There is a sudden boom of Electric Vehicle (EV) all over. Entrepreneurs wants to make products, investors want to invest, and many start-ups are already in the race for giving their EV ideas as much priority as they can. Though there are several reasons of this boom be it electricity at subsidised rates, high fuel price, high incentivised government policies in EV or the clean future which it predicts. EV is win-win situation in most cases, Indian needs and want to be new Silicon Valley for EV industry.
From all the others, here we have a candid conversation from one these EV player. Our TimesEV correspondent and Sub Editor Sheeba Chauhan took this opportunity to talk with Girish Nagpal (CEO) and Kaaman Agarwal (CTO), MetroRide and look into their challenging journey as a EV Player and some insights on their future goals.
TimesEV: How is MetroRide making our cities decongested & carbon-free?
Girish Nagpal (CEO) and Kaaman Agarwal (CTO), MetroRide – Urban Transport globally is one of the largest sources of pollution as most of it is driven by Internal Combustion Engines fueled by fossil fuels. Data shows that most people in metro cities use vehicles individually which puts a huge strain on our infrastructure & causes traffic congestion & pollution. MetroRide provides a very efficient first & last mile connectivity solution and hence promotes ride-sharing, electric adoption and makes public transport accessable. We decrease the carbon footprint and traffic congestion not just from the first & last mile but also for longer routes by increasing ridership of public transport. In the last 3 quarters, we saved a Carbon footprint of over One Lakh KG through our all-electric shared mobility solution.
TimesEV: Which technology is used by MetroRide to make the booking experience hassle-free for customers?
Girish Nagpal (CEO) and Kaaman Agarwal (CTO), MetroRide – When we started MetroRide, we wanted every process in this platform to be driven by AI. This is when VIKI, our very own, homegrown AI engine, was born. Viki is the central nervous system of MetroRide, helping us relevant solve business problems. Some of the business problems Customer Adoption, Efficient Routing, Fraud detection etc were solved using this AI engine. VIKI started as an AI-based WhatsApp/SMS-based chatbot. This chatbot was built for users who either didn’t want to install a “New App” on their phones or sometimes did not have an updated smartphone. Using VIKI users were able to give VIKI simple commands, like “Book me a ride to Dwarka Sec 21 metro station” or “Where is my driver” or “Show me my last 5 rides”, right from their SMS or WhatsApp. This helped us improve Customer Adoption right in the beginning.
TimesEV: EVs are basically aiming for a greener environment. Do you think EVs are a sustainable option and are here to stay in the market?
Girish Nagpal (CEO) and Kaaman Agarwal (CTO), MetroRide – Electric mobility definitely is set to transform how our transport & logistics industry operates currently. Not only there are numerous environmental benefits EVs make commercial sense to with way lesser running costs, lesser break-downs and minimal maintenance costs. We are already seeing EV adoption is the first & last mile market for 2W as well as 3Ws and this will be followed by other form factors also following the trend.
TimesEV: MetroRide aims primarily on making the metro commute Cheaper, Quicker & Safer. How will you enter the market with non-metro cities?
Girish Nagpal (CEO) and Kaaman Agarwal (CTO), MetroRide – Metro connectivity is our first use case as we wanted to create a huge impact by not just solving the first & last mile commute issue but also promoting public transport thereby creating a huge ripple effect of sustainable transport. For non-metros also we have a lot of other use cases like bus stations, Commercial hubs, colleges etc which can be connected using our services to help the daily commuter travel in a Cheaper, Quicker & Safer way.
TimesEV: How is MetroRide better than the other competitors already in the market?
Girish Nagpal (CEO) and Kaaman Agarwal (CTO), MetroRide – The way we have differentiated ourselves from our competitors is by creating a niche for the daily commuters. After extensive research we found that the 2 most important KPIs for a daily metro commuter are affordability & wait times. We invested a lot in technology to build our systems in a way that we deliver on these KPIs way better than any other competitor. That clearly separates us from other options.
Since our formal launch, we have served over 200,000 in less than 10 months of operations.
Our solution serves the 2 most critical needs of daily commuters: Affordability & Minimal wait times.
- Our Avg Price has been Rs. 15 (savings of upto 80% compared to other ride-hailing options)
- Our average wait time/ ride has been 2:01 minutes (against 12-15 minutes for other ride-hailing services).
TimesEV : Though MetroRide claims that you are completely pollution-free and you have net-zero carbon emissions. We really want to know the charging method and battery used which can be a major loophole to your commitments to a pollution-free or green environment.
Girish Nagpal (CEO) and Kaaman Agarwal (CTO), MetroRide – This is just a start for the EV revolution & there is a lot of R&D going on, which will push charging power systems towards more efficient & renewable energy sources. Also, there is a lot of work happening to work out better chemistries to ensure the usage of fossil fuels to generate electricity is minimised in the coming years. Even for countries where most of power is generated from fossil fuels like coal, there are clear benefits like no tailpipe emissions & lesser sound pollution. With power systems around the world becoming lesser carbon-intensive, the benefits of EVs will continue to grow & make our world much cleaner. We are committed to that vision & work with the latest technology to provide our customers not just cheaper & quicker but a sustainable solution too.
TimesEV: How you are using IoT to improve your customer experience and reliability?
Girish Nagpal (CEO) and Kaaman Agarwal (CTO), MetroRide – We use IoT in several processes in our business. Some of these processes are:
1) To monitor the driver’s driving behaviour using accelerometer and GPS sensors
2) Identify drowsy drivers using IoT cameras
3) Battery monitoring for efficient top-ups.
4) Customer detection using smart recognition to identify fraudulent rides.
Sheeba Chauhan | Sub Editor | TimesEV