Leoparda Electric Offers Battery Replacement for Two Wheelers in Latin America • CableFree TV

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

Leoparda Electric, a startup from Sao Paulo, wants to become gogoro Latin America. In other words, the company is going to create a network of battery replacement stations that should help the spread of electric two-wheelers in the region.

Although Latin America is the second largest two-wheeler market after Southeast Asia, electrification in the region has been slow to develop. This is partly due to politics, or the lack of it. While several countries in Latin America have set some rough targets for zero-emission sales or phasing out internal combustion engines, insufficient tax incentives, lax regulatory policies, lack of public awareness and inadequate charging infrastructure are deterring the region from adopting electric vehicles in any form. , according to a report from International Clean Transport Council.

Jack Sarvari, co-founder and CEO of Leoparda Electric, told TechCrunch that he believes couriers could be the key to bringing electric two-wheelers to the region. Prior to founding Leoparda, Sarwari worked with former Tesla employee Billy Blaustein for six years at Rappi, the Latin American version of DoorDash, where he led operations, products, and fast delivery. Sarwari says that in Latin America, the use of motorcycles distorts advertising, as commuters prefer to use public transport or private cars.

“They drive about 100 kilometers a day, which means they spend a lot on gasoline, which means they have a lot to save by switching to electricity,” Sarwari told TechCrunch. “Electricity is 10 times cheaper than gas. The problem is that there is no infrastructure to support this. So if we build the infrastructure, we will give them access to these huge potential savings.”

When it comes to introducing electrification, there is always a chicken-and-egg problem. Are we building the infrastructure first, or are we going to put people in cars first? Gogoro figured it out years ago and said “both”, preferring build your own electric scooter with a replaceable battery that it will sell to passengers and also use for scooter sharing schemeand build battery replacement stations all at once.

While Leoparda’s core business is battery replacements, the startup aims to do something similar by putting together a subscription package that includes an electric motorcycle or seated scooter, unlimited battery replacements, maintenance and insurance. Leoparda imports two-wheelers from four different Chinese OEMs, meaning they will initially run on four different batteries, rather than just one like Gogoro. (swobbya Berlin competitor doing something similar in Europe with smaller micromobile vehicles.)

All of this should cost couriers in São Paulo, Brazil, where Leoparda will be launched for the first time, about $200 a month. Sarwari says that’s about 50% of what couriers typically spend on vehicle finance, gas, insurance and other expenses.

To make the transition to electricity not only cost-effective, but also convenient, Leoparda will first open battery replacement points in geographically concentrated areas where most courier services operate. Over time, the service will expand zone by zone. But first, Leoparda needs to figure out how to let users change their batteries.

When Leoparda launches in December, the startup will rent out a number of small spaces for basic battery charging operations, such as a few racks with extension cords and an employee who swaps depleted batteries for new ones. But as the company scales, it will need to consolidate operations. This is where Leoparda’s recent rise comes in.

The company just completed an $8.5 million seed round led by Monashees and Construct Capital, which it will use to start developing charging cabinet hardware.

“The cost of keeping a person with a bunch of shelves behind him charging batteries in a room where you pay rent, even in Latin America, for example, yes, we can do five or 10 places, but if we want to go beyond that it will soon become impossible ‘, Sarwari said.

Over time and as the company grows, Leoparda would like to develop its own replacement battery, optimized for longer life, that would better fit Leoparda’s business model by reducing costs.

“There is untapped potential in Latin America for all sorts of people who want to work on these kinds of projects, who want to work on something sustainable,” Sarwari said. “Being first, you have a great opportunity to capture all of this talent across the region.”

Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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