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Okinawa Autotech Pvt Ltd — a 100% Indian electric vehicle startup was established in 2015. The EV startup with its facility situated in Rajasthan, over the years, has become a popular brand in the growing electric two-wheeler segment in the country.
Since 2015, the company has already introduced a number of both high and low-speed electric two-wheelers, catering to a wide range of customers. This includes products ranging from the lead-acid battery-powered Ridge 30 to the range-topping lithium-ion battery-powered i-Praise+.
Okinawa is working along the lines of the government's ‘Make-In-India' vision, offering 92% localised production. This is further set to increase in the coming months. The company back at the 2020 Auto Expo, showcased an electric maxi-scooter while an electric motorcycle is also said to be in the works.
Ahead of its new product launches, we got the opportunity to interact with Jeetender Sharma, Founder & Managing Director, Okinawa Autotech Pvt Ltd. and ask him a few questions, regarding the brand's future, upcoming products and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the Indian market, especially the EV segment.
With India now under ‘Unlock', how have sales been for Okinawa post-lockdown?
After lockdown got lifted, we retailed over 2000 units post lockdown. The numbers have made it very clear that the sale of automobiles has gone up.
Is there any visible shift towards electric vehicles in India post lockdown?
Due to pandemic people are shifting from shared mobility to personal vehicles. This has led to an increase in sales. Also, since people are more aware of EVs, they are opting for one. Indeed, EVs will cut a thick slice in post lockdown two-wheeler sales in India.
How have sales targets been affected by the pandemic what is the new target for FY 2020-21?
COVID-19 has prompt us to rethink about our targets. Right now we are focusing on expansion. We will share this figure after Q2.
Coming to the dealerships, how many dealerships does Okinawa currently have and are there any plans for expansion in the coming months?
Okinawa currently has over 350+ dealerships pan India. We are expanding aggressively and aim to reach 500 dealerships in India by the fiscal end.
How has dealership operations changed post lockdown? In terms of customer and staff safety, offering test rides and other operations?
Safety of people is our utmost priority. To make sure that all the safety measures are followed Okinawa issued an SOP to all the dealerships. Most of the dealerships are operating with 25 % staff. Also, they maintain complete sanitization. Even the products are sanitized at assembly and at dealerships when received.
With online sales platforms being the new-normal among various auto brands, how has the response been by customers for Okinawa?
We started taking vehicle bookings online to reduce contact. Certainly, since demand is going up, people are booking EVs sitting in the comfort of their abode. Since the launch of Okinawa online sales platform in May 2020, we have received over 500 number of bookings.
Okinawa showcased the Cruiser maxi-scooter at the 2020 Auto Expo, are there any plans of introducing the same anytime soon?
The Cruiser Maxi-scooter will be launched next year.
In terms of new products, what's next from Okinawa? Can we see an electric motorcycle anytime soon?
We will be launching our next product- electric bike this year in the festive season. It will be a 100 per cent localized scooter by Okinawa. Until now we have been offering a maximum localization of 92 per cent.
No other EV player in the segment offers more than this. With our e-bike launch in the coming months, we will reach the mark of 100 per cent localization. We hope this will inspire the industry players to go ‘Make-In-India'.
How are production operations for Okinawa? Any new investments? New facilities coming up to help ramp up production operations?
We resumed production activities in line with government rules and regulations. We have plans to establish a new facility in the coming year in Rajasthan. With the growing demand, we are aiming at increasing our production capacity.
What is the future for Okinawa, in terms of localised manufacturing? How much of it is currently localised? And will this % increase at the new facility?
We have 92% localization and with the new facility, we will achieve 100% localization.