A multi-modal electric vehicle project commenced operations at Nagpur Airport Complex on Friday, with a fleet of 200 vehicles including e-buses, e-cabs, e-rickshaws, and e-autos. Commuters can book the vehicles using the Ola App. In the pilot phase, there would be 100 e2o Plus cars by Mahindra that will operate as cabs and another 100 e-rickshaws by Kinetic Safar. The rest of the fleet will consist of vehicles from Tata Motors, Kinetic, BYD and TVS among others, Ola said in a statement. Ola has also invested more than Rs 50 crore and set up charging infrastructure at four location in the city. There are more than 50 charging points in the city now. Ola will also be training driver partners on maintenance and use of in-car technology.
Note that in April, Ola had said it would add more than 1 million electric cars on the roads after it set up a subsidiary for its electric car segment. Ola has tied up with electric car manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra for the project.
The government may also come up with a separate electric taxi policy for cab aggregators, under which the fleet owners and driver partners will be incentivised for using electric vehicles, as indicated by Economic Times. The publication added that the incentives may be in the form of tax waivers, zero toll on highways and no permits under the policy, which will also be applicable for electric bus shuttle and autorickshaw services.
Insufficient charging infrastructure and higher initial cost are some of the main reasons for users not opting for electric vehicles. Note that Last year, in Karnataka, BESCOM had decided to set up charging stations to promote the use of electric vehicles. However, the project was shelved as it was too expensive. Private players such as Mahindra had also announced in 2014 that it would install fast-charging stations at 20 locations in Bengaluru. However, currently, the website shows that there are only 16 charging points in Bangalore. The website also shows only 10 cities with charging infrastructure with Delhi having the highest number of charging points (23).
However, despite the lack of infrastructure various companies and startups are moving into the space of electric vehicles. Bangalore-based cab aggregator company Lithium Urban Technologies has an all-electric vehicle fleet that operates as cabs. The company has tied up with corporates such as VMware and Tesco and provides where the cabs are used for employee’s commute. Another Bangalore-based startup Ather Energy is building an electric scooter that will be launched in 2018. Ather energy that has been funded by Hero Motor Corp had recently announced that it plans to set up charging stations at malls, theaters, offices, restaurants and business parks according to a report by Mint. Other startups in the space include Coimbatore-based Spero that is using the crowdfunding platform Fuel-a-Dream to sell its e-bikes and Tork that launched its bike in September last year priced at Rs 1, 24, 999.