Concept car presented with upcycled car parts

Kripa Ananthan, former head of design at Mahindra & Mahindra, builds on micro-mobility and sustainability

Kripa Ananthan, former head of design at Mahindra & Mahindra, builds on micro-mobility and sustainability

Automotive designer and former Head of Design at Mahindra & Mahindra Limited, Kripa Ananthan, who has designed iconic vehicles such as the Scorpio and Thar in the past, started her entrepreneurial journey by unveiling a new prototype car, the Two2, designed for micro-mobility and sustainability.

Ms. Ananthan, who recently left Mahindra & Mahindra after more than 24 years with the automaker, has worked on a diverse portfolio of products ranging from SUVs to light commercial vehicles, trucks and tractors, and construction machinery. In addition to the Scorpio and the Thar, she designed the Bolero and Mahindra, as well as Mahindra’s XUV family of vehicles and concepts such as the Aero, Atom, UDO, Stinger and Funster.

“It’s like family with Mahindra. So it wasn’t an easy decision… but I felt like I wanted to tackle something more challenging on my own. I’m one of those bright-eyed Monday morning people who just love my job,” she said, speaking of her decision to leave M&M.

About two months ago, Ms. Ananthan founded Krux Studio, a design service provider for the automotive industry. The company has onboarded three customers.

“The world is exploding and so many new things are happening and I wanted a piece of that pie. And that’s just the beginning for me. I’ve been on the road for two months and it’s really exciting what I can accomplish. Whether it’s worth it or not I’ll find out, but at this point in my life it’s more about the excitement,” she said.

The Two2 is a two-door, two-seat electric vehicle about 2.5 meters long and almost as wide as an auto rickshaw. “It’s a concept that has a lot of ideas, like upcycling parts, and more products can be designed with those ideas,” she said. The concept uses about 20% upcycled/recycled parts from end-of-life products. For example, the headlights, bumpers, seats, doors, handles, steering wheel and glass have been upcycled. It is possible to upcycle more parts.

“This four-wheeler is the smallest in India, safe and protective and easy to ride, maneuver and park… This prototype is mostly hand-built apart from a few parts. But that’s just for the concept,” said Ms. Ananthan, a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay and the Post Experience Program at the Royal College of Arts, London.

“One of the triggers for me to develop this concept were the discussions about end-of-life vehicles … in Kurla [scrap] Here in Mumbai or in the Mayapuri market in Delhi, there are thousands, maybe even millions of cars. According to estimates, 22 million vehicles will be at the end of their useful life by 2025, which got me thinking. Added to this is the problem of urban congestion. Subway connectivity is great, but last-mile connectivity is still an issue… We’re seeing issues related to pollution and climate change,” she said.

KRUX Studio is currently looking for partners to collaborate on bringing concepts to production.

“There is a need for urban micro-mobility with a vehicle that uses recycled parts. In India nobody has used upcycled parts in production until now… for upcycling you have to source these parts, refurbish them… create a channel, so all of that will also create jobs and at the same time these parts will be used in a useful way,” she explained .

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