AI Should Not Be A Force Fit Into Businesses

MetroRide is an AI-powered mobility solution offering a hassle-free commute using shared Electric Vehicles. Dedicated to short rides, it is currently operational in Delhi, Noida and Bangalore, connecting daily urban commuters to high-frequency hubs like Metro Stations, Universities and Corporate Parks within a 5-mile radius. The platform leverages AI and huge data points for analytics to deliver hassle-free experience. We spoke with Girish Nagpal, CEO and Kaaman Agarwal, CTO to get their thoughts on the role AI based apps like theirs can play in the energy sector and the expectations on growth of EV adoption, apart from the company’s plans for the next few years.

Girish Nagpal and Kaaman Agarwal

Q. In recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has gained relevance in a wide variety of sectors. What is the role AI powered apps can play in the energy sector? Which areas do you think it will make, a sizable impact on?

Kaaman: Artificial Intelligence has been a very loosely used concept. It ideally, should not be a force fit into businesses. Instead, AI should be the core nervous system of a business. Now, with respect to energy sector, AI plays an important role in efficiently charging of the batteries and consumption of these batteries.

In case of MetroRide, out of the many use cases, we use AI in areas that effect energy utilisation. For example, we use AI for deep integration of the Battery Management System (BMS) to know the health and charge of the batteries in real time and then we accordingly direct the drivers of the right time to swap or charge the batteries. Also, another area is to create optimized travel routes for the drivers so that they efficiently consume energy.

Q. How are companies like MetroRide helping people make energy efficient choices?

Girish: Urban commute globally, is one of the largest sources of energy consumption and most of it is driven by the fossil fuels. Research shows that most people in metro cities use vehicles individually which puts a huge strain on our infrastructure causing congestion and pollution in our cities.

MetroRide provides a very efficient first and last mile connectivity solution and hence promotes ride-sharing, electric adoption and increases Metro rail ridership. We are contributing towards decreasing the carbon footprint and congestion not just from the first seven last miles but also for longer routes by increasing metro ridership.

Q. MetroRide does aim to strengthen the EV adoption landscape with its electric vehicles. Is there a consolidated plan for pan India? Can you share details?

Girish: MetroRide is a 100% EV platform which supports multiple form factors. We have started with Electric 3Ws but we plan to add other form factors too. We have a plan to take this solution to all the major cities of India and even to selected markets outside India, like North America.

We currently are operational in three cities – Delhi, Noida and Bangalore – and plan to increase our footprint in all the Indian cities with Metro rails in the next three years.

Q. Do you see Indian market for EV riding a high growth curve? What are the challenges in the way of EV adoption on a large scale?

Girish: Any new technology comes with its challenges and EV is no different. Like any typical new product adoption here too we have innovators and early adopters who have already taken the leap of faith. Major challenges like higher costs, lack of charging infrastructure and range issues are being addressed by the industry players on priority and we will see a sea of change in a very short span of time. Centre and State Governments are supporting EV adoption with multiple favourable policies and subsidies. We are very bullish about EV’s future and it’s just a matter of time that we will see EVs becoming mainstream.

Q. Do you see capacity building also as a challenge? How are you confronting these?

Girish: We have chosen the harder path by going electric as we firmly believe that’s a more sustainable option for our future generations. We have been working very closely with different industry partners to create a robust ecosystem for mutual growth. The industry, at large, has been coming together to support EV adoption and this is evident already through the increasing EV sales numbers.

Q. As a company offering clean energy products and services, how are you marketing your services, and what is the value proposition customers will see in choosing these cleaner mobility options?

Girish: The customer today is smart and aware, so we do not really need to sell the benefits of EV. And for them, the value proposition to him is the top-most priority. If EVs give them a cheaper, cleaner, and safer ride the customers will surely adopt. With other parameters being better or at same level, the customers surely will look at a cleaner mode of travel.

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