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Old 29th March 2017, 15:49   #1
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Default Ola to introduce electric taxis in top cities

Ola Cabs is reportedly planning to introduce fully electric cabs in its taxi fleet in major Indian cities. This fleet addition will be done under a pilot project and will be initiated in the next three months.

The company is yet to finalise the cities in which the electric cabs will be rolled out. However, the co-founder, Bhavish Aggarwal, has indicated that if they receive satisfactory response from customers for the said pilot project, the company might further increase the number of electric cabs being operated in its fleet.

Interestingly, Softbank Group Corp's Chairman, Masayoshi Son, had earlier advised Ola to incubate a fleet of 1 million electric vehicles on its platform, by going into a partnership with an electric car maker and the government in the country. Softbank is a major investor in Ola Cabs. Masayoshi Son wants this target of 1 million electric cabs to be achieved in the next five years.

If things do pan out as planned, the taxi sector might become the breakthrough market for the electric car industry in India. While manufacturers like Mahindra have been producing pure-electric cars from the past 4 years, they havenít been able to bring in satisfactory sales. With cab aggregators like Ola showing interest in electric cars, the electric car segment could receive a huge boost benefitting not just the manufacturers, but also the environment by reducing pollution.

Source: LiveMint
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Old 29th March 2017, 16:18   #2
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Default Re: Ola to introduce electric taxis in top cities

The big problem with having EVs for taxis is the compulsory 6-8 hours downtime/day for charging.

Wonder how drivers will react to that. Given the agitation against dwindling profits, forced unavailability of cabs will hurt their business just as much considering most owners prefer having their cabs on the road 24*7.

Last edited by libranof1987 : 29th March 2017 at 16:29.
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Old 29th March 2017, 16:30   #3
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Default Re: Ola to introduce electric taxis in top cities

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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
The big problem with having EVs for taxis is the compulsory 6-8 hours downtime/day for charging.
That's a constraint, but definitely not a blocking point. No cab is operated 24x7 and 6~8 hours a day is decent break time almost every cab driver takes. All we need is sufficient charging stations wide spread within the city limit (at least)
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Old 29th March 2017, 16:34   #4
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Default Re: Ola to introduce electric taxis in top cities

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Originally Posted by Mr.Boss View Post
That's a constraint, but definitely not a blocking point. No cab is operated 24x7 and 6~8 hours a day is decent break time almost every cab driver takes. All we need is sufficient charging stations wide spread within the city limit (at least)
It will be constraint if there are 2 drivers working on shifts with the same car.
6-8Hours of downtime is too much in my opinion.

But, the ecological aspect cannot be ignored. It's a welcome move.
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Old 29th March 2017, 17:18   #5
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Default Re: Ola to introduce electric taxis in top cities

Quote:
Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
The big problem with having EVs for taxis is the compulsory 6-8 hours downtime/day for charging.

Wonder how drivers will react to that. Given the agitation against dwindling profits, forced unavailability of cabs will hurt their business just as much considering most owners prefer having their cabs on the road 24*7.
From my understanding, EVs in the fleet segment will be offered with fast charging 1hour 15mins [ 10Kw 3 Phase 32A charger]

Also if we look at the Govt. initiatives especially FAME incentive scheme (Phase 2 expected) - It is more about pushing EV [public & private transport ]

So with EV in public transport will come the fast chargers
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Old 30th March 2017, 02:12   #6
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Default Re: Ola to introduce electric taxis in top cities

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Originally Posted by abhishek46 View Post
But, the ecological aspect cannot be ignored. It's a welcome move.
India's key source of power generation if I'm not mistaken, is thermal. There will be ecological benefits if the electric power is sourced by hydel or nuclear energy, India has neither because water supply is getting scarce by the day due to localized draining of reservoirs/lakes resulting in thinning of water flow, poor rains etc and mention setting up nuclear power and we'd have people in complete uproar against it, the tribal/village factions at the least.

Thus electric cars will sadly be as polluting as others because of coal-burning for the thermal power, it only centralizes pollution to power-generating areas rather than the presently decentralized setup of non-electric vehicles.

Again I guess like every other company, its more about cashing in, first-mover advantage and profits, the so called eco-friendliness is farce marketing to enable the same.
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Old 30th March 2017, 12:14   #7
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Default Re: Ola to introduce electric taxis in top cities

At best, it'll be a PR exercise for now and someone is going to have it to subsidise it. No driver is going to invest in an expensive EV - it'll either be Ola or Mahindra.

On the positive side, I can't think of a better way for the masses to experience an EV, than with Ola / Uber. These are services as popular as they come. The E2O Plus has 4 doors now and excellent rear legroom, making it the ideal candidate.
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Old 30th March 2017, 12:59   #8
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Default Re: Ola to introduce electric taxis in top cities

Apart from the mandatory time spent in charging the vehicle, AFAIK there is also a stipulated number of kms that a EV can run currently right? IIRC it was around the 100 km mark which further comes down if you are facing traffic and also the idling time while waiting for a customer booking. How will 100 kms a day suffice for a cab driver? The alternative mode of running the car on petrol is only going to leave him staring at huge fuel bills.

Also one can argue that they can probably charge higher for these EV cabs and hope that the customer pays more willingly as his contribution to improving the air quality. But knowing our countrymen, very few will walk this high moral ground and would gladly accept the more polluting diesel cab at a lesser fare.

Also as Dark.knight has mentioned above, this doesn't really end up being that green friendly as we are made to believe. I still feel CNG is the way to go forward.

Last edited by drmohitg : 30th March 2017 at 13:01.
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Old 30th March 2017, 13:14   #9
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Default Re: Ola to introduce electric taxis in top cities

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
At best, it'll be a PR exercise for now and someone is going to have it to subsidise it. No driver is going to invest in an expensive EV - it'll either be Ola or Mahindra.

On the positive side, I can't think of a better way for the masses to experience an EV, than with Ola / Uber. These are services as popular as they come. The E2O Plus has 4 doors now and excellent rear legroom, making it the ideal candidate.
I agree that this is likely a good PR exercise - something Ola is good at. These startups their horizons right now are short and they are all looking to survive the next few months.

However that said this is likely the future. 15-20 years down the line Govts may make all taxis compulsorily Electric. You will see this much sooner in Developed market.
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Old 30th March 2017, 14:45   #10
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Default Re: Ola to introduce electric taxis in top cities

If not today, Electric cabs will be the way to go few years down the line

Issues today
1. Price Point and low subsidy
2. Low Range/ Lack of charging points
3. Lack of options while buying the car

Things that can be done
1. Quick swap batteries? Say Mahindra opens a few battery depots across the city where the driver can drive in with a discharged battery and get a new one fixed in under 5 minutes.
2. The manufacturer (Mahindra here) leases these cars out on a daily per km basis. All of them are owned, maintained and insured by Mahindra. If the cab is about to die, just pick a new one from the pickup point and put this one on charge. Just need to make sure that maintenance of the fleet is top notch.
3. Just thought of this: Increase Govt incentives on Electric taxis - cheaper commercial registeration, taxes, tolls, parking,etc

Else wait for the 200-300 mile range cars to hit our shores at an affordable price point.

My 2 cents.

Last edited by akshaymahajan : 30th March 2017 at 14:47.
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Old 30th March 2017, 15:00   #11
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Default Re: Ola to introduce electric taxis in top cities

Quote:
Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
The big problem with having EVs for taxis is the compulsory 6-8 hours downtime/day for charging.
Swappable battery packs are one solution to that (in addition to fast-charging). Takes less time to swap a battery than it does to fill a tank of gas. Unfortunately no EV sold in India has it.

Telsa has it (skip to 1:00 for the demo):


Quote:
Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post
India's key source of power generation if I'm not mistaken, is thermal.
Chicken/Egg problem. At least with the adoption of EVs one half of the problem is 'solved'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
On the positive side, I can't think of a better way for the masses to experience an EV, than with Ola / Uber. These are services as popular as they come. The E2O Plus has 4 doors now and excellent rear legroom, making it the ideal candidate.
I think the best way to experience an EV is in the driver's seat. If someone experiences an EV in the rear seat with the e2oPlus's lousy rear suspension - they probably won't want to experience an EV ever again!
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Old 30th March 2017, 15:58   #12
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Default Re: Ola to introduce electric taxis in top cities

Quote:
Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post
India's key source of power generation if I'm not mistaken, is thermal. There will be ecological benefits if the electric power is sourced by hydel or nuclear energy, India has neither because water supply is getting scarce by the day due to localized draining of reservoirs/lakes resulting in thinning of water flow, poor rains etc and mention setting up nuclear power and we'd have people in complete uproar against it, the tribal/village factions at the least.

Thus electric cars will sadly be as polluting as others because of coal-burning for the thermal power, it only centralizes pollution to power-generating areas rather than the presently decentralized setup of non-electric vehicles.

Again I guess like every other company, its more about cashing in, first-mover advantage and profits, the so called eco-friendliness is farce marketing to enable the same.
Excellent point!

Here are some thoughts from my side.

By using Electric cars in cities, what is achieved is that the point where pollution is happening is shifted from the car/city to the power generation plant (where population density is much lesser, and hence less people get impacted).

Secondly, the Ratio of Renewable to thermal energy production is going to increase by the day.

Today out of total 300 thousand MW, 210 thousand MW is contributed by thermal alone. Whereas rest of 90 thousand comes from hydel/renewable (Not a small figure).

What is interesting is, the figures for the renewable has increased from near zero in 1997 to 45 thousand MW in last 20 years.
The figures in the renewable (& hydel too) will definitely increase even more by the day, given that Govt is already taking so many steps for promoting it!
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Old 30th March 2017, 19:45   #13
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Default Re: Ola to introduce electric taxis in top cities

With the Ola e-cabs, the ETA information may possibly appear like this:-

Destination - Electronic City
ETA - 190 minutes ( 60 minutes of travel time + 30 minutes delay due to traffic + 70 minutes to charge the car at our Fast Charge point in Koramangala)

PS: If you want to reach your destination early, please do either of the following:

1. Opt for a non e-cab.
2. Get down midway and request for another e-cab.

On a serious note, the electric cars as cab concept doesn't appear too viable at present, given the kind of traffic gridlock we face in our major cities. With the limited range of the currently available cars - both in terms of existing models and the distance they are capable of covering in a single charge, I don't think taxi drivers will be willing to invest in this venture.

Ola subsiding the cars will, as rightly pointed out by GTO, only be a PR exercise.
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Old 30th March 2017, 21:59   #14
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Default Re: Ola to introduce electric taxis in top cities

EVs are the best thing that can happen to the new cab boom riding on Ola and Uber. We can't do it with Mahindra E2O. But the moment you have a 250 km model available, it'll be fun to watch the space. As the higher cost of the car is easily offset by the lower running and maintenance cost. Chevy bolt, Hyundai Ioniq, Renaut Zoe, Tesla Model 3 (upcoming), new Leaf (upcoming) are all right fit. Its just a matter of Ola getting the right deal with one of the manufacturers and the government.
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Old 4th July 2017, 23:43   #15
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Default Re: Mahindra Reva e2o : Official Review

OLA has launched the Mahindra e20 taxis in Nagpur. Quite many are seen on the roads these days.

The recent OLA electric taxi launch was high profile, with a number of VIP's attending.

http://nationnext.in/indias-first-mu...roject-nagpur/

One observation that I could make was that the Reva (earlier changed over to e2O) is now e20 Plus, a four door car ("Plus" for the two more doors) to suit its compatibility as a taxi. The last letter for any Mahindra vehicle has to be a "O", be it the failed Quanto or Verito, or the much sold Bolero or Scorpio. And the length has increased obviously, I believe. The rear door latch is borrowed from the Chevrolet Beat in all likelihood. Mahindra has over the years excelled when its comes to stretching the standard chassis progressively. The Jeep FC 150 pick up truck later became the Jeep / Mahindra FC 260/ FC 260 D extending its chassis. The CJ 500 D is also a classic example. In its avatar as a people's carrier towards the end of its life cycle, it had added at least 30 % to its original length. And the Logan becoming the Verito to reach 4000 mm length is a reverse case of shortening or retracting the original chassis .

With such a wide experience, the Reva/ e2O Plus is a toy to play with for M and M , in such need based extension and contraction exercises.

Ola to introduce electric taxis in top cities-img_20170612_120936957.jpg

From a Nagpur street clicked by me

Ola to introduce electric taxis in top cities-mahindra-reva-nation-next-photo.jpg

From the Nagpur airport, a Nation Next website photo

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 4th July 2017 at 23:48.
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