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Old 7th June 2019, 12:47   #1
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Default Uber, Ola could be forced to switch to EVs by April 2026

According to a media report, cab aggregators like Uber and Ola could be forced to convert 40% of their fleet to electric vehicles by April 2026.

Uber, Ola could be forced to switch to EVs by April 2026-ola-electric.jpg

The government is reportedly in the process of framing new rules for cab aggregators, which would require them to achieve electrification in stages. By 2021, the companies would be required to convert 2.5% of their fleet to electric vehicles, 5% by 2022 and 10% by 2023.

Among other recommendations made by the government, from April 2026, all new cars sold for commercial use should only be electric. 2-wheelers used for commercial purposes like food or package delivery will have to be electric from April 2023.

The government has also made recommendations for the introduction of electric buses in cities. 5% of the bus fleet could go electric by 2023 and 30% by 2026. Post 2026, all new city buses sold will have to be electric.

Source: Reuters

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Old 7th June 2019, 12:54   #2
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Default Re: Uber, Ola could be forced to switch to EVs by April 2026

I have a fundamental doubt: How can Ola/Uber modify/convert something they do not own? They are aggregators.

Instead, isn't the government better off offering incentives to cab-owners to shift to electric assuming it makes economic sense? Shouldn't the problem statement be "How do we convert the diesel taxis to electric and make it economically viable?" Ola or Uber are incidental - they should not be driving the strategy.
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Old 7th June 2019, 13:06   #3
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Default Re: Uber, Ola could be forced to switch to EVs by April 2026

Quote:
Originally Posted by amoghchaphalkar View Post
I have a fundamental doubt: How can Ola/Uber modify/convert something they do not own? They are aggregators.

Instead, isn't the government better off offering incentives to cab-owners to shift to electric assuming it makes economic sense? Shouldn't the problem statement be "How do we convert the diesel taxis to electric and make it economically viable?" Ola or Uber are incidental - they should not be driving the strategy.
Agreed. Electric cars should (presumably) be more cost-effective than CNG/diesel ones which should be a major factor why owners would be willing to switch.

But even if they do switch, our charging infrastructure, or lack thereof, would be an issue. There are already loooong queues for CNG even though filling stations are available almost everywhere. Can't even imagine what would happen if proper infra isn't set up for charging and this rule is imposed.

Honestly, taking baby steps would be ideal - start with rickshaws and work your way up to cabs and fleet services. Till date I've only seen one electric rickshaw here in Mumbai. Would be better to slowly promote e-rickshaws, fleet owners might automatically jump on the idea if it makes financial sense for them.
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Old 7th June 2019, 14:38   #4
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Default Re: Uber, Ola could be forced to switch to EVs by April 2026

Quote:
Originally Posted by amoghchaphalkar View Post
I have a fundamental doubt: How can Ola/Uber modify/convert something they do not own? They are aggregators.

Instead, isn't the government better off offering incentives to cab-owners to shift to electric assuming it makes economic sense? Shouldn't the problem statement be "How do we convert the diesel taxis to electric and make it economically viable?" Ola or Uber are incidental - they should not be driving the strategy.
Regarding your first query - operators applying for Ola/Uber may be mandated for an EV. Agree with with your second part.
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Old 7th June 2019, 14:47   #5
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Default Re: Uber, Ola could be forced to switch to EVs by April 2026

There's this false equivalence about the need for infrastructure. You can't fuel your CNG car in the night when parked but you can do that with an EV. There goes the need for 'infrastructure'. If a car can drive 250 km (160 miles) in one full charge, it only need to be charged in the night.

And charging infrastructure isn't very costly to install in comparison and doesn't require digging and expensive permitting. You can build a new building most anywhere and get electricity connection instantly. So hooking a charger up shouldn't be that hard either.

Its just a matter of availability of 250 km EVs at this point. Once they are available, the switching will happen organically and spontaneously.
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Old 7th June 2019, 15:29   #6
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Default Re: Uber, Ola could be forced to switch to EVs by April 2026

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Originally Posted by sreeharipv View Post
There's this false equivalence about the need for infrastructure. You can't fuel your CNG car in the night when parked but you can do that with an EV. There goes the need for 'infrastructure'. If a car can drive 250 km (160 miles) in one full charge, it only need to be charged in the night.

And charging infrastructure isn't very costly to install in comparison and doesn't require digging and expensive permitting. You can build a new building most anywhere and get electricity connection instantly. So hooking a charger up shouldn't be that hard either.

Its just a matter of availability of 250 km EVs at this point. Once they are available, the switching will happen organically and spontaneously.
A lot of Uber & Ola's are driven by multiple drivers - so re-charging won't be feasible and 250kms range is pretty limited too - equivalent to say 5 airport round trips in a city like Mumbai.

Lastly, charging infra may not be costly - but protecting it from others who may steal the charge would be a concern - especially in a city like Mumbai where roadside parking is more the norm, than a covered private garage.
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Old 8th June 2019, 01:25   #7
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Default Re: Uber, Ola could be forced to switch to EVs by April 2026

Uber and Ola are just platforms that links drivers to riders. They don't own anything. I know a local owner-cum-driver who drives Uber/Ola on days when he doesn't get a assignment from a local agency. I don't know what a driver like him would do if they get a 300km highway journey. Also, airport trips from Bangalore city takes about 100 km of range from an EV. EV implementation should be limited to rickshaws, buses and other city only vehicles for the first few years.

I don't know how a policy without loopholes could be framed to have aggregators or even regular hire car agencies to have a fixed % of electric cars as the fleet is partially owned by them.

I think the right way to implement this would be to have a low taxes for Hybrids and lower taxes for EVs to incentivise switching. Also, maybe remove state and national permit requirement for 2 years of ownership? Reduce tolls for 2 years? Significantly bringing down the cost of ownership will help the drivers and the companies switch to EVs/Hybrids. The govt just needs to set the ball rolling- once cabbies see 2 pedal cars giving 20-30 kmpl, they'll switch rapidly. They'll ditch their MT cars for new Hybrids/EVs.

Last edited by landcruiser123 : 8th June 2019 at 01:28.
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Old 8th June 2019, 11:32   #8
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Default Re: Uber, Ola could be forced to switch to EVs by April 2026

Forget anything else, EV will be more economical to run. Fuel cost is very low, and maintenance is near zero. Also, with even a five year battery life they are just waiting to happen. Only initial cost will be high.

I hope the owners/drivers do not put us into a situation where the battery goes Kaput.
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Old 8th June 2019, 13:15   #9
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Default Re: Uber, Ola could be forced to switch to EVs by April 2026

I guess the government think-tanks will be hard at work brainstorming ways in which they can first replace the potential lost revenues from fuel taxes before any serious proliferation of EVs in Indian market is permitted.

Fossil fuels have possibly run longer than the EV tech ever will, I guess. Before we know it, the push might come to fuel cells (like hydrogen).

All the same, it's still a good step to push hard (and fast) towards EV for now.
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Old 8th June 2019, 15:42   #10
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Default Re: Uber, Ola could be forced to switch to EVs by April 2026

welcome move from the govt.
Yellow boards have to be regulated and tier 1 cities like Bangalore and Mumbai should strictly use EV's .
Countless 10 + year old Indicas still run in Bangalore which produce loads of pollution

Last edited by vinaydas : 8th June 2019 at 15:43.
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Old 8th June 2019, 16:10   #11
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Default Re: Uber, Ola could be forced to switch to EVs by April 2026

While everyone is welcoming this move in general, here are a few reality check points that no one wants to answer:

1. How would a Cab driver be expected to work all day if his car can only cover a certain range of kms before shutting down? Combine this with lack of charging infrastructure and things start looking gloomy for the cab driver. You cannot expect him to wait for an hour to get his car charged. And the sheer number of Cabs out there would translate into hundreds of the such charging stations.

2. Does anyone know how all these battery operated electric rickshaws that are not in abundance get charged? I have talked to 2 or 3 of these drivers and everyone has told me the same thing that there are multiple illegal charging stations where they are tapping power directly from an electric pole (or similar) and charge a flat rate from these people to charge. No receipt or any accountability whatsoever. It must be such a huge loss in terms of revenue with all that theft. Now imagine all the cabbies too resorting to such facilities and they will fur sure as the moral fibre is non-existent in our country.
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Old 8th June 2019, 17:11   #12
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Default Re: Uber, Ola could be forced to switch to EVs by April 2026

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Originally Posted by drmohitg View Post
1. How would a Cab driver be expected to work all day if his car can only cover a certain range of kms before shutting down? Combine this with lack of charging infrastructure and things start looking gloomy for the cab driver. You cannot expect him to wait for an hour to get his car charged. And the sheer number of Cabs out there would translate into hundreds of the such charging stations.
The only alternative I see for this is being able to replace the battery with another pre-charged battery. Something like the concept of Gas Cylinders where they take the empty one and provide a filled one. Wonder if that is where it will eventually head towards as no one would have the patience to wait for recharge.
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Old 8th June 2019, 17:31   #13
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Such mandate was there in the agenda of the think tank. No doubt such mandate will create the min charging infra required for EV market to kick start. OEs will introduce products and they will have customers to buy them. Since running of fleet is lot high, total cost of ownership would reach break even soon. Converting ~10k vehicles of their fleet by 2021 shouldn't be an issue for Ola & Uber I feel. And for sure, this government will come up with more mandates to boost electrification in the country.
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Old 10th June 2019, 08:56   #14
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Default Re: Uber, Ola could be forced to switch to EVs by April 2026

No one can be *forced* to do anything like this - 40% is a significant number. The market decides for itself. If EVs make economic sense and there is enough infrastructure to support them, why just 40%? 100% of their fleet will go electric. On the other hand, forcing them to do something that just doesn't add up will put them at a competitive disadvantage.

IMHO though, with the right support, EVs will first enter our market through the fleets & commercial segments only. That's where they will really pick up speed. We are already seeing this in the 3-wheeler segment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnInternetUser View Post
There are already loooong queues for CNG even though filling stations are available almost everywhere.
This also points toward the fact that cabbies are okay with a little inconvenience & long wait times for refueling....or charging!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sreeharipv View Post
You can't fuel your CNG car in the night when parked but you can do that with an EV. There goes the need for 'infrastructure'. If a car can drive 250 km (160 miles) in one full charge, it only need to be charged in the night.
Agreed partially. Battery tech is progressing so rapidly that in 5 years, we'll have regular EVs with a range of 500 km and out the window go "range anxiety" disorders.

On the other hand, every CNG car has a failover mode = the petrol engine .
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Old 30th June 2019, 15:26   #15
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Default Re: Uber, Ola could be forced to switch to EVs by April 2026

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Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post
A lot of Uber & Ola's are driven by multiple drivers - so re-charging won't be feasible and 250kms range is pretty limited too - equivalent to say 5 airport round trips in a city like Mumbai.

Lastly, charging infra may not be costly - but protecting it from others who may steal the charge would be a concern - especially in a city like Mumbai where roadside parking is more the norm, than a covered private garage.

My point is that there's a large number of cab drivers who are better off driving an EV should a 250 km true range EV is available. This will create economies of scale and knock-on effect and help in solving the apparent chicken and egg problem (which I don't think it is) of EVs and charging infrastructure and also lead to longer range EVs becoming economical.

How many airports trips do you think a cab does in a day? I think it'll be extremely rare to do more than two in a given day from the discussion I have had with numerous cabbies across the globe.

Modern chargers don't lend themselves to easy stealing. There's a relatively complex (from a layman point of view) handshake that need to happen before the vehicle can accept any charge. Fear of electricity theft is probably very far down on the threats to EV adoption.
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