Ola Cabs - country’s largest cab service provider - in its first report on electric mobility recommended that efforts should to be made to promote the usage of electric vehicles rather than focusing on purchase of such vehicles in the initial period and vehicles operated by the central and state government should be converted to electric since that would ensure electrification of a significant number of vehicles.
The report prepared by the Bengaluru based start-up also noted that the success of electric mobility is will depend on leveraging of shared mobility and lithium-ion battery swapping technology needs to be promoted compared to installing charging stations in the initial phase since charging a battery takes a few hours.
Ola Mobility Institute (OMI), a policy research and social innovation think-tank of Ola Cabs, has released a report on Tuesday, citing its recommendations based on its first multimodal electric mobility pilot project, which kick started in Nagpur in May 2017 in collaboration with different automobile manufacturers.
The report, titled ‘Beyond Nagpur: The Promise of Electric Mobility’, is based on the study conducted by OMI through 2018-19 with an intent to gain insights on the operational challenges that include vehicle performance, impact of the wide ranging Indian weather conditions on charging and the battery life, customer charging behavior and patterns, among others.
According to the report, high upfront costs, lack of charging infrastructure and uncertain performance of a battery-powered vehicle may hold back rapid adoption of e-mobility for private users, while, fleet operators are potential early adopters due to business sensitivity to operating costs.
“The Government may provide subsidies and concessions until a critical threshold limit for fleet electrification is achieved. The Nagpur pilot has provided proof of battery swapping acting as a reliable charging mechanism for small vehicles. Swapping of batteries is a doable, efficient, and in the case of Nagpur, successful. Battery swapping will help in mitigating long waiting time of drivers at charging stations, for commercial and private users alike," the reported noted.
The report by OMI also suggests schemes to accelerate the early adoption of electric mobility in India, making it financially viable and sustainable, setting and strengthening up the charging infrastructure, encourage sustainable manufacturing of electric vehicles (EVs), and for skilling and research in the domain.
According to the company, Ola’s fleet had served more than 350,000 customers, clocked over 7.5 million clean kilometers, saved over 5.7 lakh liters of fuel and reduced carbon emissions by over 1230 tons during the period when the pilot project was conducted.
The report also noted that integration with renewable energy brings out the dual benefits of not only achieving financial viability but also makes usage environment friendly the entire EV usage from cradle to grave. This serves as a promise towards a low carbon and resource-efficient future for India.
“Sustainable management of end-of-life EV batteries is crucial to avoid pollution from toxic waste and secure a strong supply of raw materials at low environmental cost. Once batteries have reached 60-70% of their rated capacity and not fit for automotive uses, policy should incentivise its reuse as power banks for storing solar energy and for non-automotive applications," the report said with respect to recycle if lithium.
The Soft bank funded cab service provider mentioned that to propagate the electric vehicle ecosystem in India, the e-mobility pilot project in Nagpur has encouraged the service provider to commit the deployment of over 10,000 electric three-wheelers in 2019, and one million electric vehicles for daily commute across cities by 2022.