An American electric car maker explains why it took a different route than Elon Musk’s Tesla, Tata Motors or Mahindra

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An American electric car maker explains why it took a different route than Elon Musk’s Tesla, Tata Motors or Mahindra
Triton
  • In an exclusive interview with Business Insider, Triton CEO, Himanshu Patel revealed that the company is looking to invest around $650 million to $1 billion in setting up a manufacturing facility in India.
  • Patel believes that the Triton N4 model will differ from what the current carmakers have in India.
  • He further explained that the solar panel in their car could generate up to 1.3 kilowatts per hour, which will offset mileage losses. “By just doing this, we’re saving about close to 30% of the battery for being used during traffic times,” he added.
  • Check out the latest news and updates on Business Insider.
A US-based carmaker Triton is gearing up to enter India with its electric sedan N4, the same year as Elon Musk, and the company’s founder and CEO, Himanshu Patel, got candid in an exclusive interview with Business Insider.

“We’ve really talked through every component, like from the grid infrastructure to the conditions of the roads of India. We’re building the car based on every component of India’s infrastructure,” said Patel, who believes that the solar panel atop Triton’s cars give it the edge over its potential competitors in India.

An American electric car maker explains why it took a different route than Elon Musk’s Tesla, Tata Motors or Mahindra
Himanshu Patel, Founder and CEOTriton

The reason for Triton’s entry at this time is pretty evident. From, Elon Musk-led Tesla registering its Indian subsidiary in Bengaluru to Tatas planning a slew of EV launches in 2021 — everyone wants a bite of India’s booming EV industry. But Patel is confident because, according to him, “the Indian carmakers are just trying to make a very cheap price point to enter the market just like Tatas or any other manufacturers of India. I think that’s the wrong approach in my opinion.”
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“In a majority of the cities people are sitting on an average four to five hours a day in traffic and you have extremely high heat during those times, what happens to your power consumption of your battery? It does chew it up because AC uses quite a bit of power. And, we use solar panel technology on the roof of our car to address that issue. I just think that you know a lot of those guys are not considering those things,” Patel said.

Triton is looking to invest around $650 million to $1 billion in setting up a manufacturing facility in India. The company is also in final stage discussion with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) to assist it in the manufacturing for its battery, as well as our electronic components. The company is also in talks with different state authorities to set up its facility in India. However, the CEO declined to name those. The company is looking to start manufacturing its first vehicle in 3-6 months from now and aims to roll out the first car by the end of this year.

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The promise of long battery life

He further explained that the solar panel in their car could generate up to 1.3 kilowatts per hour, reducing the AC from 3 KW draw to 1.3 KW draw. “This offsets the losses of mileage or kilometers in India. By just doing this, we’re saving about close to 30% of the battery for being used during traffic times.”

The use of solar panels is not new to the EV industry, but it would be new for India. The Korean carmaker Hyundai has also used similar solar roofs in its Sonata Hybrid, which is expected to launch in February this year in India. The Sonata Hybrid is already available in the US and other global markets.

An American electric car maker explains why it took a different route than Elon Musk’s Tesla, Tata Motors or Mahindra
Triton

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But would solar panels be enough to feed the battery alone?

Although the solar panel will reduce the battery’s load, it wouldn’t be enough for the car to operate on the solar panels alone. And, that is the pain point for the EV makers. The idea of going green looks promising, but the Indian EV infrastructure continues to be a big challenge for them. As of the latest data, India had 650 places where people could charge the EVs.

However, Patel revealed that they are in talks with many dealerships in major cities and other cities to set up their dealer facility to carry their EV fast chargers.

“And basically you know what our goal is to not only have multiple dealership outlets, but also, have satellite dealership outlets. So the satellite dealership outlets means that you have less infrastructure, but you have charging stations. We feel this is gonna be a very good starting point to get people to be able to get fast charging from ourselves as far as our building goals,” he said. Meanwhile, the company is also tying up with other charging companies in India cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Gujarat, Hyderabad and Karnataka.
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