Lithium Urban Technologies (Lithium), the Bengaluru-based electric vehicle (EV) cab provider to corporate sector, is raising close to $8 million from International Finance Corporation (IFC), the multilateral lending arm of the World Bank, to spur further growth.
With the buzz around electric vehicles getting momentum, Lithium Urban Technologies (Lithium), the Bengaluru-based electric vehicle (EV) cab provider to corporate sector, is raising close to $8 million from International Finance Corporation (IFC), the multilateral lending arm of the World Bank, to spur further growth.
IFC’s investment is part of the company’s fund-raising round with additional capital being provided by other investors to expand the footprint. IFC is considering an equity or quasi equity type of investment in the company.
Lithium provides business critical corporate employee transportation (CET) to blue chip companies in information technology (IT) and IT enabled services (ITES) sector by providing a fleet of electric vehicles. The company was incorporated in October 2014 and began operations in July 2015.
The company currently has a fleet of about 350 electric vehicles and is planning to expand the fleet in line with market demand. It currently has operations in Bengaluru and NCR and has plans to expand to Pune, Hyderabad, and Chennai.
The company currently provides CET in Bengaluru to various IT clients and has recently started employee transportation services for an IT client in Noida, National Capital Region. CET is a business-critical service for the IT and ITES companies which provide 24×7 services across the globe and employ staff across various shifts who have to be transported from residence to the workplace and vice-versa. Lithium follows an asset model whereby it purchases its vehicles and provides transportation services to its clients through drivers.
Lithium uses technology and EVs to provide one of the lowest per capita energy solutions for urban transportation and this is achieved through a technology enabled fleet whereby an algorithmic transport routing technique is used to optimise trip scheduling and routing. EVs are fitted with in car built telematics and cloud connectivity. Energy efficiency of the vehicle, the driving pattern of each driver, the charging requirement for each EV and the availability of each charger can be easily monitored 24×7 which helps to increase trip productivity.
Lithium offers corporate employee transportation service through EVs, DC-fast charging infrastructure and integrated fleet management technology to companies with large employee base and predictable travel schedules. Lithium plans to enter other business in electric mobility, which are currently being piloted.
According to the disclosure document, IFC’s involvement with the project will help Lithium adopt a structured framework to manage its social and environmental systems which will act as a benchmark for a sector that is serviced by largely unorganised players.
IFC will help Lithium to develop corporate governance standards. Lithium is in the process of scaling up operations and IFC’s investment at this stage will provide the company with patient capital needed for the growth phase as it explores new avenues for EV applications.