Eyeing opportunities in the wake of disruption expected from electric vehicles, oil major Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited on Monday launched ‘e-drive initiative’ an electric three-wheeler mobility model.
Partnering with electric vehicle-maker Kinetic Green Energy and Power Solutions and IIT Madras for technology support, the public sector oil marketing giant brought on stream a supply of swappable lithium-ion batteries at its retail outlets in Kochi and Lucknow in the first phase for electric three-wheelers.
According to the business model touted as unique, fleets of three-wheelers, also known as ‘e-rickshaws,’ are deployed in the two cities by Kinetic Green which also owns them and drivers pay rental for use of vehicles and a fee for energy provided by BPCL. There is, however, no maintenance cost.
Chairman and managing director, BPCL, D Rajkumar said rising air pollution, increasing disposable incomes and rapid urbanisation would drive future mobility in India.
“Electric vehicles would be having an increasing share of the urban transportation canvass in the years to come,” he said adding: “We are happy to have collaborated with two strong partners, the IIT Madras for technological support and Kinetic Green as a mobility partner.”
The operations in Kochi and Lucknow were inaugurated through video conferencing from here and a giant screen beamed e-rickshaws lining up to change batteries at BPCL outlets and the process of swapping was over in a matter of few minutes, similar to the time taken for filling petrol or diesel.
The three-wheelers are powered by two batteries and when the charge drains, it could be brought to the BPCL outlets where it would be replaced with fully charged ones.