CESL recently floated a tender for 1 lakh electric three wheelers. Acharya added that this was only the first of three similar-sized tenders that it is planning to float by 2023
As the efforts to promote electric mobility picks up pace in the country, state-run Convergence Energy Services Ltd (CESL)’s head has revealed that the company is looking to procure and sell at least 3 lakh electric three wheelers by 2023.
In a conversation with the Economic Times, CESL MD and CEO Mahua Acharya said that the company will also need to raise funds worth $1.5 billion in the upcoming years in order to achieve its electric mobility aspirations.
CESL recently floated a tender for 1 lakh electric three wheelers. Acharya added that this was only the first of three similar sized tenders that it is planning to float by 2023.
“The demand has been very strong. This tender is only one of the three that we would be conducting as we have still not addressed a number of sectors where we see significant demand,” Acharya said.
“The trend is that cities want garbage collection vans to be electric as they are cheaper to operate. So we are expecting the next tender to be largely for garbage collection itself.”
The publication further said that CESL is also eyeing the two wheeler segment where it wants all government employees to have the option of either buying a new electric two wheeler or replacing their existing petrol powered vehicle with one.
They have received strong feedback for that too in states like Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Goa. Further, the company is also looking at the allocation of electric buses in the 9 main metros of the country.
“It is clear that we are going to need funding. We are in discussions with our parent company, but also in the market where an investment banker is helping us, looking at NBFCs and at every option. For two and three wheelers alone, we will need about $ 1 billion in funding. If we add buses to the mix, then that goes up to about $ 1.5 billion.”
Besides the need for funding, there are a couple of other roadblocks that CESL is facing. One of them is a potential low capacity in the industry which is due to lack of players.
“I am actually worried that there are not many players around in the market. The biggest player in the market (Bajaj Auto for three wheelers), does not even have a product (e-3wheeler),” Acharya said. “I am hoping that the scale of our tender gives the signal for more players to enter this market. We are just getting started. I want more companies to step up as it would not be a flourishing market if production capacity of these companies do not keep pace with what the market needs.”
CESL also wants charging infrastructure to develop fast so that two and three wheeler owners get a charging point every 4 kilometers but Acharya admits it needs some push.
“Charging is part and parcel of the project and we are not looking at it separately. It is very clear that if we do not have enough chargers,” she said.
“We have faced so many obstacles that we think charging needs a little bit of a push. We also want to look at swapping because it changes the total cost of ownership significantly. Infact in our current tender, most of the three wheelers are for swappable batteries.”