Bangalore: As part of the defence electrification program, the Indian Navy is, for the first time, looking to operate electric-boats reports TOI.

A Bengaluru-based EV platform start-up — Tresa Energy — has begun a 12-month pilot (prototype-stage) to build a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) called the “EV.7M RIB”. The lightweight, high-performance RIB, which can seat 18 people, will be useful for patrolling, interception, search and rescue, and transport by the Navy.

According to Tresa, the EV.7M RIB can do all of these with a higher stealth mode and cannot be detected by heat maps, as it does not generate heat or sound.

Nishant Kalbhor, founder-CEO and chief engineering architect of Tresa, told TOI: “Two years ago, we applied for the ministry of defence’s (MoD) open challenge — iDEX (Innovation for Defence Excellence) to build specific EV platforms. We won the challenge but there was no use-case at the time. Later, the DIO (defence innovation organization) gave a use-case to build the RIB, which pushed us to build boats.”

Although Tresa participated in the iDEX two years ago, the results were announced only in September 2021, due to Covid. After that, the firm signed a contract with DIO in February 2022 and hopes to do the initial prototype test by February 2023, and deliver it to the Navy by April 2023. After this, it will begin manufacturing for scale from the end of next year.

Tresa, a high-performance EV platform start-up building next-generation EV powertrains and platforms, is into research, design, and manufacture of high-precision components. Its high-energy dense EV powertrains can be customised exclusively for high-end cars, buses, trucks, aerial and marine vehicles. Kalbhor said: “We are building all the underlying core technology — such as motors, controllers, battery banks, charging networks — which can be built for automobiles, aircraft or boats by making tweaks depending on the requirement.”

The firm has received Rs 3 crore as grant from the DIO under MoD for building the prototype, which will be done based on requirements specified by the Navy. The 12-month pilot started last month and it will take Tresa another 11 months to deliver the first prototype. As a first step, it is making its systems marine compliant, which will take some time.