Bharat Forge-backed Tork Motors plans to start delivering its first electric motorcycle to customers from April, becoming one of the few companies selling motorcycles in a market dominated by electric scooters.At a time when electric two-wheeler makers are in a rush to get their products to the market, Tork Motors’ first product will go on sale six years after it was first showcased in 2016.The delay primarily arose from the fact that the company decided to build all the major components of the motorcycle in-house, which it realised was much more difficult than anticipated, Tork Motors CEO Kapil Shelke told ET in an interview. Issues such as delays in raising funds and the Covid-19 pandemic made matters worse, he said.“We are not a company which brings everything (from outside). We build everything – the motor, battery pack, frame – everything is built at Tork. So that actually took us a little more time than expected,” said Shelke.Several electric two-wheeler makers have acquired technology from outside, such as Ola Electric or Bounce, to cut down the time to market. Automotive companies usually source parts from external vendors.What also helped Tork Motors’ cause was the backing of a large manufacturer such as Bharat Forge, which owns a 49% stake in the EV manufacturer.“They have been the backbone of Tork,” said Shelke.“Whenever we have interacted with Baba Kalyani, the first question he asked was, ‘How much testing have you done?’” he said about the Bharat Forge chairman. “They (Baba and his son Amit Kalyani) understand what we are building and that it takes time.”The company is now looking to ramp up production to offer test rides in the six cities it is beginning its operations with – Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. It has a manufacturing capacity to make about 500 units a month at its pilot plant and about 4,000 units a month at its new plant at Chakan near Pune.
Tork Motors has invested Rs 50 crore so far in research and development, and product development. The company will be raising additional capital to fund its next phase of expansion in the coming year. It plans to start operations in 100 cities in its second phase.