Okinawa signs a JV that accelerates its pledge towards electric mobility


With the philosophy of ‘Made in India, Made for India’, Okinawa Autotech is the first company in the electric 2-wheeler segment to enter into a Joint Venture (JV) with the Italian company Tacita, to design and manufacture high-performance electric motorcycles and scooters that are innovative and unique in their characteristics.

In an interview, Jeetender Sharma, Founder and MD, Okinawa Autotech and Rupali Sharma, Co-Founder and Chairperson, Okinawa Autotech spoke about how the JV will work; the company’s future plans and much more.

Let’s begin with the latest Joint Venture you have signed with Tacita. What is its focus?

The technology that we will be bringing to this country is new. We want to take the product’s quality to the global level so that we leave our footprint on the world stage. Tacita is an Italian company that was founded in 2009 and our joint goal is to build perfect electric motorcycles – ones that give tough competition to traditional motorcycles, with the advantage of being driven by a completely zero emission electric vehicle. 

The main purpose of the new JV is for both companies to pursue the goal of lowering the use of fossil fuels as well as establishing themselves as top players in the world of electric 2-wheelers. As a result of years of manufacturing and selling electric 2-wheelers, Okinawa will provide the local development of the future product and its production line. Tacita will be involved in the designing and prototyping of motorcycles and scooters as well as manufacturing the powertrain – controller, motor, battery packs and BMS – a result of over 10 years of research and development as well as testing in extreme hot and cold conditions. This is what makes Tacita excel in producing state of the art high-performance products.

How will the joint venture work in India?

The JV will consist of two product lines – scooters and motorcycles – both meant for domestic as well as international markets. The range that comes out in 2023 will include a scooter and a high-end performance motorcycle.  The entire range will be equipped with the best connectivity systems in the market having Okinawa technology. The bikes will be sold through Okinawa’s existing 500 authorised dealers pan India and through the Okinawa futuristic experience centres – Galaxy.

The year 2022 and the first half of 2023 will see design, development, patenting and finally tests on the road. The design will be developed in Italy at the Tacita headquarters with Okinawa professional technicians and an Italian team that will develop the power train, battery packs and BMS. Road tests will be carried out both in India and in Italy in all-weather conditions. The goal for both companies is to offer extremely reliable, pleasant and usable products for maximum customer satisfaction. Leveraging Tacita’s capabilities, the bikes will go into production early next year at Okinawa’s second facility in Rajasthan.

What are your investment plans?

Okinawa has aggressive investment plans. The demand for electric 2-wheelers in India is burgeoning. The company will invest 1,500 crore over the next two years. This includes 1,000 crore in the JV with Tacita. Okinawa has a majority stake in the JV.

What are the next steps for Okinawa after the JV?

Our focus is to make Okinawa a global company. We want to develop vehicles that are futuristic; that address the issues of today and a product that is global. So, the next move is to come up with such a futuristic product.

For all this product development and design, our R&D centre will be located in Italy and Okinawa professional technicians,as well as an Italian team, will work together to develop the power train, battery packs and BMS. The manufacturing and production units will be based in India.

How do you connect with your customers and educate them about EVs?

Our focus is on customer education and timely services. We regularly hold customer education programmes across India via our dealers, through our ‘Mileage Ka Maharaja’ and Power Pack Check Up camps.

‘Mileage Ka Maharaja’ is accomplished by our dealers with the help of Okinawa’s service engineers at our authorised dealerships across India. This initiative contributes towards building awareness and creating a responsible environment for electric 2-wheelers. The company offers free vehicle health check-ups at the dealerships for customers who take part in the rallies that are conducted by the dealers. We have accomplished more than 100 rallies till date.

The Power Pack Check Up camps are about educating customers about the use of scooters, batteries and their maintenance. These camps have aided in promoting face-to-face engagement with over 1.5 lakh customers, reinforcing critical areas of battery maintenance and safety, and allowing customers to have their electric 2-wheelers checked and examined.

What experience do you offer to customers at your Galaxy stores?

These stores are futuristic experience centres. They exhibit Okinawa’s state of the art engineering and technology powered by innovation to give customers a real time experience. It’s like an art studio for EVs. Here, we don’t just sell EVs, we give customers a buying experience. Usually when you buy something like a vehicle, you want to experience the look and feel of it before making a decision. Here, we show customers the technology behind the EV and educate them, so that they develop confidence in the product. This helps them in the decision-making process.

How do you take care of after-sales services?

We have networked with more than 800 mechanics pan India, who provide our customers with service facilities. This year, we have a target of training more than 7,000 roadside mechanics, so that our customers never face a problem, no matter where they are riding our vehicles. With a widespread network of over 500 dealers across India, Okinawa caters not only to metro cities but goes beyond to reach Tier-2, Tier-3, as well as rural regions in the country.

We have our Roadside Assistance (RSA) facility. If your vehicle breaks down in the middle of the road, there is a helpline which you can call. Our mechanics will reach you as soon as possible and if the fault can be rectified there, they will do so, else they will take the vehicle to the workshop and put you in a taxi. The vehicle will be delivered to your home after it has been serviced.

During the pandemic, we provided a ‘service on wheels’ where, in case of any issues, our dealers reached customers’ homes and serviced their vehicles.

How is Okinawa building an ecosystem for EVs?

As a company, our strategy emphasizes the innovation of products to offer maximum localisation and high quality. Okinawa is here to create an ecosystem and not just sell scooters. This ecosystem comprises everything including the supply chain or other products that are sourced to make the electric 2-wheeler in India. Except for the battery’s LI-ion cells, everything else is made in India. In the last five years, we have developed all the components for EVs in India and we work with the suppliers to make those components as well.

Five years ago, nobody was manufacturing any of these parts in India. It was us who encouraged manufacturers, convincing them that EVs would be the future. Our strength is that we are ‘Made in India and Made for India’. We have successfully developed a complete supply chain in India by making customers and suppliers a part of our journey. This gives us confidence in our products and we aim to continue this in the future.

Vision for the Future

“Tacita’s mission is aligned with ours – towards creating a sustainable future. We envisage the collaboration to create a synergy effect that will accelerate our commitment to electric mobility. There is a steady and conscious shift in consumer preferences and we have witnessed a growing demand for premium and performance-based electric motorcycles in India. Tacita will help us in creating a marketplace that matches the demand for futuristic technology and products. Their advanced and futuristic technology will also further broaden and strengthen our existing product range,” says Jeetender Sharma, Founder and MD, Okinawa Autotech.

Disclaimer: This article has been produced on behalf of the brand by the HT Brand Studio team.

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