Ayro, Karma Automotive’s arm ink strategic partnership for light-duty EVs

Texas-based Ayro and Karma Automotive’s Innovation and Customization Center (KICC) have formed a strategic manufacturing, engineering and design partnership. Ayro engineers purpose-built electric vehicles to enable sustainable fleets an engineer and manufacturer of light-duty, urban and short-haul electric vehicles.

The partnership will utilise KICC, Karma Engineering resources and the Karma Design Studio to provide expertise and contract manufacturing services for the next generation of Ayro’s light-duty vehicles. KICC will also provide strategic engineering and development services for electrified solutions within the fast-growing delivery and micro-distribution markets.

The companies say by combining Ayro’s end-user, market and engineering expertise with KICC’s manufacturing capabilities, development experience and global supply chain capabilities, the companies aim to be able to deliver over 20,000 light-duty trucks and electric delivery vehicles over the next three years, valued at more than $300 million (Rs 2,220 crore).

The alliance will initially serve customers in North America, but the supply chain capabilities and resources of the two companies can be leveraged to meet demand across global markets in the future. Dedicated inventory space and assembly lines have been planned for Ayro’s EVs within KICC’s ISO-certified, 550,000sqft factory in  Moreno Valley, CA. KICC’s vertically integrated development capabilities, including frame/chassis build, fabrication centre, body shop, robotic paint shop and powertrain integration, should allow the partnership to rapidly respond to customer and market demands for unique, task-oriented configurations and build-outs.

Rod Keller, CEO, Ayro: “Both teams will draw upon the diverse skill sets of both companies to provide customisable vehicles that address market-specific needs. Ayro is committed to delivering purpose-built EV solutions that reflect the real-world needs of users. Our partnership should allow us to rapidly expand on this promise to serve a larger and more diverse set of commercial fleets. Karma’s manufacturing base in southern California has the potential to put Ayro’s production and fulfilment operations near the top in the industry and should give us a strategic advantage in the multibillion-dollar purpose-built EV market.”

The partnership is intended to serve a wide range of industries including universities, hospitals, corporate campuses, airports, hotels, municipalities, restaurants and pharmacies. Ayro says these industries are looking to quickly adopt efficient and zero-carbon fleets to cut costs and meet sustainability targets. For instance, nearly 60 percent of U.S. city governments already have green vehicle purchasing policies in place, and delivery needs have increased significantly in order to meet consumer demand related to Covid. A 2018 market report valued the global food delivery market at $53 billion (Rs 392,253 crore), a projection that has since doubled to more than $104 billion (Rs 769,704 crore) between 2019-2023.

Greg Tarr, chief strategy officer, Karma Automotive: “We are very excited to partner with the Ayro leadership team. Since opening KICC in 2019, we have been offering Karma’s EV technology, platforms and engineering and design services to a diverse client roster outside of traditional automotive groups. Ayro has a large footprint in fleet and commercial vehicle applications and they are helping us to better understand that space as we expand into new commercial sectors that can benefit from our sustainable vehicle solutions.”

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