It all started at a conference on Electric Vehicles in Japan. Hemalatha Annamalai who holds an MBA from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia. She was content with her MNC job as a Product Manager in Wipro Systems until she realised that her real passion was always to be an entrepreneur. In her own words, she considers each new day in this field different from the yesterday and full of challenges, but for Hemalatha it has been a fruitful experience. At the conference in Japan, one of the speakers made a powerful statement, which came as a bolt from the blue to Hemalatha. The speaker said that the era of ‘Internal Combustion Engine’ is gone and affirmed that the e-vehicles are the next big thing in the market!
So, right after her successful stint of founding Uni Connect a leading HR Consulting firm in Singapore, she along with her husband P. Bala founded Ampere Vehicles Pvt. Ltd to mobilise the electric and eco-friendly vehicle solutions. In a lifetime of her long 15 years journey as an entrepreneur she has earned numerous awards and accolades, to name a few, In 2010 she won the Best Product Design’ for disabled by the State Commission for Differently Abled in Tamil Nadu. She has also received the ‘Best Eco-friendly Company’ award for contributing to the Environment by Lead India 2020, a national movement started by late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in 2012 and many more. In spite of having many noteworthy achievements Hemalatha lives a very modest life, she still dresses in the light blue shirt and dark blue pants, which is a company uniform, just like the rest of the employees.
With seed money of ? 50 Million, she started mobilising the Indian electric vehicle industry. Ampere Vehicles designs and manufactures high quality yet affordable Electric Vehicles. The company’s product range covers both B2C and B2B market. Company’s primary products, which are Electric Cycles and Electric Scooters, are in the B2C space. Whereas the B2B section sells e-scooters to companies which are into courier delivery.
Hemalatha’s company, has realised the areas of opportunities in the e-vehicles industry, She says, “In India, charger is one of the biggest problems, as the imported chargers are not suited to the Indian road condition and erratic power supply,” Ampere Vehicles contributes a staggering 20% of its workforce in R&D to make their products efficient and affordable.It’s the first e-vehicles company in India which makes their own chargers one is of 36V and other is of 48V.
The recent success of securing undisclosed funding from Ratan Tata himself has made her blissfully happy. She recounts the day when Ratan Tata finally replied to her inquiries and asked her to meet as the day when felt she was on cloud nine. This Coimbatore startup is turning many heads in the Electric Vehicles Industry. She recalls one the memorable incident when she met Ratan Tata on December 23 at Vivanta by Taj. Her appointment with Ratan Tata went from 10 mins to 45 mins in which he shared his experience and difficulties of launching Nano with Hemalatha and in the next meeting after this in March 2015, she closed an undisclosed amount deal of funding from Tata Sons. She states she will use the funds to scale up her operations and hire talent.
Apart then few components which she has to import from China, she procures everything from local markets of India, Ampere Vehicles Pvt. Ltd now has the capacity of producing 30,000 vehicles very year. She feels our Government initiatives for revolutionising electric vehicles industry by putting seven million e-vehicles and hybrid vehicles every year on the road by 2020 will make the e-vehicles market more disruptive. Ampere is currently looking to increase its operations from 4 states to 10 states and will soon launch Ampere Asva, a high speed category vehicle with the speed 45 Km/hour. China is light years ahead than us, with now China venturing into making heavy duty electric vehicles, we have a lot to catch up, but thanks to people like Hemalatha the possibility of us catching up with china is no more a distant dream, but a distant reality!