At EVreporter, we are curious to find out how start-ups in the e-mobility domain are solving unique challenges associated with this space. In this report, we present how BluSmart goes about operating India’s largest fleet of chauffeured electric four-wheelers for intra-city travel.
BluSmart was founded in 2019 and is currently operating more than 350 electric cars in Gurgaon and 26 in Mumbai. The start-up has raised $8 million so far and planning to raise another $20 million this year to expand its footprint.
We caught up with Anmol Jaggi, Co-founder – BluSmart, to delve into operations management of the mobility service.
Driver-partners at BluSmart work in shifts and the service is available round the clock. The peak of demand comes during morning and evening office hours, i.e. 8 am to 10 am; and 5 pm to 9 pm. During these hours, the company has 80% of its fleet on the road.
During morning hours, each car makes 4-5 trips. Each trip is average 15 km (including some dry run). That leaves the cars at 40-60% of charge.
During 11 am to 5 pm, cars come to the charging hubs. During this period, only 20% of cars stay on road due to decrease in demand.
During the evening rush hour, recharged cars again make another 4-5 trips till 9 pm.
From 9 pm till midnight, the cars pick passengers from the Delhi Airport and make another 2 trips per car. Post this, the cars come back to the hub for charging.
Overall, each car makes 12-13 trips a day with an average trip distance of 15 km, covering anywhere between 160-200 km a day.
BluSmart has set up charging facilities for its fleet in large hubs that can charge up to 150 cars parallelly. The start-up leverages the economic advantage offered by setting up charging hubs in sparsely used spaces like -2 or -3 level basements in establishments like IT parks, Malls, Hospitals etc. where large loads are available for charging.
Also Read: Top EV Charging Networks in India
Asset Light and People Centric
BluSmart operates on an asset-light model and does not own any of the cars it operates. The cars are procured by the company on a monthly lease.
“We pay a monthly lease of Rs. 25,000 per car and a payout of Rs. 22,000 per contract driver. Our running cost comes at Re. 1/km including maintenance”, informs Anmol.
Asset lease management by BluSmart also allows the driver-partners to earn a fixed payout every month without having to own the vehicle or arrange for asset finance. Anmol mentioned that drivers are happier driving electric cars as they are all automatic and provide a more comfortable driving experience in the city traffic. While on-boarding, the drivers are provided training on driving an automatic car and regenerative braking.
Talking about their experience with operating an electric fleet, Anmol shared that they have found the cars to be extremely reliable. Though they have a Quick Response Team in place to handle any unforeseen issues or breakdowns, there have only been 2 breakdowns in 1.75 lakh rides completed till date.
The bulk of BluSmart’s customers are office-goers in Gurgaon. One of the major pain points for this customer segment is surge pricing by ride-failing services during peak hours that may charge up to 2.5 times the regular fare. BluSmart does not practice surge pricing and charges a fixed fare of Rs.149 to travel between any two points in Gurgaon.
Driver app of BluSmart does not provide the option for the driver to cancel an assigned ride. “We focus on providing a reliable mobility solution to our customers by practising ‘no surge’ and ‘no denial”, Anmol signs off.