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Auto Zone: BACK IN NEW AVATAR

The iconic Luna is set to make an entry in the electric segment

Auto Zone: BACK IN NEW AVATAR


Having ruled the Indian roads and hearts for nearly three decades, the iconic Luna is back in a completely new electric avatar, E-Luna. In a conversation with Vijay C Roy, the founder and CEO of Kinetic Green, Sulajja Firodia Motwani, says E-Luna has the capability to create a substantial influence on the electric two-wheeler market, reminiscent of the impact its predecessor had on the moped industry in the 1990s. Excerpts from the interview:

Sulajja Firodia Motwani, founder & CEO of Kinetic Green

Tell us about your iconic brand. How many units were sold before production was stopped in 2000?

It was my father and chairman of Kinetic Group, Arun Firodia, who embarked on the ambitious journey of manufacturing Luna in 1970, a two-wheeler that would go on to achieve an iconic status. With a vision for an indigenously-crafted vehicle, designed for the ‘common man’, he established key parameters — no foreign components, no overseas manufacturing equipment, designed specifically for India, a weight limit under 50 kg and affordability, with a target price of Rs 2,000 upon its initial launch. Despite the challenging criteria, he successfully introduced Luna into the homes and hearts of thousands of Indians. Luna remains a milestone in Indian automotive history — providing efficient, affordable and accessible transportation, with Kinetic selling a remarkable 50 lakh units during its lifetime. At its peak, Luna achieved unprecedented success, with the company selling about 2,000 units daily and securing an impressive 95 per cent market share in the moped category.

So, why did Kinetic stop the production?

Luna ruled the Indian roads for 20 to 30 years and sold close to 50 lakh units. It was also exported to many countries, including the US. Later, as emission standards became more stringent and required more expensive and heavier four-stroke engines, the cost and weight of Luna increased. Thus, the core promise of simplicity and affordability got impacted.

Did you consider selling the brand name after its production was discontinued? If not, why?

We are pleased that we can bring back this legendary brand as E-Luna. For me, it’s my tribute to my father.

How did the idea to re-introduce Luna come about?

My father envisioned the creation of a new category with ‘E-Luna’, designed to meet the needs of a modern and progressive India. This stylish, multi-utility electric two-wheeler will play a crucial role in advancing the cause of electric mobility among the masses, with a focus on non-metro cities. Tailored to meet the transportation needs of users in these areas, it offers sustainable and efficient solutions for urban and rural commuting in India. In non-metro cities, where the demand for convenient mobility solutions has been rising, E-Luna stands out as a versatile and practical choice.

Drawing inspiration from the highly popular Luna, known for its affordability and practicality, E-Luna aims to capture the same spirit while offering the benefits of electric mobility. The company believes that electric mobility is transitioning from big cities to small towns, making E-Luna’s unique design and features well-suited for this market.

What are the defining features of E-Luna? How many units are you targeting to sell in 2024-25?

E-Luna is a high-speed electric two-wheeler that is 100 per cent designed, engineered and ‘Made in India’ with a vision that masses, and not just classes, can participate in the EV revolution and benefit from the advantages of e-mobility.

With a payload capacity of 150 kg, it is suitable for various business applications. E-Luna boasts of an array of features, including an advanced 2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack providing a 110-km range on a single charge. Offering flexibility, variants with 1.7 kWh, 2 kWh, and subsequently, a 3 kWh battery pack with a 150 km per charge range cater to diverse customer preferences.

Propelled by an advanced BLDC mid-mount motor with a peak capacity of 2.2 kW, E-Luna achieves a top speed of 50 km/h. Additional notable features encompass a combi-braking system, telescopic front suspension, a larger 16” wheel size for stability, a USB charging port, three riding modes for optimising range, a detachable rear seat for flexibility, and a side stand sensor for enhanced safety.

We are aiming to achieve sales figures of 1,00,000 units in the coming fiscal year. Our new plant at Supa near Pune in Maharashtra will have a capacity to manufacture 10 lakh electric two and three-wheelers a year.

Which unique aspect is likely to drive the sales?

In the current automobile market, electric vehicles (EVs) have achieved a modest 5 to 6 per cent penetration, mainly due to the prohibitively high costs associated with most available options. E-Luna enters the scene with an introductory ex-showroom price starting at Rs 69,990, aiming to overcome the affordability barrier. More than just a means of transportation, it positions itself as a holistic solution tailored for the needs of the street-smart, aspiring individuals, often underserved by the automotive industry. E-Luna targets providing personal mobility to 50 per cent of Indians, amounting to 75 crore people, who currently lack a two-wheeler.

With the present total cost of owning a petrol-based two-wheeler reaching Rs 6,000-Rs 7,000 per month, including an EMI of Rs 2,500-Rs 3,000 and petrol expenses of Rs 3,000-Rs 4,000, E-Luna’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is anticipated to fall below Rs 2,500 a month. This projection comprises an EMI of around Rs 2,000 and a charging cost of merely Rs 300 per month, presenting E-Luna as an affordable option. That’s where it makes sense to bring in the E-Luna — ‘Chal Meri Luna, Ab Petrol ke Bina!’

We expect a large chunk of sales from personal mobility in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities as well as rural areas. A significant volume would be contributed by the new emerging gig economy in big cities. E-Luna is ideally designed for e-commerce and other delivery applications.

There are already established players in the segment. How do you see the competition around you?

E-Luna is not a product, it’s a platform that we’ve designed. It’s a very modular kind of concept. We feel we can build not one but multiple variants on this platform. You can think about it as an electric multi-utility vehicle.

Piyush Pandey has been hired for the marketing campaign. He was also behind the popular campaign ‘Chal Meri Luna’…

Let’s recall the memorable ‘Chal Meri Luna’ ad campaign, which came to life due to the creative brilliance of Piyush Pandey at Ogilvy and Mather. Beyond its charming colloquial appeal, the campaign encapsulated the ethos of an aspiring India at that time. Kinetic Green is all set to recreate this magic in collaboration with Pandey and his agency, 82.5 Communications, for a new E-Luna campaign. This endeavour aims to seamlessly blend nostalgia with relevance for the current generation.


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