Clearer Policy Formation is Needed for Transition to e-Mobility in India: Co-founders, Repos Energy

The talks about e-mobility has considerably increased in the last couple of years. The governments across globe are trying their best to promote e-mobility and in the process, incentivizing the adoption of electric vehicles. However, when we look at the current scenerio in India, forget about electric, a major part of rural India, even today, does not have easy access to energy fuels like diesel and petrol.

The Indian Oil Marketing companies recently invited an Expression of Interest (EoI) from startups to enroll as FuelEnts thereby facilitating the delivery of diesel at doorstep. In the process, Repos Energy, a startup owned by a Pune-based young couple, is changing the game of diesel distribution in India by creating an ecosystem of not just IoT but manufacturing of mobile petrol pumps.

Aditi Bhosle Walunj and Chetan Walunj, Co-founders of Repos Energy talk to MediaCatalyst about their startup and the doorset diesel distribution ecosystem they are trying to create through mobile petrol pumps.

Here are the excerpts from the interaction.

We are witnessing a shift towards e-mobility. In the scenario where electric vehicles look like the future and a pertinent need, how viable is the business of mobile petrol pumps?

Aditi Bhosale Walunj: TRUE. The shift is inevitable and a very welcome one. But then again we have to look at the broader energy consumption patterns of India. If we look at the data, we find that private vehicles account for only 13% of the overall diesel consumption in India. Similarly, figures are low for other types of vehicles in the transport sector. Moreover, this market of Doorstep Diesel Delivery has opened up the Government of India to cater to the consumer who faces difficulty in procuring diesel through traditional channels like agriculture and mining.

Now, coming back to e-mobility, we have to look at the infrastructure that is in place to enable this shift. Currently, India has 200 EV charging operational stations. Recently GOI has sanctioned 2877 charging stations, but still, the infrastructure required for a country as big as India is huge and we would take some time getting there.

Meanwhile, Mobile Petrol Pumps which are a technology product are going to cater to this demand by leveraging IoT, cloud, and block-chain to eliminate inefficiencies from the energy procurement methods and generate value for all the stakeholders involved. 

What are your views on the electrification of mobility in India? Is India ready for it?

Chetan Walunj: Electrification of mobility is the need of the hour. But at the same time, we cannot ignore other novel sources of energy like LPG, CNG, and hydrogen fuel cells. Remember, all these sources are cleaner than diesel, but at the same time ensuring that these energy sources are available to the masses for consumption remains a challenge. Why cannot we ignore these fuels?!! Because the transition to e-mobility is not going to happen overnight. A lot of groundwork needs to be done like clearer policy formulation: incentives and subsidies for buyers and producers, making EVs cheaper for Indian masses, etc. As mentioned earlier, we are still some distance away from achieving that goal and in the meanwhile traditional sources of energy are going to stay vital for a growing India.

Your business model is technologically driven. To what extent and how?

Chetan Walunj: The Mobile Petrol Pump that is at the center of this revolution is a technology product. It comes equipped with advanced features like Double dispensing units, brake interlock, and geo-fencing. Moreover, to increase transparency, all the transactions will eventually happen on the block-chain. To provide better visibility of diesel consumption patterns our platform leverages IoT to seamlessly connect multiple assets and secure data over the cloud. All this leads to a more efficient solution for energy procurement.

What gave birth to the idea of door-to-door diesel delivery and what were some of the initial challenges that you faced?

Aditi Bhosale Walunj: Chetan and I have always had a dream of creating something worthwhile in this world for humanity. Although, we were never saints to preach an ideology like that. Being the business people we are and the background we come from, we wanted to conduct our business with the same ideology. So while troubleshooting the traditional problem of diesel procurement which included issues like spillage, pilferage, and dead mileage which was majorly affecting the carbon emissions releasing every day and contributing to the pollution, this idea struck us. 

The only challenge we faced was to convince the Government. We only had to do a little work with the Government regulations and convince them that the Doorstep Diesel Delivery is a sustainable model and would empower India.

Repros Energy has recently bagged good funding. What do you plan to do with it?

Chetan Walunj: We are still raising funds. We are planning to raise 30 mn dollars and of course we would use them to scale our business up. 

You are committed to reducing carbon emissions. Tell us a little about it.

Aditi Bhosale Walunj: Our business of doorstep diesel delivery is led by the vision of reducing carbon emissions by creating an efficient ecosystem of diesel distribution. The diesel distribution in India faces many challenges such as spillage, pilferage, and dead mileage which all lead to higher rates of carbon emission. Using the Repos Mobile Petrol Pumps and bringing diesel distribution to industries on a digital platform helps us reduce carbon emissions across the country.

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