Oil companies were traditionally against any other form of alternative energy sources as the promotion of such energy steam would put them in danger of losing out their business altogether. But surprisingly this whole resistance is taking a complete U-turn because even the oil giant finds the electric tide to be a bit shocking. The evidence of such a thought process change is reflecting on the Indian fronts as well, recently only oil major Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited initiated its ‘e-drive’ initiative program.
E-drive is formulated to create three-wheeler mobility and support platform in order to attain self-sustainability in the future when electric energy becomes the norm. With the help of other notable allies such as electric vehicle maker Kinetic Green Energy & Power Solution and IIT Madras, the public sector oil behemoth has laid down logistic channels for the supply of Lithium-ion batteries through its outlet. As a pilot test running, initial candidates were chosen as Kochi and Lucknow targeting the e-three wheeler segment where a sizable sample of 20 each would be hitting the roads soon. Once the results are out, the fleet strength would be raised to 100 and expansion maps would be drawn to reach out to uncharted territories.
The working model of this business is fairly simple which is in line with the “gig economy” model where the driver is neither owning the vehicle nor the battery that goes into it. Fleets of e-rickshaws would be set up by the Kinetic Green Energy group with a rent pay facility for drivers and as for the batteries; the drivers would pay for the energy consumed during a battery swap in BPCL stations. The attractive part of this business model is the absence of any form of maintenance cost from the driver side.
E-rickshaws would be powered by two battery units that can be brought to BPCL outlets in the event of a battery drain and can be easily replaced with fully charged ones .Since battery makes up around 50 percent of the total vehicle cost, creating a swappable environment reduces the total vehicle cost to a bare minimum. The total cost of the battery units will be fully borne by the BPCL which can vary within the range of INR 60000 to 650000. Drivers would have to pay between INR 350 to 400 for two batteries during each swap and the Li-ion batteries would deliver a range of 50-55 Km/charge. Per Km charge of the E-rickshaws are also within the reasonable range of INR 10 which would, in turn, make the customer happy as well. The interest of traditional oil giants in electric vehicles is surely a positive sign for EV enthusiasts.