River Mobility

Combining form and functionality, electric scooter brand River Mobility has created Indie, an electric two-wheeler. The Indian company chose Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the cloud as a unified solution through which all its employees could collaborate. Engineers are now able to design Indie’s critical components quickly and easily, expediting the product development process.

Electric scooters for India's solo entrepreneurs

Two-wheelers are not just a mode of transportation in India – they support livelihoods. Almost half of the entire country’s population uses a scooter, and this rises to over 70% in the most congested cities such as Bengaluru.

However, until recently, the scooters available in India were not designed to meet the changing needs of the typical young, savvy worker. Existing offerings are either stylish commuter vehicles with limited utility capabilities, or they are bare bone utility vehicles. “Millions of people in India run small- and medium-sized businesses or are working tenfold switching between their nine-to-five jobs and multiple side hustles to make their dreams come true,” said Aravind Mani, CEO and co-founder of electric scooter startup River Mobility. “The kind of style and functionality they require in their two-wheelers was missing in the Indian market.”

River Mobility has designed its first scooter – Indie – to bridge this gap. From a utility perspective, Indie offers an unprecedented amount of storage space as well as lock-and-load pannier-stays on the sides that offer an array of customizations to serve different purposes. Its unique head and tail lamps give the scooter a distinct look while ensuring maximum visibility on the road. Indie’s larger-than-typical wheels offer maneuverability and a comfortable ride on a variety of road conditions, and it also has zero emissions at the tailpipe.

It offers all this without compromising on style, comfort or safety. “Indie features a distinctive, colorful design and perfectly blends the utility capability needed for day-to-day applications into a very stylish package that reflects the vibrant personalities of the young and ambitious Indian,” Mani said. “It will cater to India’s solo entrepreneurs, providing them with a chic mode of transportation that seamlessly balances style, form and functionality.”

Thanks to the platform's versatile functions, complex surfaces can be created more quickly and designs can be seamlessly merged into a complete model.

The need for a single, integrated design solution

Indie is the culmination of 20 months of research and development – a timeframe which could have been much longer if River Mobility hadn’t chosen to adopt Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the cloud.

“It was right at the ideation stage that we decided we really needed to work in a single collaborative environment,” said Mazher Ali Baig Mirza, Head of Mechanical Design at River Mobility. “Back then, our engineers were using both SOLIDWORKS and CATIA computer-aided design (CAD) software, but these Dassault Systèmes tools were not integrated into a product lifecycle management (PLM) solution, so all work was done independently.” 

This wasn’t the only issue. The separate product development, electrical and manufacturing teams each had their own bill of materials (BOM), and designs were exchanged via emails, which meant that there were mismatches in data.

“It was hard to know which the latest iteration of a design was,” Mirza said. “Sometimes we’d share the wrong data with a supplier, who would then send us the wrong part. We needed a platform that could provide a single version of the truth and enable everyone to work together more effectively.” 

The Dassault Systèmes solution stood out because of its agility and flexibility. It was set up to be industry-ready, so we didn’t have to create our own product development process – we could start using it right out-of-the-box.

River Mobility Mazher Ali Baig Mirza > Dassault Systèmes
Mazher Ali Baig Mirza
Head of Mechanical Design at River Mobility

Industry-ready for startups

River Mobility evaluated a wide variety of market tools before deciding on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the cloud. “The Dassault Systèmes solution stood out because of its agility and flexibility,” Mirza said. “It was set up to be industry-ready, so we didn’t have to work out our own product development process – we could start using it right out-of-the-box. This wasn’t the case with the other solutions, which require a lot of customizations to be useful for us.”

Because the platform is hosted on the cloud, there was no need for a lengthy implementation. “I have worked with many different solutions in my previous jobs, and implementation has often been a challenge,” Mirza said. “There was always a lot of work to be done adapting solutions to the different users, running test cases, setting up the staging environment and checking how the system was behaving. It wasn’t unusual for all of this to take a full year. With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, however, we didn’t have any of this. We had immediate time-to-value.”

Apart from the benefits of added security and regular updates, choosing the cloud also proved to be cost-effective. Without having to allocate their finances to servers and the additional resources required to host an on-premises solution, River Mobility could instead focus fully on design and manufacturing.

“Most startups can't afford to have a PLM solution right from inception – they must wait until they are ready for commercial launch and then transition to a new system. For us to have a PLM system in place very early on, that’s a big boon. It meant we were able to make rapid progress in the design of our scooters and get to market quicker,” Mirza said.

Using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, the engineers can visualize all of Indie's electrical components and connections with CATIA.

Fostering growth and collaboration

River Mobility’s team had grown from two to 84 people over the span of a year, and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform was able to support this rapid growth. “With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, I can easily add a new user at any time and assign the right credentials to them to make them aware of what roles and responsibilities they have,” Mirza said. “Training then takes place right within the platform. New recruits receive links to the relevant training modules which take just 30 minutes to complete. After that, they are certified and ready to go.”

A rapidly growing company like River Mobility must navigate a lot of change. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform allows it to establish an end-to-end change process that clearly communicates change decisions and assignments to all teams. For example, it can create a customized workflow for engineering change requests, engineering change approvals and job orders, which includes all the necessary stakeholders in the workflow. This customization provides agility in decision making and helps River Mobility create an error-proof process which can be scaled as the business grows.

For Mirza, the biggest business impact of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform has been around collaboration. From concept to manufacturing, the entire lifecycle of Indie is now managed seamlessly in a single environment. “That means designers know exactly what they’re releasing to manufacturing – there’s no need for data to be translated between departments because the two functions are well aligned,” Mirza said.

Meanwhile, having a centralized engineering bill of materials (EBOM) with no redundancy helps River Mobility maintain control over its revisions, eliminating confusion over which data to send to suppliers. In fact, external collaboration is seamless.

“Some of our suppliers also work with the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, so we can give them direct access to the data,” Mirza said. “For other suppliers, we can simply share a link so they can access the data and provide feedback directly within the designs.”

The ease of accessibility and integration capabilities of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform have significantly reduced product development time. That meant we could go to market faster.

River Mobility Aravind Mani > Dassault Systèmes
Aravind Mani
CEO at River Mobility

Expediting product development

Making use of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform’s multi-CAD environment, River Mobility’s engineers can continue using existing SOLIDWORKS files by leveraging POWER’BY while taking design a step further in CATIA. “CATIA’s options and features are unparalleled with many features that help us create complex surfaces. This enables a better imagination and helps us make quick prototypes for new concepts,” said Mani.

“We can seamlessly bring together designs from CATIA and SOLIDWORKS, the combination of which can form part of a full, model-based product definition,” Mirza added. “This has made life a lot easier for us.”

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform has been particularly useful when it comes to engineering the many electrical components in the Indie. Using CATIA Electrical, River Mobility’s engineers can create a schematic diagram that details the electrical connections between components. This serves as a guide for suppliers, the manufacturing process, as well as for troubleshooting and repair.

River Mobility then defines the overall size and shape of the geometric bundle that will contain the wiring within its vehicles. It can define the connector part numbers in a 3D model and then create a harness drawing that displays the circuit data, bundle length, splice and bill of materials. All this has given River Mobility a competitive edge.

“The ease of accessibility and integration capabilities of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform have significantly reduced product development time,” Mani said. “That meant we could go to market faster.”

River Mobility founders Aravind Mani and Vipin George have leveraged the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the cloud to build a product that has already attracted record orders in India.

Building on the success to date

When River Mobility unveiled Indie’s design to the public in February 2023, it received overwhelming orders from customers not just in its home city Bengaluru, but in other Indian cities as well. Pleased with the progress made so far, Mirza and his team are keen to get more from the 3DEXPERIENCE in the coming months. 

“We are looking into using SIMULIA’s simulation capabilities to validate product performance,” Mirza said. “We also want to explore how ENOVIA might help with configuration management, especially as we look to develop more product variants.”

River Mobility’s focus now is to scale its distribution and service across the country, without compromising on the connection with customers and the quality of service. Supported by the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the cloud, River Mobility will be able to not only work far more effectively, but grow at a fast pace and thereby stay ahead of other emerging competitors. 

River Mobility logo - Dassault Systemes

About River Mobility

River is an electric vehicle (EV) startup based in Bengaluru, India. With an emphasis on design and technology, River builds products that make a positive impact on the everyday lives of people. Founded in March 2021 by Aravind Mani and Vipin George, River is backed by marquee investors such as Yamaha Motor Co, Ltd, Dubai based Al Futtaim group, Chris Sacca's Lowercarbon Capital, Toyota Ventures, Maniv Mobility, and Trucks VC. 


For more information: https://www.rideriver.com/