Auto parts billionaire Baba Kalyani enters India’s hotly contested electric vehicle race

Billionaire Baba Kalyani’s flagship Bharat Forge recently revealed plans to jump on the Indian electric vehicle (EV) train. The $ 500 million (revenue) company, which is best known for making auto parts that are exported around the world, said it is embarking on the production of electric two and three-wheelers through its associated company Tork Motors. The first model is expected. on the market in 2022

Tork Motors is positioned as India’s premier premium electric motorcycle company, having developed powertrains for two-wheelers since 2009. Bharat Forge first acquired a 45% stake in Tork Motors in 2018, which was subsequently increased to 49%. Tork Motors develops high performance electric motorcycles and electric powertrains for cargo and passenger three-wheelers.

Last week, Bharat Forge said Tork Motors had met the grant requirements of the government’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles Phase II (FAME-II) program, a program to boost purchases of electric vehicles with grants for them. buyers.

The Bharat Forge website features details on the Tork Motors T6X model, which is said to be still under development. Powered by lithium-ion batteries, Tork claims the T6X can reach a top speed of 100 km / h and travel 100 km on a single charge. It also comes with a fast charge feature that promises to charge up to 80% of the battery in an hour.

Bharat Forge will join an increasingly crowded field of competitors made up of startups like Ola Electric and Ather Energy alongside many well-established automotive companies, such as Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto, TVS Motor Company, Hero Electric, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, and Hyundai Motor India.

The pandemic took a heavy toll on Bharat Forge, and the company’s revenue fell 20% to 36.5 billion rupees ($ 492 million) in fiscal year 2021, but it started to show signs of recovery more recently. Last week, the Pune-based company exceeded analysts’ expectations for the first quarter by reporting net profit of Rs 1.67 billion on revenue of Rs 13.7 billion.

Bharat Forge said India’s auto industry remained under pressure last year. The production of passenger vehicles as well as medium and heavy commercial vehicles in the country fell by 47% and 24%, respectively, between fiscal years 2018 and 2021. In addition to automobiles, the company also produces components for defense, aerospace, energy, construction and mining, oil and gas, rail and marine industries.

“We are thirsty for growth, we have a strong balance sheet, we have a lot of liquidity on our balance sheet, we have a pretty solid performance going on,” Baba Kalyani told CNBC TV18 last week after the publication of the latest article in the company. earnings results.

He said they were looking for opportunities to develop relevant businesses for the future, adding that “we have made a lot of pearl necklace type investments in the technology space related to electric vehicles and mobility.”

Bharat Forge also owns a 35% stake in UK-based Tevva Motors, which develops powertrain solutions for commercial vehicles with rights to use its technologies in India. Another notable investment is the 50-50 Bharat Forge joint venture formed with Refu Electronik GmbH of Germany for the development, manufacture and sale of controllers and on-board components for hybrid and electric vehicles.


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