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New Business Models for Public Transport in India

New business models for public transport in India
A man riding a bike in the streets in India.
© Unsplash

The Indian government has unveiled a visionary strategy, introducing the innovative ‘Value Wheel Scheme’ and highlighting three key areas ripe for E-Mobility business model innovation. Let’s explore these exciting avenues that hold promise for the future of sustainable transport.

The ‘Value Wheel Scheme’, explains the three main areas of opportunity for business models that can be built within e-mobility. This wheel consists of 3 main areas (mobility, infrastructure and energy) in which services and products are being developed.

A wheel representing the three main areas of opportunity for business models, including energy, mobility and infrastructure. In the middle of the wheel there is a smaller circle entitled "connectivity."Click to expand

Value Wheel Scheme for E-Mobility. PEM Motion adaptation (2023)

  • Mobility is the segment where the actual increase of EVs on the road will take place.
  • Infrastructure includes charging infrastructure, battery swapping stations, and businesses built on traction batteries.
  • Energy, electricity used for charging vehicles and storing in EV batteries.

Mobility

Mobility, in the context of EVs, refers to the movement of people and goods using electrically powered transport options. This can include various modes of transport such as EVs, electric two-wheelers (e-scooters, e-bikes), electric buses, and electric rickshaws. Mobility solutions in the EV sector aim to provide sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional fossil fuel-based vehicles.

  • Electric Vehicle Manufacturing: companies like Tata Motors, Mahindra Electric, and Ola Electric are involved in the manufacturing of EVs. They design, produce, and sell electric cars, two-wheelers, and commercial vehicles.
  • Electric Ride-Hailing Services: companies like Ola and Uber are incorporating EVs into their fleets to offer eco-friendly ride-hailing services. Ola Electric, for example, focuses on electric mobility solutions.
  • EV Component Manufacturers: these companies produce critical components for EVs, such as batteries, motors, and power electronics. Indian manufacturers like Exide Industries and Amara Raja Batteries are involved in this space.
  • EV Fleet Management Services: some businesses provide fleet management solutions for EVs, helping companies optimize their EV fleets for cost-efficiency and sustainability.

A map highlighting the location of India.Click to expand

India highlighted in a map of South & Southeast Asia. PEM Motion (2023)

Legal disclaimer: This geographical map is for informational purposes only and does not constitute recognition of international boundaries or regions; GIZ makes no claims concerning the validity, accuracy or completeness of the maps nor assumes any liability resulting from the use of the information therein.

Infrastructure

The primary impediment to widespread EV adoption in India was the absence of a comprehensive public charging network. Consequently, India must establish a sturdy and extensive charging infrastructure network that spans the entire country, considering traffic patterns and population density. The infrastructure sector encompasses charging stations, battery-swapping facilities, and enterprises focused on traction battery technologies.

Charging infrastructure manufacturers

Revenue can be generated by manufacturing and selling EV charging equipment. There can be two ways of providing EV hardware solutions: first, standalone delivery – to install at home, workplace, or for public charging; and second, in partnership with vehicle manufacturers, offering the hardware as a part of the vehicle. Manufacturers will essentially provide a complete charging points solution for public and private charging, including installing hardware and software. They will also provide services such as maintenance of the hardware as well as additional support services.

Charging Point Operators

Charging Point Operators (CPO) generate revenue by operating a network of chargers. The services to provide include EV charging, customer support, network solutions (standalone or in partnership with a Network Service Provider), etc. To charge EV users, different pricing mechanisms can be chosen, such as time-based, energy-based, fixed, membership, etc.

Services in the battery segment can play a huge role in promoting the uptake of EVs since batteries contribute 40% of the overall cost of EVs. Additionally, businesses delivering value in reducing the overall cost of electric cars also have a huge role to play.

Potential services related to batteries that can be taken up for business and help in reducing the overall cost of ownership for EV buyers are:

Battery recycling

Electric vehicle batteries are mostly made of lithium-ion and consist of rare elements such as Lithium, Nickel, and Cobalt. Recycling will reduce negative environmental impact as well as has the potential to reduce the overall cost of a battery.

A scheme in form of a circle representing the different steps in the battery recycling chain, from the raw material obtention to the usage and recycling step before starting over again.Click to expand

Battery subscription

Batteries are provided to vehicle operators on a subscription basis, charging for use on daily or per kilometer rates.

Pay as you go

Is most common for spontaneous users since they do not have any long-term contract with the charge point operator. It may also be used for those contract users who prefer direct payment over payment via invoice later (postpaid).

Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS)

Manufactured batteries (new) are leased to end-users such as vehicle owners, energy storage projects, etc., for usage. Once the battery reaches its end-of-life, the BaaS service provider either refurbishes the batteries and makes them suitable to be used in applications such as energy storage or behind-the-meter usage, or recycles the batteries by extracting the raw material from them to manufacture new batteries.

Diagram showing the value chain of the virtual power plant platform, from the energy market, system operation, consumer service to the virtual power plant platform, then to the communication network and afterwards to the different modes of electric transport.Click to expand

Energy

Research indicates that private vehicles remain inactive for approximately 95% of their lifespan. This statistic forms the foundation for recognizing the potential of energy as a valuable asset. EV batteries serve as reservoirs of electricity. When not actively engaged for commuting purposes, EV owners have the opportunity to trade, sell, or leverage the stored energy to generate additional income.

The energy sector encompasses the electricity utilized for charging EVs and storing it within their batteries. Moreover, EVs can draw power from renewable energy sources, thereby aiding grid stability by storing surplus wind energy during the night and solar energy during the day. This contribution to the proliferation of renewable energy sources serves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Conventional Energy

  • Research shows that a private vehicle stands idle for an estimated 95% of its lifetime. This very fact builds the premise for energy as a value area. Batteries in EVs store electricity, and when not used for commuting, EV owners can trade/ sell/ utilize the stored power and earn additional revenues.
  • Additionally, EVs can be charged from Renewable Energy sources and help contribute to grid stability by storing wind power at night and solar power during the day. In, turn helps in the proliferation of Renewable Energy and contributes to reducing GHG emissions.

Renewable Energy

  • Thermal mass and water tanks are the two primary solar energy storage methods in solar space heating systems. Wind turbines can use excess power to compress air; Equipment
  • In the case of solar energy, solar inverters are an essential piece of this puzzle. Before most devices and appliances can use the generated solar energy, it must be converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). You can build your business by providing the inverter at lease, rent, or even subscription!

Virtual Power Plant (VPP):

VPP is to a traditional energy plant what the internet-connected desktop computers are to the mainframe computer. Both can perform advanced computing tasks, but VPP can also perform energy management functions. VPP provides an efficient way of utilizing power from electric vehicles in grid balancing or trading in the electricity market.

Conclusion:

The Indian government gives us a detailed sample of the different business models companies can implement in E-Mobility. When discussing E-Mobility, the first thing that comes to mind is electric cars. Still, there are other issues that, with them, E-Mobility wouldn’t be possible, such as energy and infrastructure. The country of India gives us an example of all the existing areas of opportunity that can be implemented throughout the global south.

Reference:

  • e-Amrit (n.d.) EV Business Models in India. Retrieved from: Link
  • e-Amrit (n.d.) EV Charging infrastructure. Retrieved from:Link
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