In a world where electric car giants like Tesla and Apple dominate the headlines, a visionary woman from Coimbatore, India, has set her sights on a different frontier of electric mobility.
Meet Hemalatha Annamalai, a serial entrepreneur who is the Founder and CEO of Ampere Vehicles Pvt Ltd, a trailblazing company that's transforming the way rural India commutes.
Hemalatha Annamalai's journey in the electric vehicle industry began with a vision to provide affordable and eco-friendly transportation options for the masses.
Her company, Ampere Vehicles, manufactures a diverse range of electric vehicles, including cycles, scooters, and load carriers, with a special focus on serving rural and small-town markets.
The heart of her mission? Empowering farmers, shopkeepers, rural traders, and people in tier 2 and tier 3 towns. Her belief in sustainable and accessible transportation solutions led her to venture into creating low-cost electric vehicles right in Coimbatore.
Ampere Vehicles has become synonymous with electric mobility in rural India, addressing the transportation needs of those who have long been overlooked. Hemalatha's target customers are the unsung heroes of the countryside, including farmers and rural traders.
Notably, Ampere Vehicles has joined hands with the local government in Coimbatore to introduce electric load carriers for waste management. With 500 workers trained to use these eco-friendly vehicles, Coimbatore already boasts 200 electric garbage carriers, contributing to a cleaner and greener environment.
However, Hemalatha's mission extends beyond wealth accumulation; she aims to foster a new manufacturing sector and inspire more women to join this industry. Currently, one out of every four Ampere employees is a woman, emphasising her commitment to diversity and equality.
Ampere Vehicles offers a range of electric mobility solutions tailored to the needs of rural India. Models like Ampere V 60 for scooters, Angel for cycles, and Mitra for load carriers are making a difference in the lives of many.
The vehicles travel at a maximum speed of 16 miles per hour and can run for 25 miles on a full battery charge. The cost ranges from Rs.31,612.77 for an electric cycle to Rs.1,88,844.71 for a load carrier.
In a time when global concerns about emissions and climate change are at their peak, Hemalatha Annamalai is paving the way for India's electric vehicle manufacturing sector.
She founded Ampere in 2009 with her husband, Bala Pachyappa, giving up their high-paying jobs in Singapore for the journey of entrepreneurship. Bala now serves as the company's Chief Technology Officer.
Their journey began with a Japanese electric car that inspired them to develop electric bikes accessible to the common man. Over time, Ampere attracted significant investments, including support from India's corporate stalwarts like Ratan Tata and Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan.
Hemalatha Annamalai's pitch to Ratan Tata succinctly captured her vision, "In 2000, China sold 40,000 electric vehicles. In 2015, they are selling 32 million vehicles. Why not India?" This visionary perspective led to Ratan Tata's investment in April 2015.
Ampere Vehicles now employs 80 people and has rolled out 30,000 electric vehicles since its inception. While the company currently generates annual revenues of about $1.5 million, Hemalatha has her sights set on a $20 million target within the next three to four years.
As a serial entrepreneur who holds an engineering degree from GCT Coimbatore and an MBA from an Australian university, Hemalatha is committed to driving research and development. She has already applied for 16 patents, with three successfully registered.
Hemalatha Annamalai's story is an inspiring testament to the power of innovation, entrepreneurship, and a vision for creating an eco-friendly and accessible transportation ecosystem for rural India.
In a nation with increasing sensitivity to environmental concerns, her pioneering work signifies a significant step towards a cleaner, greener, and more accessible future for all.