The electric vehicle (EV) sector in India expects high growth in the upcoming years. Several states and union territories, including Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Rajasthan, have announced EV policies to support EV adoption.
The latest to announce EV policy was Odisha, intending to achieve 20% of all vehicle registration to be EVs by 2025.
Last year, many EV companies raised significant funding despite the Covid-19 shaping the future e-mobility landscape.
Earlier this month, Electric ride-hailing platform BluSmart raised $25 million in Series A funding from multiple investors. bp ventures, a venture capital arm of energy major bp, led the financing round and invested $13 million.
Mercom spoke to Anmol Singh Jaggi, Co-founder of BluSmart, to discuss the company’s plans and targets and his views on the EV industry and existing policies.
- How is the EV market right now for BluSmart?
EV Market is changing now. The rise in prices of petrol and diesel, higher air quality index (AQI) levels due to air pollution in Delhi NCR constitute significant health risks and have affected the on-road supply of cabs.
Subsidies for EVs under the ‘Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles (FAME)-II’ policy has provided an opportunity for an electric mobility aggregator like BluSmart.
BluSmart sees unprecedented month-on-month growth in its traction. We have handcrafted our robust ecosystem of EVs, EV charging stations, android and iOS mobile applications for riders, driver and charging, driver training modules, and vehicle maintenance mechanisms that help us lead the EV revolution aligning with our vision for cleaner skies.
- Could you talk about BluSmart’s products and business and model?
BluSmart is an app-based all-electric ride-hailing platform. It offers customers all-electric sedan cabs. It manages a fleet of electric cars driven by onboarded driver-partners from its Super EV Hubs across Delhi, Indira Gandhi International Airport, and Gurgaon. On trip completion, ride receipt and the amount of carbon emissions saved are directly shared with the riders by email.
- What are your plans for the recently secured $25 million investment in Series A funding?
Keeping our commitment to emission-free sustainable transport, we plan to strengthen our fleet, open new super EV charging hubs at strategic locations, expand our geographic service areas, and increase our marketing campaigns’ reach.
We plan to serve the entire Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) market and contribute towards cleaning the air in Delhi. We aim to be the default mobility platform in the capital city of India before we step into serving the customers of other major cities in the country.
- In what ways can BluSmart benefit from its association with bp?
With bp’s global learnings, we look forward to adopting best practices to build a successful enterprise and an organization with a diverse and inclusive culture.
We believe that this partnership will be beneficial for developing EV charging stations, sharing leadership thoughts, ideas, and concepts to achieve big goals through continuous efforts towards the target. These partnerships help us all to provide promising platforms to strengthen our EV Mission. Asset sharing will also help in better utilization of resources.
- How do you see the growth of electric mobility as a service in India over the next five years?
In the next five years, we plan to expand to the country’s top six cities and bring about a positive change in the environment and the sustainability of the mobility ecosystem and its participants.
- What are your views on the current shape of last-mile connectivity in India, and how can EVs revolutionize that?
We believe the last mile connectivity is going through a fundamental change in this post-pandemic world. These services are experiencing a shift as customers’ focus on reliability, safety, and hygiene has found a new meaning.
BluSmart is trying to provide clean, reliable, and door-to-door service, thereby filing this gap for last-mile connectivity.
- What are the significant barriers to the growth of the EV sector in India?
EV Sector has been evolving for the last 3-4 years, the initial set of electric cars were of about 80-90 km range, and the latest one we added is 200+ km range on a single charge.
However, overcoming the initial hiccups of range anxiety and the global supply chain situation are some of the challenges which EV sector faces. However, with companies like Tata Motors, Jio-bp and others, we see that India will be the leader in the EV space.
- What policy changes would you like to see to help the EV market flourish?
We have received good support from the government in promoting EVs by reducing Goods and Services Tax (GST) from 12% to 5%. Many states have launched EV Policies and special EV tariffs for charging. Availability of FAME I and FAME II subsidies has also added to the growth.
State governments can help overcome the challenge of ‘expensive’ EVs by offering subsidies and influencing the users’ sentiments. Delhi Government was offering ₹150,000 (~$2,000) subsidies on EVs registered and operated in Delhi, which has helped the citizens of Delhi and businesses like BluSmart to adopt EVs.
We would request the Delhi Government to up the ante of this subsidy from the first 1,000 cars to 5,000 cars. The real impact of EVs on the city’s health will only be visible at scale. At the same time, states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana should also bring out similar incentives to help the thriving metropolitan population go electric.
We also believe freeing EVs from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) toll in Delhi will boost fleet operators to choose electric vehicles and help make the commercial cars in Delhi go fully electric, much before the targets set by other departments.
Harsh is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Indian Express, he has covered general interest stories. He holds a Masters Degree in Journalism from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune.