Chennai: Recently, the State government announced 100 per cent motor vehicle tax exemption for all-electric vehicles till 31 December 2022. Through the Electric Vehicle Policy 2019, the government plans to offer incubation services and mentoring support to encourage start-ups in electric vehicles (EV).
EVs have become the next big deal. Amidst rising fuel price and slow down in automobile sector, reports have emerged that sales of second-hand cars have climbed and on people opting for rental vehicles.
One such startup that is hoping to make it big is Vogo Automotive Private Ltd. The firm claims to be one of largest scooter sharing start-ups with over seven million rides, 100 million kms covered, 15,000+ scooters and 600+ pick up points.
In a statement, it plans to build pan-India footprint over the next year by adding 1,00,000 scooters to its fleet through their $100 million investment from Ola which has also given them access to over 150 million Ola users to book Vogo. Speaking with NewsToday, co-founder and CEO of Vogo Automotive, Anand Ayyadurai spoke on charging stations, expansion plans and more.
Excerpts from the interview
Q: Performance of the automotive sector is declining on a rapid scale. Has economic slowdown affected Vogo?
A: Our rides are priced at about Rs 6/km. Getting access to a reliable and convenient commute option at such an affordable price has led to more and more people preferring Vogo for short daily trips within the city. Demands are on a steady rise, and we expect this trend to continue.
Q: There aren’t many charging stations for e-vehicles in India. How is Vogo planning to work out this issue?
A: Right now, we are testing out different e-vehicles through pilots to see which of them are the most suited for Indian conditions. Parallelly, we are in talks with OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and civic authorities to collaborate and create charging infrastructure for e-vehicles across the cities. It is very helpful that the government also is keen on moving in that direction, with a vision to make all two-wheelers sold in the category to be electric by 2025.
Q: Share us your future expansion plans for this year. Are there any ideas to diversify into electric cars too? And how has been the response in Chennai?
A: As of now, we have no plans to venture into car rentals. By the end of this year, we are looking at increasing about fleet size to 30,000 scooters across the cities, and in the next five years, we will have a largely electric fleet. Also, we are in discussion with the authorities in Tamil Nadu to expand our operations in Chennai.
Q: Can you talk about some innovative measures Vogo has taken since inception?
A: We spent a considerable amount of time studying the market and the product-fit to serve the demands of the consumers. One the one hand, we had to focus on providing a seamless customer experience, on the other hand, we had to make sure that our assets are safe – this led to a few technological customisations in our scooters, and the results have been positive.