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Old 27th April 2015, 14:51   #1
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Default Lithium Urban Technologies launches electric cab service in Bangalore

Lithium Urban Technologies, Bangalore, has launched an electric cab service in the city. The service started off with a fleet of 10 cars, but aims to have 100 vehicles in two months.

An investment of about Rs. 30 crore has been made in Lithium Urban Technologies. At present, the company has booked Mahindra Revas and is trying to buy vehicles from Nissan, Renault and a Chinese company called BYD.

Lithium Urban Technologies owns all the vehicles and pays its drivers monthly salaries. The company has recruited 40 drivers and claims that it is conducting background verifications, including visiting their homes and checking their antecedents. Additionally, it is providing them certified self-defence courses.

To ensure safety, the company monitors all the all parameters related to the vehicle, trips and customers on a cloud network. The driver has no connection with the car, its operation, charging, maintenance, rides, booking, etc. The cabs have been fitted with GPS units, undisclosed to the drivers and panic buttons. Other features include internet connection via WiFi, communication with commuters through app only (without sharing mobile number) and alerts when the cab goes off-course.

At present, the service is limited to corporates due to the lack of infrastructure to charge the vehicles. Lithium is depending on companies to help it with charging points for its vehicles. The company is worried about the lack of charging points across the city. It claims that even if sets up points at various locations, it is not sure if BESCOM would provide power.

Lithium had originally intended to have operations in Bangalore only. Now, it is planning to have a fleet of 2,000 cabs plying across India.

Source: Times of India
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Old 27th April 2015, 15:51   #2
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Default Re: Lithium Urban Technologies launches electric cab service in Bangalore

This would be a good solution if managed properly. Yes charging or rather quick charging is necessary to ensure availability and quick turnaround of cars but atleast the first step has been taken in correct direction to ensure a good small / medium mobility solution.

It is for the ULBs (Urban Local Bodies) and the customers to ensure that they use the facilities and make it a success in due course of time.

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Last edited by GTO : 28th April 2015 at 14:24. Reason: Typo
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Old 27th April 2015, 16:55   #3
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Default Re: Lithium Urban Technologies launches electric cab service in Bangalore

I'm sorry, but this is the stupidest thing I've read since morning. E2O as a cab? Seriously? For self-drive (like ZoomCar) I can completely understand. But a cab?

Heck, even if there's a single passenger, there should be no problem. One more passenger and the driver has to get down, fold the front seat and allow the passenger to climb in. And then repeat the same process when the passenger has to alight. No need to mention, but, there's no way of exiting the car without folding the front seats. How is this safe?


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Old 27th April 2015, 17:21   #4
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Default Re: Lithium Urban Technologies launches electric cab service in Bangalore

I've always wanted a nice silent cruise to and from the airport. This is a good initiative but then how do they plan on charging the cabs. Wouldn't they need to do that a couple of times a day? Which car are they going to be using? Surely E2Os aren't a viable option.

Last edited by GTO : 28th April 2015 at 14:26. Reason: Typos
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Old 27th April 2015, 20:11   #5
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E2O is a wrong choice to start with. With a max range of 100kms approx they will have to recharge every 2 to 3 trips. Not to mention the additional distance traveled to pick up the customers from the point of booking.

However since they have started off with corporates they will not have this idle traveling and will be able to utilize the charge well. This is especially useful for corporates which have multiple offices within a short radius and has employees frequenting between offices.
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Old 28th April 2015, 14:55   #6
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Default Re: Lithium Urban Technologies launches electric cab service in Bangalore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cartman View Post
I'm sorry, but this is the stupidest thing I've read since morning. E2O as a cab? Seriously? For self-drive (like ZoomCar) I can completely understand. But a cab?
My first impression was exactly the same as yours. However, think about it - most corporate companies that hire cabs to pick-up and/or drop-off for a single employee/representative either to an airport or for a meeting etc, an E20 makes so much sense. The employee is getting the cab service so no trouble of having to drive in the traffic or worrying about parking etc., the driver is getting employment, the E2O cabs will be so much more silent and environmentally friendly too in comparison to a regular diesel cab.

Sure, for 2 or more guests, this isn't an ideal solution. Also, if the person prefers sitting on the back seat only, the E2O will not do the best job. However, for single person shuttle services, I think this is a good idea.
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Old 28th April 2015, 16:44   #7
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Default Re: Lithium Urban Technologies launches electric cab service in Bangalore

A bit ahead of its time, to put it politely.

So many cab drivers pick up passengers on an empty fuel tank and then first thing they do is take the customer to the petrol bunk and refuel with customer's money. Imagine now these cab drivers trying to find a recharge point after picking up a customer

Being seen in Reva itself is a brave thing to do, and to be seen in Reva taxi would need real courage and a greenpeace cap.

I hope better electric cars become available soon here in India.
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Old 28th April 2015, 20:09   #8
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Default Re: Lithium Urban Technologies launches electric cab service in Bangalore

I dont know [or doubt] how many responders in this thread, have used or sat inside the M&M E2O vehicle, be it front or the rear seat.

I agree with "S2!!!" for his first paragraph.

The only [slightest] challenge is to get inside the rear seat of the vehicle. But, once you are in there, you have all the necessary space to sit comfortably. I mean, real comfort for at least 2 fully built adults - all around - leg space, thigh/back support and the necessary height even for as tall as 6'. I wonder how many so-called sedans are comfortable in its front seat [forget about the rear seat] for 6' tall person !

I understand everyone can have opinion about everything, but only to the extent of one's awareness [if one is aware] and preferably, with personal experience with a vehicle please.

Overall, this is a very positive move. Its just that our corporates should not have any EGO issue in getting E2O vehicle when they call for it ! I would say, the corporates should be open and ask for E2O vehicles whenever there are only 2 or 3 are going.

As far as the charge goes, we have discussed in length about the capacity. There are E2O running to its brim in reality. So, no need to worry about it.

Oh, btw, within City limits and on most of the malls in Bangalore, there are enough charging ports available for E2O. Most of the places offer FREE charging !
Do I hear any free petrol/diesel filling station please ?

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Old 28th April 2015, 21:11   #9
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Default Re: Lithium Urban Technologies launches electric cab service in Bangalore

@kaviprem, I have a car that just does errands within 3KM from my home and there are lot of such families. An electric would be incredibly useful to me. All I want is a car that gives safety features like other cars (brakes, crash worthy body, airbags, etc.). Forget the highway, just to get on to the main road with kids on board, I should feel safe. Of course, better exterior design would be an added bonus. I am curious to know how different Reva is from a golf buggy structurally (leaving aside cabin, A/C and other convenience aspects).
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Old 28th April 2015, 21:25   #10
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Default Re: Lithium Urban Technologies launches electric cab service in Bangalore

androdev
I now understand the "brave" that you are talking about
Talking of other safety features, I wonder how many care about it !
How many taxis are of top end offering even one bit of what you mentioned ?

Crash-worthiness ? would any of the MSIL nor Liva/Etios live upto any expectation

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Old 29th April 2015, 12:30   #11
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Default Re: Lithium Urban Technologies launches electric cab service in Bangalore

Quote:
Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
I've always wanted a nice silent cruise to and from the airport.
Quote:
Originally Posted by S2!!! View Post
most corporate companies that hire cabs to pick-up and/or drop-off for a single employee/representative either to an airport or for a meeting etc, an E20 makes so much sense.
The distance from Bangalore City to the Airport is 35 kms one way. Thus, you are looking at a round trip of about 70 kms. The e2o's limited range on a full charge is a big restriction because:

- According to the Mahindra website, the e2o's range with air-con & heavy traffic is 77 - 87 kms. That's cutting it too thin.

- As the battery ages, its range will become even less. With the kind of running cabs do, a 1 - 2 year old e2o taxi will suffer a severely worn out battery.

- If you live further away in the opposite direction, the E2O won't make it.

- It will have to be fully charged before making the trip. No two sides to it. This requires effort & discipline, which not all cabbies have.

- The Bangalore airport road has a speed limit of 80 kph. With the e2o's top speed of 83 km/hr, it'll be running at its limit. Not only will battery range be further affected by this, but the car isn't the safest at that speed. Our official review states 83 km/h top speed & sub-par dynamics make it unsuitable for the highway. Either that, or the driver drives slowly, thus costing its passenger more time.

- Luggage space is very limited. It'll be tricky to fit in bigger bags, especially when there's more than one passenger.

- A small 2-door car is simply unsuitable for airport use. Your companion will have to crouch and get to the back seat.

Even Mahindra will tell you there are better cars for airport use. It's designed for personal transportation over shorter commutes. Unless it is significantly cheaper (doubtful), I don't see any reason to pick an e2o over an Etios, Dzire or Innova the next time I'm landing at the Bangalore airport.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaviprem View Post
The only [slightest] challenge is to get inside the rear seat of the vehicle.
And that's a big one because it requires a change of habit. Look around inside cabs on your next commute and tell me whether the only passenger is sitting at the front or back. At least in Mumbai, 99% of the time, it's on the back seat. Women, especially, wouldn't want to be sitting cosy with the cab driver on the front seat.
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Old 30th April 2015, 19:03   #12
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Default Re: Lithium Urban Technologies launches electric cab service in Bangalore

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Originally Posted by kaviprem View Post
I mean, real comfort for at least 2 fully built adults - all around - leg space, thigh/back support and the necessary height even for as tall as 6'. I wonder how many so-called sedans are comfortable in its front seat [forget about the rear seat] for 6' tall person !
I seriously hope and pray you are joking about this bit. It is like saying, wonder how many so-called sofas are comfortable than a wooden bench. It isn't the best of places to be in. I'm nearly 6ft tall and was uncomfortable in the front seats of the E2o; forget the rear. The seats are flimsy to say the least. When I did try sitting in the rear, I feared for my head and neck. I had to consciously bend my neck downwards to look forward and be comfortable there. Also, I think I was more comfortable in the Nano!

Given it's tiny proportions, there's nothing called as personal space in that car. I doubt anyone wants to get cozy with their cab drivers.


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Old 30th April 2015, 21:02   #13
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Default Re: Lithium Urban Technologies launches electric cab service in Bangalore

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaviprem View Post
I dont know [or doubt] how many responders in this thread, have used or sat inside the M&M E2O vehicle, be it front or the rear seat.

The only [slightest] challenge is to get inside the rear seat of the vehicle. But, once you are in there, you have all the necessary space to sit comfortably. I mean, real comfort for at least 2 fully built adults - all around - leg space, thigh/back support and the necessary height even for as tall as 6'. I wonder how many so-called sedans are comfortable in its front seat [forget about the rear seat] for 6' tall person !
I really do appreciate these small EVs and I am all for using them as public transport and as taxis given that I am not going to be driving and the silence would be a bonus, but we are all presumably well informed automotive enthusiasts here and it would be a shame if we started making ludicrous claims such as this especially to challenge a sedan in terms of space and comfort Let us for a second, assume that you are able to sit in the rear-bench (I for one, was not able to and I am exactly 6ft tall) I would not go so far as to call it "comfortable" especially in relation to other offerings in the market. There is no room to move around, stretch, and the seats are predictably devoid of any support so even if one could fit, I wonder how many people would put up with it over the long-ish journeys we take in Bangalore given the city's expanse, road conditions and traffic. As for the front seat, PUHLEASE!! I challenge you to find a sedan that is less comfortable cause practically all of them I've ever been in are much better.

The E2O is a sensible car especially at the new price but the word sensible would still only apply if certain parameters are met. Let us not go so far as to state that it is supremely comfortable and that it makes perfect sense even if only for a single passenger as a cab. While it might be free to charge, it takes around 5 hours to do so and would have an effective range of about 100kms now you have to also factor in wait times since cab drivers spend a lot of their day in the car. Leaving all this unexplained, would garner critical response from most here and according to me that is quite understandable if you don't find it so, then please answer these more pertinent questions instead of making exaggerated claims about the car's capabilities.

Last edited by IshaanIan : 30th April 2015 at 21:06.
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Old 30th April 2015, 21:14   #14
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Default Re: Lithium Urban Technologies launches electric cab service in Bangalore

Hope the govt would allow them to import Leaf or similar without additional duties for such initiatives.
We are assuming that it will be used for airports. There are lot of cabs that are used to ferry corporates from hotel to companies and the distance is not much. It could be used for such services.

In Bengaluru, any such initiative would be supported by Bescom and such and I think its a good cause and initiative that could help in setting up the infrastructure for private use too. Not sure who the investors are but if there are any important ones ( ) it would all happen very smoothly.

Last edited by srishiva : 30th April 2015 at 21:15.
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Old 1st May 2015, 12:43   #15
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Despite all the drawbacks and limitations pointed out, I would love to try out an 'electric taxi' just for the novelty factor. I can think of two areas in which this service could prove to be practical -

1. Long distance 'carpool' groups with a self drive option, which would reduce the additional range needed by the driver to pickup and drop the commuters.

2. Point to point feeder service(similar to the popular 'shared-auto or taxi') with charging infrastructure that can reduce the emission density in areas with heavy traffic(since this has become a major cause for concern in places like delhi).

Both of these would require planning and discipline to implement though as pointed out by GTO.
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