India’s EV Frontier BluSmart’s $25M Boost To Transform Urban Mobility

In a dynamic shift toward sustainable urban transportation, Indian ride-hailing upstart BluSmart is steering a significant course. With a $25 million injection, the company is not just vying with the likes of Uber and Ola but is pioneering India’s shift to electric vehicles (EVs). This funding is earmarked for a critical aspect of EV adoption – expanding the charging infrastructure, signaling a transformative phase in India’s journey towards eco-friendly mobility solutions.

Established in December 2019, BluSmart has rapidly evolved, boasting an all-electric fleet of 6,000 vehicles. This fleet, featuring MG Motor’s ZS SUVs and Tata Tigor sedans, is set to hit the 10,000 mark soon. The expansion isn’t just about growing the number of cars but building the charging network that supports them. This Switzerland-based ResponsAbility fund investment, on the heels of a combined $66 million from recent rights issues, aims to boost the existing 35 charging stations to around 100, a pivotal move in supporting India’s 2030 goal of electrifying 30% of all four-wheelers.

The journey of BluSmart has been marked by resilience and innovation. Launching just before the COVID-19 pandemic, the company faced significant challenges but quickly adapted, gaining traction with its premium, all-electric services in the Delhi-NCR region and expanding to Bengaluru with intercity services. BluSmart stands out with its unique model of scheduled EV rides, diverging from the on-demand model of competitors. This approach has garnered significant user adoption, evidenced by a 600% growth in gross merchandise value and a doubling of monthly active users in just one year.

BluSmart’s financial journey is robust, with $200 million raised in equity and debt and another $200 million in EV asset financing. Initiatives like the BluElite loyalty program have added to the company’s financial strength, offering value-added services for a nominal subscription. Yet, challenges persist. The startup has had to adapt to market pressures, evidenced by its shift from a no-surge pricing model to introducing “rush-hour” pricing. Additionally, plans to raise $250 million in a new funding round were recalibrated due to market dynamics.

In a comprehensive discussion with TechCrunch, BluSmart’s leadership, including co-founders Anmol Jaggi and Puneet Jaggi and BluCharge CEO Tushar Garg, delved into their strategies for leveraging the new capital and addressing market challenges.

BluSmart’s trajectory is more than a business success story; it’s a window into the future of urban mobility. With a focus on boosting EV charging infrastructure and a commitment to sustainable transportation, BluSmart is leading a movement towards cleaner, greener urban environments. As India accelerates its EV adoption, BluSmart is positioned as a key player, redefining the landscape of urban transportation.