SmartE plans to set up EV charging infrastructure around metro stations

SmartE, a Gurugram-based e-rickshaw start-up offering last-mile connectivity from Delhi Metro, is planning to set up charging infrastructure around metro stations with state-owned Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL).

Goldie Srivastava, chief executive officer of SmartE, told Business Standard that his company had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Delhi Metro and PGCIL to set up a huge charging infrastructure model and replicate it around metro stations.

“Land and power supply would be provided by other partners, whereas we would get world-class technology that can support mass e-rickshaw charging. Going forward, when the regulations allow, we would open it for public usage. This model can then be used for large scale e-vehicle (EV) charging,” said Srivastava. 

The company is also looking to sign a MoU with NTPC for a similar kind of model. It currently has battery-swap arrangement with the state-owned thermal power generator. SmartE electric rickshaws launched by Treasure Vase Ventures was founded by Srivastava in 2014. It aims at  providing last-mile connectivity through battery run rickshaws from metro stations in a range of 3-5 kms.

The fares are nominal at a base price of Rs10 for the first 2 kms and Rs5 for every subsequent km. Commuters can also book vehicles through the SmartE app and pay digitally for their rides. All the e-rickshaws are GPS-tracked and have covered cabin for safety.

Srivastava said they plied more than 25-million rides in Gurugram and Faridabad and had 800 vehicles on roads so far. SmartE recently launched its services along the metro stations in Dwarka area.

“We have both salaried drivers and driver partners who are hired and trained by us. We have been successful in achieving a positive return per ride,” he said. 

SmartE sources vehicles from Kinetic Vehicles in Pune and is looking to make business with Mahindra and some foreign original equipment manufacturer, the names of which Srivastava didn’t disclose.

Treasure Vase was launched by Srivastava, a former communication and marketing manager for United Technologies, India and Asia Pacific. The company has raised Series A funding of $5 million from a leading private equity investor in Singapore and will soon raise $10-15 million in series B.

Srivastava said the company might look at entering electric bus space in long term. “But it would be mostly feeder buses. We will not change our model, which is based around last mile connectivity.”

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