Mercedes-Benz R&D India launches framework for start-ups to become more sustainable

Many start-ups are actively supporting the e-mobility transition, with over 550 start-ups working on various aspects of the EV value chain, as of mid-2021.

FAME II scheme sees over 2,877 EV charging stations set-up across 25 states

Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India (MBRDI) has launched an assessment framework, in association with Villgro and World Resource Institute India (WRI India), to raise awareness on maximising impact beyond zero tailpipe emissions while also facilitating the creation of a uniform standard for socio-economic and environmental impacts within the electric mobility sector. 

It will also provide enterprises an opportunity to track and manage their impact from early stages of development, allowing deeper integration of sustainable practices into their business.

The company says spurred by conducive policies and increasing consumer awareness, the domestic e-mobility industry has been growing rapidly in the last few years. Many start-ups are actively supporting the e-mobility transition, with over 550 start-ups working on various aspects of the EV value chain, as of mid-2021. As startups struggle with integration of impact management amidst constraints of limited capital, resources, and time, this unique impact assessment framework, based on the widely recognised Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets, will encourage building products and services that contribute to a more equitable, clean, and inclusive mobility ecosystem. 

Manu Saale, MD and CEO, MBRDI said, “Sustainable mobility requires a holistic approach, and the direct and indirect impact of this assessment framework will influence a wide range of socio-economic and environmental outcomes in the industry. With rapid global growth in e-mobility and massive investments expected over the next decade, there is a unique opportunity to maximise the positive impact of this sector across the value chain. We are confident that this report will create newer employment opportunities, while reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions from the transport sector.”

MBRDI says that it is estimated that $180 billion (Rs 13,96,260 crore) of investments are required to meet India’s 2030 EV targets. This framework will prove to be an equally important instrument for impact investing firms to base their investment decisions on a holistic, comparable, and standardised framework that prioritises social and environmental impact besides financial viability and growth metrics.

 Chaitanya Kanuri, Senior Manager – Electric Mobility, WRI India, said, “In addition to the emissions benefit of electric vehicles, this framework will encourage enterprises to adopt sustainable manufacturing practices and ensure circular economy of resources in the sector. With a growing number of investors applying ESG and impact lenses in making investment decisions, this framework will help companies in aligning their economic and environmental sustainability.”

At present, MBRDI supports e-mobility startups such as Sheru and Ziptrax with battery swapping infrastructure and battery packs utilised by their e-rickshaw drivers. This has helped increase the daily operating hours of e-rickshaws and contribute additional income of up to Rs 500 per day for the drivers.

Ananth Aravamudan, Sector Lead, Climate Action at Villgro Innovations Foundation added, ” Many e-mobility start-ups are integrating impactful initiatives in their evolving business models, be it in manufacturing, sales, or services. This framework will be of immense help to the startups we incubate, helping them to align their impact measurement to global standards and attract more investment.”

Over time, the framework aims to support the development of benchmarks for consumer, workforce, and societal impacts in the e-mobility sector for new as well as mature enterprises.

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