Hemalatha Annamalai: Revolutionising Electric Mobility for Rural India
In a landscape where industry giants like Tesla and Apple dominate electric vehicle discussions, Hemalatha Annamalai, a visionary entrepreneur from Coimbatore, India, is directing her focus to an unconventional realm of electric mobility. As the Founder and CEO of Ampere Vehicles Pvt Ltd, she spearheads a groundbreaking company that is reshaping the commuting landscape in rural India.
Empowering Rural India through Sustainable Mobility
Hemalatha Annamalai’s foray into the electric vehicle sector originated from a vision to offer affordable and environmentally friendly transportation solutions for the masses. Her enterprise, Ampere Vehicles, manufactures a diverse array of electric vehicles, encompassing cycles, scooters, and load carriers, with a special emphasis on catering to rural and small-town markets.
The crux of her mission lies in empowering farmers, shopkeepers, rural traders, and residents of tier 2 and tier 3 towns. Her commitment to sustainable and accessible transportation prompted her to delve into the creation of cost-effective electric vehicles right in Coimbatore.
Leading the Charge in Rural Transportation
Ampere Vehicles has become synonymous with electric mobility in rural India, addressing the transportation needs of those often overlooked. Hemalatha’s target demographic includes the unsung heroes of the countryside, such as farmers and rural traders.
Significantly, Ampere Vehicles has collaborated with the local government in Coimbatore to introduce electric load carriers tailored for waste management. With 500 workers trained to operate these eco-friendly vehicles, Coimbatore currently boasts 200 electric garbage carriers, contributing to a cleaner and greener environment.
Yet, Hemalatha’s vision extends beyond financial gains; she aspires to cultivate a new manufacturing sector and inspire more women to enter this industry. Presently, one in every four Ampere employees is a woman, underscoring her dedication to diversity and equality.
The Ampere Range: Accessible and Eco-Conscious
Ampere Vehicles offers a spectrum of electric mobility solutions customised for the requirements of rural India. Models like Ampere V 60 for scooters, Angel for cycles, and Mitra for load carriers are making a tangible impact on many lives. These vehicles boast a maximum speed of 16 miles per hour and can cover 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.
A Visionary Approach to Electric Mobility
At a juncture when global concerns about emissions and climate change are paramount, Hemalatha Annamalai is steering India’s electric vehicle manufacturing sector into the future. She co-founded Ampere in 2009 alongside her husband, Bala Pachyappa, relinquishing their lucrative positions in Singapore for the entrepreneurial journey. Bala now serves as the company’s Chief Technology Officer.
Their odyssey commenced with inspiration drawn from a Japanese electric car, motivating them to develop electric bikes accessible to the common man. Over time, Ampere garnered substantial investments, including support from prominent figures like Ratan Tata and Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan.
Hemalatha Annamalai’s pitch to Ratan Tata succinctly encapsulated 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.
A Promising Future for Ampere Vehicles
Ampere Vehicles currently employs 80 individuals and has deployed 30,000 electric vehicles since its inception. While the company presently generates annual revenues of approximately $1.5 million, Hemalatha has set her sights on a $20 million target within the next three to four years.
As a serial entrepreneur holding an engineering degree from GCT Coimbatore and an MBA from an Australian university, Hemalatha is steadfast in propelling research and development. She has already filed applications for 16 patents, with three successfully registered.
Hemalatha Annamalai’s narrative stands as an inspirational testament to the potency of innovation, entrepreneurship, and a vision for establishing an eco-friendly and accessible transportation ecosystem for rural India. In a nation increasingly attuned to environmental concerns, her pioneering work signifies a substantial stride toward a cleaner, greener, and more accessible future for all.