The EV maker OSM wants to launch India's first Hydrogen fuel cell cargo 3-wheeler
By siliconindia | Friday, 26 May 2023, 12:32 IST
Omega Seiki Mobility (OSM), the electric three-wheeler maker, is the latest to bet on Hydrogen technology. Unlike the trucks, the three-wheeler will be powered by Hydrogen fuel cell technology. The project, in the works for around 2 years, is currently undergoing development and testing in an engineering firm in France. “It's testing right now. In three months or so, we will have it showcased in France. After another three months, in December, we'll bring it to India,” Omega Seiki Mobility’s Founder-Chairman Uday Narang told . Around USD 5 million is earmarked for investment during the fiesta phase of the project.
If things go as planned, the Hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will be launched by “mid ‘24”. The cargo 3-wheeler will claim a 400 km driving range in one fill. That’s almost 4 times the driving range of a regular battery-electric OSM cargo carrier. The flip-side is that cost would be significantly more than the BEV three-wheeler. It’s estimated that the price could almost double, but Narang pegs it to be around 50% more. An OSM battery-electric 3-wheeler comes for around INR 4 lakh.
Narang is betting on lower running costs due to longer driving range, and significantly less recharging time to work in favour of the 3-wheeler. “You can run it 24X7, and you may not need to charge it for 2-3 days. And the charging time is just five minutes,” he said.
The Hydrogen fuel cell vehicle was initially developed for the EU. The Indian Government’s push for Hydrogen influenced OSM to tweak its strategy. “We did this because we think that there is a room for hydrogen in the future of this country,” Narang said. OSM has joined hands with IIT Ropar (in Punjab) to localise the vehicle project and bring down costs. OSM sees more benefits in the Hydrogen fuel cell technology over the H2ICE option. Better efficiency, ability to offer regenerative braking, and lower operational and maintenance costs are cited by OSM as the advantages.
Even as industry players prepare vehicles with Hydrogen technology, the availability of the energy carrier or fuel for automotive application is still not in place. The Central Government has announced a budget of INR 19,700 crore for the National Green Hydrogen Mission, A few ‘Hydrogen Valleys’ are expected to come in different States. OSM is in talks to source Hydrogen from some of these places. “We are working in multiple places. And we will take the offtake,” Narang said.
The Hydrogen vehicle project of OSM will be more for technology demonstration than a volume bagger for a few years. The five year old startup is eyeing profits by the end of 2024-25, and the projection is based on some aggressive growth targets for its core BEV business. OSM, which claims a 10% share and a third position in the L5 category of electric 3-wheelers with sales of 5,000 units last year, aims to clock annual sales of 40,000 units by March 2025.
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