Rishabh Sood, CTO, BluSmart, told IANS that from a charging infrastructure perspective, both state and central government response have been great and have floated many projects on a PPP basis.
With the ever-growing customer base, Sood added, it is imperative to have BluSmart’s services up and running with zero downtime and for this, the startup relies on various AWS services to build a strong foundation.
Here are the excerpts from an interview:
Q: What is BluSmart’s USP? How do you differentiate yourself from other players in the EV fleet landscape?
A: BluSmart is the only ride hailing service in the country that ensures zero emission, zero surge and zero ride denials to its customers and zero financial investment from its driver partners.
We believe the source of our sustainable competitive advantage is that we have built multiple small MOATs around various parts of the business, which are collectively keeping us ahead of the curve.
On the customer end, by solving for the core issue of hassles of ride booking, cancellations, surge and unclean cars we have been able to build a very loyal customer base. This hassle free experience of zero surge, zero cancellation and clean cars with courteous drivers being achieved every day repeatedly is starting to become a habit.
On the driver end, by solving for the core issue of driver partners’ inability to buy, own and maintain assets, we have been able to build loyalties on the drier partner side, which is immensely important since they are the brand custodians on the roads and are the ones who uphold the brand promise every time.
On the technology side, by solving for the core issue of “fuel being a constraint” with EVs as against ICE powered vehicles where the ride-hails tech historically has not been required to worry about the fuel inside the car. Building a technology backend which is born electric and takes a full stack approach towards solving for ride matching at scale where no human is required to take decisions and the technology optimally guides the drivers right from picking up customers to reaching the nearest EV charging stations when running out of charge.
On the partner ecosystem side, by solving for the core issue of having partners who have a purpose and a vision that feeds into each other’s ambitions. Having partners like BP Ventures who come with the right global experience around energy and team building.
Having partners like JioBP, which is a JV between Reliance and BP in India and having the backing of the largest enterprise in India in building more EV charging infra. Having partners like Tata Motors, who have decades of experience in automobiles and have taken the right stand when it comes to EVs and is able to support the growth ambitions of BluSmart.
Q: For India to achieve its vision of reducing emission intensity by 45 per cent by 2030 and reach the net-zero target by 2070, EV would have to go mainstream. What are some of the biggest roadblocks you see today in India, be it in the manufacturing, EV financing, regulatory and policy landscape?
A: The country has faced supply and delivery challenges in the past in getting EVs from leading OEMs around the country due to the semiconductor chip crisis in the past 3 years. Since, the supply chain and semiconductor issues have now started to relax, we are seeing an accelerated movement towards vehicle production and delivery.
We believe that the manufacturing of EVs needs to be scaled up massively to support the increased adoption of EVs which in turn will lead to economies of scale. Also entry of established players into the EV industry will provide a variety of options to the common man.
From a charging infrastructure perspective, both state and central government response have been great and have floated many projects on a PPP basis. We have also partnered up with giants such as Jio BP to help our expansion plans and create more charging infrastructure. Ramping up of charging infrastructure will play a key role in achieving net zero emission.
Q: Tell us about the scale of your operations/size of EV fleet in India and your projected growth trajectory over the next 5 years?
A: BluSmart currently operates an electric fleet of 2,200+ EVs on its platform. BluSmart Mobility is the most preferred mode of public transportation across Delhi NCR having completed 2.5 million+ all electric trips, covering over 86 million+ clean kms with over 900,000+ app downloads with an app rating of 4.9 out of 5.0 in the last year. It has the largest fleet of electric cabs and the largest network of EV fast charging stations across Delhi NCR.
On September 26, 2022, BluSmart expanded geographically and started its operations in Bengaluru as its second city. BluSmart is poised to double its fleet by the end of the year and aims to have over 1,00,000 EVs on our platform by 2025.
Q: What has AWS and cloud technology enabled you to do better?
A: AWS is our trusted cloud partner for its feature rich and highly performant ecosystem of diversified services.
With the ever growing customer base, it is imperative to have BluSmart’s services up and running with zero downtime and this is where Amazon CloudWatch helps to preemptively learn metrics breach and remediate the same automatically.
BluSmart uses Amazon Aurora, which is designed for exceptionally high performance and availability at a global scale with full MySQL and PostgreSQL compatibility. We adopted Aurora because it gives us the ability to manage our data at a large scale without having to deal with maintenance and optimizations at our end.
At BluSmart every decision we make is driven by data hence we wanted a petabyte-scale data warehouse service that makes it simple and cost-effective to efficiently analyze data using existing business intelligence tools therefore we decided to go with Amazon Redshift as it provides constant monitoring of operations, logs, auditing, and traceability. We discovered key improvements in cost and performance for improving speed to market and operational efficiency.
During our peak demand periods, we rely on AWS Autoscaling to handle high surge in requests by scaling containers and Database read replicas to provide seamless and elated customer experience.
We at BluSmart are focused on the security of our data, infrastructure and resources and we rely on various AWS security services to build a strong foundation.
We will continue to explore further on AWS in the future, adding new features and capabilities along the way.
Q. In terms of business outcomes, what benefits have you experienced because of running on AWS? Please provide metrics where applicable:
A: We have been able to bring efficiency in handling the demand and process performance by reducing the effort of self managing and monitoring the infrastructure. Without having to spend time on infrastructure engineering, developers are able to focus on the core product development which helps us reach the market faster.
Usage of autoscaling to handle the load of peak and non peak demands efficiently by dynamic scaling up and scaling down of cloud infra on an intraday basis provided a significant cost advantage over maintaining a dedicated infra for peak loads.
Further, periodic snapshots, data replication and disaster recovery strategy helps us mitigate data and infrastructure risks.