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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

Alumni Connect: Building India’s first e-motorbike to decrease global temps by one degree

cities Updated: Nov 21, 2019 16:14 IST
Dheeraj Bengrut
Dheeraj Bengrut

PUNE Kapil Shelke, founder and CEO, Tork Motors, began his drive with electric vehicles way before the current buzz, in 2009. Tork’s clear objective is to manufacture high-performance electric vehicles in India.

“My tryst with EVs started during my college days, where I led a team that built an electric motorcycle for racing, that contested against the best in the world. Making India’s first electric motorcycle is my goal. In 2016, we (me and my team) showcased the T6X, which was very unique to its genre. Soon we will be delivering our product to the Indian market,” says Shelke. 

A bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from the DY Patil College of Engineering, Pune, Shelke dives into the past to re-charge his future.

The education resume?

St Andrew’s High School, Pune, where I gathered the basics of Physics, and Science, of how things work. I have always been keen on making remote controlled cars and used to buy kits to make them. 

This passion for cars and motorcycles, made me join DY Patil College of Engineering where I learned how to make electric motorcycles. I wanted to be a part of the racing team where people had to make high-performance, lightweight motorcycles. I completed my postgrads in carbon fibre composites from Oxford and Cherwell Valley College, UK. 

Class topper or back-bencher, or both?

Brilliance is actually not defined by only knowledge. I categorise brilliant people in different ways. Engineers are problem solvers and hence, if one solves any problem in day-to-day life that betters mankind, that person is a true engineer. 

How does the EV (electric vehicle) story connect back to school, college?

I have always been a car and motorcycle enthusiast, right from my childhood. I used to break open my remote-controlled cars and motorcycles, and try to understand how they work. In addition to this, I use to purchase electronics kits that would help me fix my broken cars. During my last year of engineering, I led a team that built an electric motorcycle and raced it the Isle of Man TT track against other electrics. We were the only team from Asia and secured third place on the podium. That day I decided to build electric motorcycles; ones that out- perform any IC engine-powered bike. 

Peaks and troughs?

There are no lows. It’s all about solving challenges. In a year, there are a few days where we cannot solve a challenge in a day. The solution is just a day or two away and, the day it’s solved, the highs are really high. 

What does the future hold? 

My goal is to decrease the temperature of the world by one degree. This can be achieved if we reduce global warming and reduce our dependencies on using fossil fuels for commuting and transportation. This idea and core passion for motorcycles, made me step into building India’s first electric motorcycle. Now I want to see India as the No 1 country for consumption and running of EVs.