Oye! Rickshaw To Invest Up To $500 Million Over Three Years On Battery Swapping Infrastructure

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  • It had set a target of deploying 10,000 lithium-ion batteries by the end of this year but the plans have been impacted by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • It is now looking at deploying 6,500 lithium-ion batteries across 5,000 vehicles

Electric mobility start-up Oye! Rickshaw plans to invest up to $ 500 million (over Rs 3,700 crore) in the next three years to set up battery swapping infrastructure for electric three-wheelers across India, according to a top company official. The company, which is backed by investors such as Matrix Partners, Chiratae Ventures, Xiaomi and industrialist Pawan Munjal, will be putting in close to $ 20-30 million between this year and the next to accelerate its battery swapping business.

It had set a target of deploying 10,000 lithium-ion batteries by the end of this year but the plans have been impacted by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now looking at deploying 6,500 lithium-ion batteries across 5,000 vehicles.

The amount to about 6,500 batteries needed to be purchased

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Rickshaw CEO and Co-Founder Mohit Sharma told said that talking about the next three years, the company is going to invest somewhere close to (USD) 400 to 500 million. That’s a big number as it seems but yes, that sort of investment is going to go in and talking about a short term view, means this year or maybe next year, the company is going to invest close to USD 20 to 30 million. The investments will be for creation of battery swapping infrastructure across India.

The company currently has a presence mainly centred around Delhi-NCR and parts of Haryana with over 5,000 driver partners on its shared, electric, micro-mobility marketplace for e-rickshaws. Stating that the battery swapping business is a relatively new one for the company, Sharma said at present close to 250-300 driver partners have onboarded for battery swap. He added that by December 2021, most of the fleet is going to be on swap.The plan is to double up our supply in the next five or six months.The amount to about 6,500 batteries needed to be purchased.

Commenting on the impact of the pandemic, Sharma said when the first wave hit, the company had “complete recalibration of the strategy of how we wanted to move forward. So, the comapny front-loaded the delivery and the battery swap” to aid its ride business and set the target of deploying 10,000 lithium ion batteries and scale up delivery business in 10 more cities.

He said that the company was “completely 100 per cent on track till early part of April 2021 adding that while the delivery business has doubled during the second wave, the rides business was impacted by around 80 per cent as people were not travelling, while the battery swapping has “largely been flat or with a minor impact on it.

Net-net, unlike last year, when the company impacted 100 per cent this year the impact was contained under like 30-40 per cent, he said adding now the company’s target is to get back to the original plans by September 2021.

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