Gayam Motor Works (GMW), an Indian startup hosted by EBN Member T-Hub, designs, manufactures, and sells electric vehicles. GMW has the history of exporting three and four-wheeled auto rickshaws to more than fifteen countries, and it was the first company to develop a battery swapping system for Electric vehicles (EVs) in India. GMW designs and manufactures advanced electric SmartAutos (Tuk-tuks), such as Urban ET – Passenger SmartAuto (Li-Ion) and electric bikes.
Every year, more than 5.5 million people die prematurely due to air pollution with over half of those deaths occurring in China and India, two of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Air pollution caused by gas exhaust from gasoline vehicles has become a serious problem causing many to cover their faces with masks while riding on the street. Since gasoline vehicles have been one of the major causes of the air pollution, the global trend of switching to alternative, eco-friendly means of transportation has also stricken India, and GMW was one of the first players in the market.
GMW was founded in 2010 by Gayam brothers - Raja and Rahul. Coming from a research background in materials for supercapacitors and batteries for EVs, Rahul worked in in the U.S in the clean energy space, with a desire to tap into growing EV market.
Meanwhile, his older brother Raja Gayam set up GMW in Hyderabad, but as a traditional auto rickshaw (tuk-tuk) manufacturing and export business. At the time, GMW successfully exported more than 5000 vehicles to 15+ countries.
Although GMW has been successful, it hasn’t tackled the burning issue of air pollution in India. The brothers felt they could combine their expertise in clean energy and automobile sourcing and manufacturing, redesigning GMW’s vehicles and making them eco-friendly, whilst tackling environmental challenges India is facing.
Raya Gaham and Rahul Gaham, the co-founders of GMW
So, they embarked on a challenging, but rewarding journey - they spent years of intense R&D work to create vehicles that can run on lithium-ion batteries, a quadra-drive system, a smart battery management system, and an integrated cooling system.
Finally, between late 2014 and early 2015, their first prototype of a petrol car converted into a battery-powered vehicle was ready.
After testing it in mid-2015, the duo launched their first electric vehicle built from scratch with lithium-ion batteries – the Smart Auto.
Towards the end of 2016, GMW also developed electric bikes called LIMITLESS E-Bikes.
GMW’s products have been a great success. The running cost can be reduced from Rs.1.5/km to Rs.0.07/km by replacing a motorbike with GMW’s e-bike and from Rs.3.5/km to Rs.0.50/km by replacing a diesel auto rickshaw (tuk-tuk) with GMW’s Smart Auto (tuk-tuks).
T-Hub catalysing GMW’s international success
Since both Raja and Rahul are graduates of IIIT Hyderabad, the university T-HUB is partnering with, they knew about T-Hub since its inception as it has been located at IIIT’s university campus’ premises.
T-Hub has been helping them in several aspects such as market access, partnerships, industry connects, etc.
As soon as they developed first prototype of the e-bike, T-Hub put them in touch with UBER’s Asia Pacific Head, Eric Alexander. After showing him GMW’s e-bikes, he ordered the e-bikes for UBEREats deliveries in Singapore, HongKong and USA.
T-Hub also introduced GMW to Intel & DST – Innovate for Digital India Challenge 2.0, where they were among the final top 10 selected start-ups from India. As part of the program, they were able to access Intel’s hardware, and integrate IoT technology into their battery system.
GMW has sold their electric vehicles to several national and international clients such as Terra Motors in Japan, UBEREats in Singapore, HK and USA, BigBasket in India etc. GMW plans to set up India’s first fully automated battery swapping station to reduce refuelling time from hours to less than a minute.
Moreover, through T-Hub, GMW was introduced to the Dutch Cycling Embassy opening conversation around implementing e-bike sharing systems worldwide.
T-Hub, EBN member that joined the network this year, is India’s fastest growing startup engine and the country's largest startup incubator. It is a unique public/private partnership between the government of Telangana, 3 of India’s premier academic institutes (IIIT-H, ISB & NALSAR) and key private sector leaders. It stands at the intersection of the start-up, academic, corporate, research and government sectors. T-Hub’s mission is to catalyse the creation of one of the tightest and most vibrant entrepreneur communities in the world in order to encourage and fuel more start-up success stories in India.
Raja and Rahul: “T-Hub is undoubtedly the most famous and the most successful incubator in India. One-stop-shop to find right community, mentors, investors and partners.”
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