Blu Smart : All Electric Cabs for NCR
The concept of public transport has undergone immense changes in the past decade, as multiple cab hailing and ride sharing platforms have brought this still heavily unregulated industry into the digital age. The path has not been smooth, but the success of Ola and Uber has given other companies the confidence and know-how needed to pursue their own ventures in this field.
One such venture is India's first all-electric mobility platform, known as Blu Smart. This platform combines ride hailing, car sharing and shared charging together, and is the brain child of the Gensol Group, a renewable energy provider from Ahmedabad. The company (Gensol Mobility Pvt. Ltd) kicked off their operations in the Delhi-NCR region on World Environment Day, with a fleet of 70 Mahindra Electric eVerito's, and an android app.
Customers can use the app to book cabs for intra-city travel. With a potential range of around 180kms, Blu Smart cabs will average a flat rate of around Rs 14-15 per km. This may seem steep, but the good thing is that there will be no surge pricing, so you can rely on trip charges to remain consistent. As they start integrating more electric vehicles with better range, the option for inter-city travel and cheaper rates will eventually come about.
To support the operations, the company has already launched 15 charging points across the city that offer 15-20kW DC fast charging to both cab drivers and regular customers with private electric vehicles. The company plans to add another 50 stations across the NCR region by August 2019, with special focus on major highways such as Delhi-Jaipur and Delhi-Chandigarh. This will coincide with their plans to scale up their fleet to over 500 electric vehicles by April 2020.
This seems like a sound business plan, but it is still too early to speculate whether it will work. There is just too much time and money required to educate the customers and drivers alike to adopt this platform in favour of others, for it to be an overnight success.
Perhaps this is why the company is not putting all its eggs in one basket, as their plan for the next few months is to establish a car-sharing platform that gives customers the option to lease luxury electric vehicles, like the Hyundai Kona, Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, and hopefully someday, even a Tesla. As you can guess, with ambitions like this, it will be long time before this platform rolls out on a national scale. For now, all we can do is wait and watch, if the future is truly electric.