Electronic fleet A solution to the world’s automobile-induced obesity problem

In the US, 96% of the time a typical car is in a garage.

Companies in the transportation sector, and automakers in particular, are among the clearest pioneers of the inevitable shift to cleaner fuels. Electric cars are becoming a household concept, regardless of their hefty cost for most of humanity – another classic case where modern technology largely cannot afford the poor.

According to New York-based RedBlue Capital, an early investor in clean mobility startups, that’s where the big fleet operators come in. Companies like Amazon and food delivery services like DoorDash and Instacart will drive faster electric vehicle adoption, said RedBlue partners Olaf Sakkers and Prescott Watson. Corporate bus, taxi, shuttle bus and shuttle apparel will also play a part, as such operators are cautious about the total cost of ownership and use of the vehicle, making the economics of electric vehicles attractive to them.

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In 2019, RedBlue invested in Zoomo, an Australian e-bike startup that specializes in food delivery. According to Watson, through great sales, Zoomo has become one of the fastest growing e-bike companies in the world. Recently, RedBlue invested $28 million in EVage, a supplier of electric light trucks in India.

“We should measure the success of the transition to EVs based on the distance they travel, not by the number of vehicles sold to the public,” Sakkers said in an interview in Singapore last week. “For a lot of people, electric cars are just a second or third car that they barely drive, which doesn’t move the needle at all. But fleet operators use them many times a day.”

That’s especially true for a country like India – a nation of 1.4 billion people or one-sixth of the world’s population. There, very cheap, no-frills cars made by local units of Suzuki and Hyundai prevailed. Price elasticity was so tight that Ford and GM eventually pulled out, unable to sell enough cars to make up for the multi-billion dollar investment over many years.

In India, fleet operators have been at the forefront of electrification. BigBasket, which delivers everything from groceries to cookware, is on a mission to electrify 90% of its fleet. In New Delhi, people often tweet about their trips with BluSmart, a 100% electric taxi startup with almost half a million app downloads. It estimates the market will more than quadruple to $90 billion by 2030 in several major Indian cities. Retail company Flipkart, owned by Amazon and Walmart, is also pushing to buy more electric vehicles, but the problem is they can’t get enough supply.

“Traditionally, India waits for the localization of automotive products by rich countries when prices fall,” said Watson. “But the ‘wait ten years’ approach is not suitable for today’s climate timelines and so India in particular will have to develop indigenous technologies to make electric vehicles cheap enough for mass adoption. tea in the near future. That is the opportunity that we are investing in.”

That’s different from larger, more developed countries, where cars tend to get bigger and bigger even when usage is still limited. Call it a car obesity problem. In the US, 96% of the time a typical car is in a garage, Sakkers wrote in his book The Framework for Mobility Disruption, citing research by McKinsey.

But in emerging economies like India, newer concepts are being consolidated. E-scooters are selling like hotcakes and the South Asian country is now considering swapping out batteries instead of charging stations to ensure faster use of cleaner fuels.

According to BloombergNEF, the light truck and vans market in India is growing two to three times that of Europe or the US, and nearly 40% of the country’s three-wheeler fleet is already electric.

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