Mobile redux? China’s EV Giant Sunra plans to set up plant in India

Much like in mobile handsets, China -based Sunra, that has so far been content exporting batteries and ebike kits to India, has seen enough. It now plans to enter the country directly. Following the route established successfully by the other massive category where Chinese brands rule today. Mobile phones.

China’s leading electric vehicle (EV) company, Sunra, sees India soon emerging as the world’s biggest market for electric bikes and plans to set up a factory in the country. The company, which claims to supply 20% of the ebikes in the country currently, has lofty plans of 80% market share in E Bikes in India.

The firm, which exports e-bikes and its spares to some 70 countries, besides India, says it is upbeat about investing in the country, especially in light of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies for the EV sector and invitation to companies to manufacture e-vehicles in India.

Currently the firm is closely studying India’s policies and Legalities that could help the EV maker strategize its move in the near future especially in Karnataka. “We are studying the policies and we want to set up a factory in India, most likely in Bangalore (Bengaluru)”, Sunra’s General Manager Victor Lu told Media at the company’s headquarters in Wuxi, a fast-developing city in China’s eastern province Jiangsu.

According to McKinsey, China has emerged as the leader in both the supply of — and demand for — EVs. In 2017, about 777,000 EVs were sold in China as compared to 507,000 in 2016. However, other reports also suggest the breakneck pace and competitive market china has in its EV segment. China which has become a home to hundreds of start-ups betting on the electric car revolution, but only 1 percent will be able to survive in an industry that requires significant investment in technology, according to NIO Capital. This allows, India, to take its place as the next best contender. India currently doesn’t have a rigid legal framework  or policy for its Electric Vehicle (EV) Sector. Even state subsidies, that bulwark of the EV sector so far, have not been confirmed, with views diverging from subsidies between private to public transport, to now, even a focus on EV charging infrastructure. But with the indisputable potential and size of the market, no auto maker, 4 wheeler or two wheeler can ignore it.

Victor, however, is more than optimistic about India and believes that it will outpace China in four or five years in terms of demand for e-vehicles.

We see India as the world’s biggest market for e-bikes and we want to tap into it, Victor said. There is a so much pollution in Delhi and other Indian cities. People would switch to e-bikes very soon.

India is the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter after China and tops the list of countries having the biggest number of two-wheelers that run on petrol. And many of the world’s most polluted cities are in India.

For India, EV’s will become only more urgent if the oil price remains sticky at current levels.

Sunra, presently has a presence in India through its export of batteries, other spares parts and e-bikes to the country. Victor added that they already have 16 small-time partners in Delhi, and they are sending their engineers to these companies to assemble e-bikes. Now, Sunra wants to go big, he said, adding that India already has two Sunra bike models on its roads. He also informed that there are six models that are currently under ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) test.


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