Magenta’s Darryl Dias: Our fleet solution promises plenty

ChargeGrid will set up charging stations for EVET and is largely powered by them.

By Sricharan R calendar 16 Mar 2022 Views icon8708 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

The company’s EVET division plans to roll out over 500+ EV fleets in Mumbai and Chennai using in-house designed fleet management system that provides real-time data for track and trace, and dedicated service support.

Why have you chosen to launch EVET in Bangalore?
As a company, we have ChargeGrid, which manufactures chargers for electric vehicles. While EVET is headquartered in Mumbai, Bangalore is the start-up and technology space. That is the main reason for us to naturally start here. EVET is an acronym for Electric Vehicle Enabled Transport. This initiative is part of our evolution. We started as an employee transport service with electric four-wheelers in January 2021. We partnered with a couple of multinational organisations and then came the lockdown and WFH. This affected our business model. As the situation resumed normalcy, we analysed that period and found the last mile delivery was an option. That explains why we are now foraying into it. Since July last year we have been in the last mile service and cater to FMCG, e-commerce and pharmaceutical companies.

How many of the L5 category fleets are there in Bangalore? What are your expansion plans?
At present, we have around 200 of L5 (electric three wheelers) are in Bangalore for logistics. Our plans are to increase these to 1800-2000 units in the upcoming financial year. We will also have fleets in Hyderabad and Chennai. Pilots are being conducted in Mumbai too. Once Chennai and Hyderabad are opened up, we will be looking at tier 2 cities like Pune, Nashik and Mysore. The vehicles are procured directly from OEMs like Mahindra, Omega Seiki etc.

While New Delhi and the NCR is a huge market, we have taken a strategic decision not to set up shop there. We just don’t want to open in all cities and affect our business viability. It took us 6-8 months to template and build a model of it and launch to multiple other cities. Due to our affinity and proximity to the South, we want to keep the operation tight here. We want to build up the model here and then strategically move towards the North.

What about four-wheeler fleets?
We do have plans to return to that space. But this time around, it is going to be a different model and at different cities. It is not just going to be an employment transport service. We also have a couple of logistics and transportation providers who operate in the B2C segment. We are going to serve them with our electric vehicle fleet which then transforms into eco-friendly transport. Earlier, we started with 15 of them and moved to 100 within a space of three months. Our plan is to add four wheelers to the fleet and this should happen by the end of 2022. At present, we are not in the direct B2C segment where one can be an electric cab aggregator. This is due to the lack of right product fit. Given the range and charging time, it really does not help servicing the B2C. And, it is too early to directly serve the customers.

How does EVET get charged by Magenta?
ChargeGrid will set up charging stations for EVET and is largely powered by them. These chargers are also open to the public and there are a lot of competitors who charge here. We have around 360 charging points and eight charging hubs with a capacity to charge 20-36 vehicles simultaneously in Bangalore. These are used largely by the fleets.  The charging station comes with a combination of AC, DC and fast chargers. At Hyderabad,  we have put up a charging station with Telangana State’s Renewable Energy department. It will be sub-50 in terms of units in Telangana and Chennai.

Where do you keep track of these vehicles?
We have an information center in Bangalore called the ROC – Remote Operation Centre. All the data will be displayed here. At one location, one can monitor the fleets across the country. As regards the EV, it is built with a lot of electrical and electronic componenets and so this sends out data that can be tracked. The dashboard has data from telematics, IoT etc from which one can analyse and even get actionable insights.

A variety of variables right from fleet tracking, managing the charging patterns, discharge level, battery parameters, driver behaviour, etc. can be tracked. This also happens to be one of the key differentiators for us. No vehicle in our fleet is operated without telematics.

Will you also be looking to enter the two-wheeler space?
We did an analysis on the two-wheeler space do not intend entering this for now. We want to do a pilot with one customer and move ahead to scale it up. We have not done it yet.

How much of investment have been made so far?
Magenta was seed funded by Hindustan Petroleum in 2018 and incubated by Shell in 2019. It is also backed by the Microsoft’s start up program further to strengthen its advanced technology platform for Electric Mobility. In 2020, Magenta had raised pre-series funding from JAN (JITO Angel Network) and LetsVenture. In May 2021, Magenta announced that it had closed its Series A funding by renowned an American serial entrepreneur, Kiran Patel. The company is currently in discussions to raise Series B funding in 2022 for product development and setting up charging stations.

What is your roadmap and expectations?
EVET has witnessed two-fold month on month growth since its launch in the Bangalore market. We are committed and on track to grow 20x times in a year. We are working to a budget and are on track.  In one year, we are confident that we will be setting up base at new locations. We are working on some innovative products with regards to delivery. When the pilots are successful, we will be scaling up in other cities.

 

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