Naman Chopra – Once An Alumnus of Tesla, He is Now Changing How India Looks at Futuristc Automobiles
Meet Naman Chopra, the Director and CEO of Rexnamo Automotive, who is a young achiever on a mission to change the way how India looks at futuristic automobiles. Naman, an engineering graduate from Purdue University, USA, once used to work at Tesla Motors, alongside the world-famous technocrat Elon Musk. The young entrepreneur has now started his own ‘innovation center’ in Ghaziabad. Armed with around 15 engineers in his team, Naman seeks to design completely customised vehicles. Ranging from plans to commercially launch India’s fastest electric motorbike, to converting old diesel cars into electric ones, to launching a version of a futuristic flying car – he has it all in the pipeline – and it seems only a matter of time before India takes a fresh re-think towards automobiles of the future.
How It All Began
Right from the tender age of five, Naman was always captivated by product designs. He specifically took a deep interest in cars and by the age of 12, he already got the permission from his father to build a complete sports car! An enthusiastic Naman recalls, “I used to visit Kashmiri Gate, Jama Masjid and Mayapuri in Delhi for procuring car parts and I build this sports car within two years”. So when his classmates were busy learning history lessons or tackling algebra sums, this 14 year kid was already zapping forward to chase his dreams. Egged on by his genius, his father soon got him a Daewoo Cielo car – only to be converted into an extended wheelbase limousine within the next two years! Naman fondly gives credit to a Discovery Channel television show named ‘Junkyard Wars’ where young rival teams were given the task of building machines within a day, using only materials from a scrapyard. Back then, the show had fanned the inspiration for this wide-eyed teenager to great limits.
Naman, during his Purdue University days!
Then Came The Opportunities To Change Gear
Naman always had this innovative streak in him. He admits, “I try to think of creative ways to solve problems, ranging from traffic congestion to garbage disposal. I like to keep myself informed about what is the best way to go about doing it.” His inquisitive bent of mind got him admitted in Electrical & Computer Engineering course at Purdue University, USA. After completing college he was immediately placed at Tesla in the Vehicle Electrics division, where he worked on selected electric parts for the Tesla Model S and Tesla Roadster. But the entrepreneur in him was already thinking of better opportunities and greener pastures. Having gained good work experience, Naman started cherishing dreams of venturing with his own car company and what better place there was to start off than his own motherland!
The Entrepreneur At Work
After relocating to India and starting his own private limited company, Rexnamo, Naman never had to look back. He now focuses on promoting electricity as an alternative fuel in India. Vehicles in India are still largely dependent on petrol and diesel, with only a fraction of them switching over to a cleaner fuel. Naman says, “I’m planning to launch a series of cars and bikes in India. The bikes are already available for purchase and the cars will be launched too as early as possible. Currently designs for electric buses are being made by my team as we speak”.
Happy Green Cruiser
The Big Switch
The Indian automotive industry is one of the largest in the world. Experts feel that electric automobile technology has vastly evolved from what it was ten years ago and electric vehicles today are vastly superior to conventional vehicles on a majority of parameters. So when does India make the big switch to electric vehicles? Naman thinks, “I believe the shift to electric automobiles is imminent by 2024. Once people get their hands on a no-compromise electric vehicle, they will forget about the petrol-diesel era altogether”. But he admits that there are many challenges on the road ahead. More public-private partnerships, building the right infrastructure and a unique confluence of information technology and manufacturing skills will perhaps facilitate in making the road smoother for automobiles of the future.
The Body Fuel
So electricity fuels the models rolling out of Naman’s innovation centre. But, on the way towards electric automobile technology, what drives Naman in coming up with these enterprising ideas? Naman reveals, “I have been racing cars and bikes for years. Even now whenever I get a break, I love to go on long haul trips to Mukteshwar, near Nainital, on my bike wearing all the proper safety gears. So you might say that my passion fuels my profession too!” And it is not just about launching newer vehicles that interests Naman. He wants to make a greater impact in the society at large and envisages a better, healthier and empowered India of the future, armed with technological superiority. He says softly, “I wish to change the urban mobility scene, reduce traffic congestion and save lives in road accidents. I believe saving lives this way is no less than a medical professional saving lives in a hospital. Engineering can also be our saviour”. As he speaks this, there’s something in his quiet conviction that tells you that here’s a man who not only believes in hope for the future but will also join arms with his co-believers in building a robust India in the coming days.