At EVreporter, we aspire to highlight promising e-mobility companies and start-ups operating in different parts of India. This week, we got a chance to catch up with Sanjay Patel and Dinesh Chaudhari – co-founders of Capital EV, a Gandhinagar based start-up that claims to be the first EV-only app-based cab company in Gujarat.
Having covered over 300,000 km using EVs since starting operations in early 2020, the start-up has saved 20,000+ litres of fuel worth INR 16,00,000 while preventing 53,600 kg of CO2 emissions.
Capital EV currently has a self-owned fleet of 51 electric cars comprising of MG e-ZS, Tata e-Tigor and Mahindra e-Verito, and aspires to scale to 500 electric cars by the end of this year. At present, they are mainly catering to institutional clients including a few state and central government departments and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad.
Running electric cars as shuttles on Airport
Adani Group took over the management of Ahmedabad airport in Nov 2020. At that time, a short trip between the domestic and international terminal of the airport would cost the passengers upwards of INR 200.
“We approached Adani to run EVs as shuttles between the two terminals, and they were excited to do a pilot. As a part of the pilot project, we have been running electric cars as free shuttle for customers between the domestic and international terminals for over a month. We have deployed 4 electric cars during the day, and 2 during night shift. For now, the cars are being run on a break even basis to cover the EMIs and our drivers’ salaries. Adani Group is happy to bear the electricity cost for charging”, shares Sanjay.
Charging for these cars is managed on the airport premises itself where a fast AC charger has already been installed by Captial EV, while installation of a Fast DC charger is under way.
The start-up looks to increase the number of shuttles to 16 post the end of three-month pilot. Adani is also considering running similar EV shuttles on other managed airports like Mangaluru and Jaipur, in partnership with Capital EV.
Talking about their immediate plans, Sanjay shared that they are expanding beyond airport shuttle services, and will start providing economical passenger drop services from the airport upto a 700 km area using its fleet of MG e-ZS. The services are expected to start by first week of Feb 2021. Notably, start-up owns 5 DC Fast charging stations in vicinity including Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Naroda, Vadodra, and Statue of Unity to facilitate long trips within Gujarat.
EVs for passenger ride hailing
Capital EV is also working on providing an app-based B2C interface to compete with the major ride-hailing companies. Although all electric cars in the fleet are company-owned at the moment, they soon want to start aggregating the cabs and get Driver cum Owners (DCOs) to join them.
When argued that getting DCOs on board might be a challenge given the premium attached with acquisition cost of electric cars vis-a-vis ICE vehicles, Sanjay points out that adding all operational costs from electricity to occasional maintenance, the running cost for an EV like eZS comes less than one-third of equivalent ICE vehicles. “The aspiration is to offer economical services to customers and make things better for our drivers at the same time. Regular ride-hailing companies charge customers Rs 9 per km on an average, whereas we will charge up to Rs. 6-7 and still be in a position to offer better payouts to our driver partners than others”, adds Sanjay.
Capital EV’s current focus is on building EV supportive infrastructure and ecosystem to make it easier for DCOs to switch to EV when they change their cars next. “DCOs replace their diesel cars every 5-6 years. We are on our way to create an ecosystem consisting of charging facilities and e-garages for EV servicing in next 1 year that will make it easier for anyone to shift to an EV and join us”, informs Dinesh.
Along side ride hailing, the start-up has also launched Self-Driven rental as well as Local and Outstation Pick-up and Drop facilities using its electric cars.
Drivers’ Experience with EVs
Capital EV drivers are loving the experience and comfort of driving the electric cars, and they report having trip-long conversations with passengers answering their questions about the electric cars. Passengers ask them about the range, charging, driving experience of EVs etc. While some drivers feel a little monotonous having the same conversation with every passenger, others are delighted to help spread awareness about clean mobility.
We look forward to following Capital EV’s journey!
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