yes, we would be bringing it as CKD units and will be taking some parts locally with compliance for FAME II regulations. Whatever is available locally and is price is cheaper than the Chinese manufacturers, we will take.

Is Rs 10 lakh price on-road or ex-showroom?

Ankur: It will depend on the state it goes on sale with GST, subsidy and other factors considered. We are looking approximately Rs 10 lakh price range.

Have you already began testing the vehicle in India? Will you be offering Haima electric car for commercial segments?

Ankur: This is a left-hand drive version. Once we build a right-hand drive unit, we will start sending it to ARAI for certification. We are looking at both individuals and commercial fleet for EV1.

So the success of EV1 will decide whether you will be bringing other electric models or not?

Ankur: I don’t see a reason why this will not be successful. I believe the price point is right, the design is right and the functionality is right. Our service network and availability are there. We are doing our homework to ensure the model is successful.

How many dealers are you looking at in India?

Ankur: We are looking at 5,000 units in year one. Depending on that, we are not looking at all India penetration. We will be looking at certain markets to begin with, specifically North India, to keep the transportation costs minimal after the delivery of the car takes place. I think we would be fine with the limited dealerships.

The advantage our Bird Electric dealerships is that they will have the capability of looking at two segmentations – two-wheeler and four-wheeler – with margins on both products, under one roof.

Are you looking to design and develop your vehicles in-house in the long run?

Ankur: If you were to look at the vehicle (EV1) before and now, there’s a huge difference. We have worked on enhancements (front-end & new plastic parts), colours etc in-house. We would be looking at independent designers to work with us and the Haima teams.