Interview with Sameer Ranjan Jaiswal, co-founder and CTO FAE Bikes (*)
Logistics/last-mile delivery: what is your competitive advantage?
We are creating a niche for ourselves in the last mile logistics segment. Last-mile logistics using two-wheelers is a $10Bn+ market in India. Converting to electric offers a lot of economic and environmental benefits. Today, the demand conveyed to us from just the top 5 companies who utilize last mile logistics is 100k+. We are currently partnered with 8 companies like Quikr, Zomato & Swiggy (top 2 food delivery companies in India).
We are focused on providing a platform to facilitate the last-mile logistics using smart electric two-wheelers. With this platform, we enable the fleet operators to remain asset-light. At the same time, we take away their headache of vehicle maintenance to focus on their core business. Our partners need not deal with the hassles of paperwork and insurance. We provide a dashboard which allows them to track their fleet utilization and KPIs of their delivery personnel. Traditional mechanics don’t have the skills and knowledge to repair electric vehicles. On-demand road-side assistance gives our partners a peace of mind about using our electric two-wheelers. Our biggest competitive advantage, however, is our charging infrastructure. For many of our partners, their regular run goes beyond the vehicle range. This acts as the biggest barrier in them adopting electric vehicles. Hence, our battery swapping service and charging station network is essential for them to continue their operations.
Could you source all the energy for the chargers from renewable sources ?
India is making huge strides towards renewable energy. We recently crossed 80 GW of renewable energy capacity which contributes to 23% of the total capacity. However, it is currently difficult to source all the energy from renewable sources for the charging stations. Power industry is heavily regulated and power distribution and transmission utilities are natural monopolies protected by the Government. However, it is possible to partner with power transmission companies or power generation companies to source the power directly from renewable sources. But the costs of laying the infrastructure is enormous and makes it practically impossible.
Currently, there is a complete lack of charging infrastructure in India. India’s requirements can be mostly closely compared with China due to similar population. By June 2019, India had just 150 charging station vs 5 million charging points in China. This difference needs to be bridged if EVs are to become mainstream in India. We, at FAE, believe this can be done only by bringing the public as stakeholders into the system. Hence, we are installing charging stations by partnering with the general public and local business owners. This also means that we cannot currently source all the energy from renewable sources as we are dependent on the electricity connections available at their location.
For further reading on this topic, Is India ready for electric vehicles?
I am an investor in FAE Bikes