Like any new vision that sparks new business ideas, so does the electric vehicle (EV) industry. The industry currently sees a mix of legacy players and new entrepreneurs who are on a mission to electrify mobility in India, which has helped new business models emerge in the B2C and B2B segments.
To discuss more on this, experts from a diverse background such as Anjalli Ravi Kumar, Chief Sustainability Officer, Zomato; Arun Sreyas Reddy, Founder, RACEnergy; Akhil Aryan, Co-Founder, Ion Energy; Akash Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO, Zypp Electric, and Kaushik Burman, Head Global Expansion, Gogoro discussed their views in a panel discussion on the topic of ‘Emerging business models in the EV ecosystem’ moderated by Sheetal Bahl, Partner, growX Ventures at the First & Last Mile Mobility Conclave 2022 hosted by The Financial Express.
Kick-starting the session, Gupta said, “Basically, the last four years of our journey, we realised that the entire EV ecosystem has to happen to solve the problem of pollution and sustainability. And hence, while solving a bunch of challenges from mobility to logistics, we realised that in the pecking order of adoption, we saw B2B and logistics come first.”
He added, “There are about 2-3 million delivery executives on the road. And this is going to be about 8-10 million in the next four or five years. We today have 5,000 vehicles and possibly the largest fleet in the B2B last-mile delivery segment.”
Food delivery startup Zomato aims to make its fleet 100 per cent electric by 2030 and has taken up several measures to contribute toward a greener environment. Zomato has also partnered with Zypp Electric for its sustainable mobility plan.
Kumar said, “We know that deliveries contribute to air pollution, they are a big source of emission in terms of our own carbon emission accounting. My view is that EVs represent a great opportunity to solve multiple problems and also offer a way to look at how we can improve road safety.”
On the other hand, Mumbai-headquartered Ion Energy is working on the same mission when looked at from a broader perspective, with clean mobility as the ultimate goal. It is on the same mission with two business units, – Maxwell, which builds and supplies advanced electronics for electric vehicles and energy storage systems. The other is Altergo a predictive analytics platform for new energy assets.
Aryan said, “India has good engineering talent and we need to use them to build homegrown brands. We import or license technology from European and American companies, and then manufacture them in India to deploy these electronic products. Instead of having technology being developed for international markets, and then licensing that back in India, we have to build our own R&D setup in the country.”
Retrofit kits are also gaining traction in the EV industry and are the next best way to own an electric vehicle without buying one. RACEnergy works in the same field. However, pointing towards why battery-swapping has not picked up pace despite well-funded companies in this segment, Reddy said, “When trying to apply technology developed outside India here, the process is slow. There is a lot of experiment involved. This technology is something that takes time to scale up, and even going from one vehicle moving 10 meters to 200 meters and eventually to 1,000 meters, involves challenges in every step.” Reddy said.
Gogor’s Burman knows the industry on a global scale the company has done close to 320 million swaps with over a half a million-customer base in Taiwan. He said, “Our core premise is an all-around open platform. We work with as many OEM partners to develop vehicles that can run on a swap network.”
He added, “If we were to decarbonise the transportation sector 70 to 75 per cent of the modal transportation today in the Asia region are two-wheelers, and therefore, for us to enable that decarbonisation journey, we have to provide more choices to the end-consumer. And it’s very important to delineate the two because sometimes customer may not be the end consumer, in some cases, it could be the retail consumer as well.”
To watch the entire panel discussion on Emerging Business Models in the EV Ecosystem and how various companies with a mutual goal are coming together to create a sustainable future tune in to First & Last Mile Mobility Conclave 2022.