These 4 EV startups raised funding despite COVID-19, economic slowdown

By Trisha Medhi|8th Oct 2020
While the COVID-19 crisis has impacted the growth of EV market, many mobility startups - both two-wheelers and four-wheelers – have managed to raise funding in September this year despite the downturn.
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Over the past decade, India has been witnessing deteriorating air quality. According to the report published by IQAir AirVisual, twenty-one of the world’s 30 most polluted cities are in India. And one of the major sources of air pollution is fuel combustion from motor vehicles.

To solve this problem, the Indian government has been promoting electric vehicles (EVs) to pave the way for clean air. EVs are considered clean, environment-friendly, have less maintenance, low running costs, and most importantly, they do not cause noise and air pollution. 

According to the Indian government, by 2030, EV sales need to reach 30 percent for private cars, 70 percent for commercial cars, 40 percent for buses, and 80 percent for two and three wheelers to advance electric mobility. However, one of the key issues that needs to be addressed on this front is deploying adequate charging infrastructure. 


Under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and EV (FAME-II) scheme, India is looking to deploy nearly 2,600 EV charging stations across the country by end of the year. 

In September this year, the central government sanctioned 241 charging stations in Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Gujarat, and Port Blair under Phase-II of the FAME India Scheme. 

Commenting on this development, Union Heavy Industries Minister Prakash Javadekar had said, “This is a good start. These e-buses, e-rickshaws, e-scooters, as well as e-cars for city use are the best way forward for environment friendly transport. Also, it is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision for eco-friendly public transportation.”


While the COVID-19 and economic downturn impacted the growth of EV market, at the same time, many mobility startups in the country managed to raise funding during the year. YourStory lists four such mobility startups that raised funding in September 2020.

Etrio

Etrio LCV

Etrio LCV

Hyderabad-based EV technology and product startup Etrio raised $3 million from a set of HNI investors in Singapore. The company said it will drive customer acquisition, customer retention, product development, and sales through the funding. 

Founded in 2017 by Sathya Yalamanchili and Deepak MV, Etrio claims to be transforming existing fuel-powered commercial vehicles into electric, paving the way for efficient and eco-friendly transportation. 

Blu Smart

Blu Smart Cab

Blu Smart Cab

An all-electric ride-hailing platform, Blu Smart raised pre-Series A funding of $7 million (Rs 51 crore) from multiple investors including Inflection Point Ventures, Venture Catalysts, Survam Partners, Mumbai Angels, Chhattisgarh Investments Ltd, JITO Angels, Lets Venture Fund, and Kaplavriksh Fund.


Started by Anmol Singh Jaggi and Punit K Goyal in 2019, the startup said it plans to utilise the funding to expand the number of cars on the platform, set up more charging infrastructure, improve its technology, and expand the geographical reach.

Blu Smart claims to have saved carbon emission of about 375,000 kg since 2019. 

Cell Propulsion

Founders Cell Propulsion (L:R)  Nakul Kukar, Paras Kaushal and Supratim Naskar

Founders Cell Propulsion (L:R) Nakul Kukar, Paras Kaushal and Supratim Naskar

Bengaluru-based EV startup Cell Propulsion raised an undisclosed amount of funding in pre-Series A round led by growX ventures and Micelio. Existing investor Endiya Partners, which led the seed round in September 2019, also participated in this round.

The startup said the funds will be used to start deploying powertrains for electric trucks and electric buses with fleet operators, and large ecommerce and logistics providers. 

Founded in 2017 by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) engineers Nakul Kukar, Paras Kaushal, and Supratim Naskar, Cell Propulsion is working on developing integrated electric powertrains for electric buses and electric LCVs.

Ultraviolette

Founders of Ultraviolette Automotive - Narayan and Niraj

Founders of Ultraviolette Automotive - Narayan and Niraj

Ultraviolette Automotive raised Rs 30 crore in September this year by leading two-wheeler and three-wheeler manufacturer TVS Motor Company as a part of its ongoing Series B funding.

The startup said the funding will primarily be used to further accelerate the production of electric vehicles in India.

Founded in 2017 by Narayan and Niraj Rajmohan, Ultraviolette Automotive started by building EVs for the European markets, and later pivoted and focussed on the Indian market. 


Edited by Megha Reddy

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