Electrifying Innovation: A Conversation with Dinesh Arjun, CEO of Raptee

Dinesh Arjun

In this interview, we engage with Dinesh Arjun, CEO and Co-founder of Raptee, as he dives into the dynamic realm of electric motorcycles. Raptee, an innovative EV startup, aims to revolutionize urban commuting with its state-of-the-art electric two-wheelers (e2W). Dinesh illuminates Raptee’s distinct design ethos, proprietary technologies, and forward-looking goals for advancing electric mobility in India. Come along as we delve into Raptee’s strategies for sustainability, innovation, and meeting customer needs in the Indian motorcycle sector.

Could you explain the functionality of your product or solution?

Our electric two-wheeler (e2W) stands out for its high-voltage drivetrain, offering superior performance compared  to traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts. This high-voltage system not only enhances performance but also allows us to leverage existing public charging infrastructure, particularly the CCS2 charging standard designed for electric four-wheelers  (e4W). This integration ensures a seamless and hassle-free experience for riders, enabling longer rides without the worry of running out of charge.

Could you describe the key design principles and distinguishing features that differentiate the Raptee EV motorcycle from both traditional gasoline-powered motorcycles and other electric motorcycles available in the market?

When designing an electric motorcycle, there’s a fundamental shift in the design process, particularly considering the powertrain. While the core essence of a motorcycle remains unchanged, the layout and packaging undergo significant alterations due to the inclusion of a large battery pack and motor, replacing the conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) configuration.

In the case of Raptee, we’ve embraced a design philosophy centered around visual minimalism. This principle  ensures that the motorcycle retains a clean and uncluttered appearance, with a focus on sleek surfaces that conceal the intricate mechanical components underneath. Our approach to design draws inspiration from automotive aesthetics, with an emphasis on smooth  panel transitions akin to those found in cars, bringing a fresh perspective to motorcycle design.

Throughout the design process, we adhere to the principle of “Most Advanced Yet Acceptable” (MAYA), striving  to create a futuristic yet practical design that resonates with customers. Our goal is to strike a balance between innovation and familiarity, ensuring that the Raptee EV motorcycle is both forward-thinking and accessible to riders. Ultimately, we believe that this combination of visual minimalism, innovative packaging, and adherence to  the MAYA principle will set Raptee apart from other motorcycles in the market, establishing it as a distinctive and compelling choice for riders seeking a powerful and environment friendly electric alternative.

Could you discuss a couple of the patented technologies in your motorcycles and their impact on user safety and experience? 

We have accumulated over 45 pieces of IPR so far across the stack. Everything that we have done so far at Raptee has had one goal- User experience. Even the patents that we’ve filed clearly highlight that and not just merely adding features. User experience also includes rider safety which translates into peace of mind and that’s a place we’ve put in considerable amount of effort. For  example, we’ve patented driver assistance systems that can work in heavy traffic conditions such as urban Indian roads helping avoid accidents. We’ve also patented battery assembly methods that prevent on road failures in the long run (10-15 year period)

As an EV startup, why do you think the EV market hasn’t taken off in the past 15+ years, even though we had EV models from 2005?

The slow growth of the EV market over the past 15 years can be chalked up to several factors. Existing EV owners have had some negative experiences, like a lack of places to charge their vehicles, few service centers available, lower resale values, safety concerns, and issues with battery life and quality. Additionally, there’s a common  perception that EVs are slower and less powerful than traditional vehicles. These factors have made many people hesitant to switch to electric cars.

Can you provide an overview of your manufacturing strategy and any plans for exporting your products? If so, which markets are you considering?

We’re gearing up to unveil our first product, a premium motorcycle, in the forthcoming quarter. This bike will directly compete with 250cc internal combustion engine (ICE) motorcycles and serve as an enticing upgrade option for those currently riding 150cc ICE motorcycles.

Our brand-new manufacturing facility in Chennai has a peak capacity of 100,000 units annually. While we’re  focusing on establishing our manufacturing capabilities and expanding our network initially, we do plan to explore export opportunities in a couple of years once we’ve stabilized production and expanded our presence in the domestic market.

How do you foresee India’s EV industry in the next 10 yrs?

In the next 10 years, I believe India’s electric vehicle (EV) industry will thrive. I’m really optimistic  about how quickly people will start using EVs in India, even more so than in Western countries. I think within less than 10 years, we’ll surpass them. EVs just make more sense here. They’re better for the environment, they’re cheaper to own in the long run,  and they fit well with how we travel in India.

Right now, EVs are catching on fast in the four-wheeler (e4W) market because the cars available are pretty  good. People like them. Two-wheeler (e2W) adoption has been pushed along through government subsidies, but as those subsidies go down, we’ll see more innovation and better bikes coming out. That’ll make people want to buy them even without the subsidies. Overall,  I think the EV market in India is going to keep growing. 

Could  you outline Raptee’s future vision and your strategies for sustaining innovation and delivering a smooth customer experience in the Indian motorcycle market?

Our vision for Raptee is to provide customers with a comprehensive experience that extends from our products  to every interaction point. We’re meticulously designing our consumer processes around the brand experience we aim to deliver. Automation will play a key role, empowering customers to handle tasks independently or seek assistance from our representatives seamlessly.

This approach ensures that Raptee customers enjoy a hassle-free and satisfying experience at every step.