Indian ride-sharing company BluSmart said it was adding hundreds of new EVs each month in order to rival Uber and Ola in the electrification of India’s taxi market, the Financial Times (FT) reported.
Founded in 2019 and backed by BP’s venture capital unit, the ride sharing company operates 4,500 electric cars in New Delhi and Bengaluru.
Its fleet is made up of EVs made by Tata, MG Motor India and BYD.
Punit Goyal, co-founder of BluSmart, said the company planned to add between 600 and 800 cars a month in order to keep up with its rivals.
“It’s a huge, huge opportunity for the EV space, for ride hailing companies to switch to EVs,” he said.
Uber and Ola have reportedly faced challenges in maintaining consistent service in India, with customers becoming frustrated by cancellations and unpredictable service. According to the FT, BluSmart has now risen above both in the EV segment of the market.
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Low pay has also left both Uber and Ola drivers dissatisfied with an increasing number dropping off the platforms.
However, BluSmart incorporates an expensive business model in which it buys its own vehicles and then contracts drivers to drive them.
The FT reported that “the company has raised more than US $120m in equity and debt from investors including BP Ventures . . . and Bollywood star Deepika Padukone.”
The loss making business earns annual revenues of US$40m. Goyal said it aimed to be “ebitda positive” by the end of 2023, adding that the company had financing for 15,000 cars and was in talks with investors to raise funding to up this to 25,000.