IFC set to back EV fleet operator Lithium Urban Technologies
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International Finance Corporation, the private-sector investment arm of the World Bank, is looking to invest up to $8 million (Rs 53 crore) in electric vehicle fleet operator Lithium Urban Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

IFC said in a disclosure that the proposed investment is part of a bigger round, which will also see other investors infusing capital in Lithium Urban. The investment proposal will be placed before the IFC board on 29 May.

Lithium Urban was founded by Sanjay Krishnan and Ashwin Mahesh in October 2014, and started operations in July 2015. Krishnan, a bachelor’s degree holder in electrical and electronic engineering, was a senior director at Honeywell, while Mahesh, a technologist and public policy researcher, had also co-founded social technology platform Mapunity.

Lithium Urban provides employee transportation services to IT companies in Bengaluru and Delhi-NCR through a fleet of 350 electric vehicles, fast charging infrastructure and integrated fleet management technology.

It follows an asset-heavy model, wherein it purchases vehicles and has its own drivers. The company has plans to expand its services in Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai.

Recently, IFC had supported solar power projects at the 750-MW Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Park in Madhya Pradesh. Its board had approved the $51-million debt financing to Mahindra Renewables Pvt. Ltd to construct a 250 MW solar power plant in the solar park.

The board had also approved a $60.5-million loan, each, to two other developers – ACME Jaipur Solar Power Pvt. Ltd and Arinsun Clean Energy Pvt. Ltd – located at the mega solar park to set up 250-MW units, each, according to the disclosure by IFC.

It is also providing a loan of $153.41 million to Aditya Birla Finance Ltd to fund renewable energy projects.

Electric fleet

In February, Bengaluru-based fleet operator Bhaghirathi Group had ordered for 1,000 electric vehicles from Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd.

Earlier this month, homegrown cab-hailing major Ola had announced Mission Electric, a programme to launch 10,000 electric vehicles, most of them three wheelers, over the next 12 months.

Ola had also launched a pilot ply electric vehicles at Nagpur in May 2017, but it still faces a few challenges, according to a Reuters report.

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