Founded by Amit Lakhotia in 2019, Park+ is an app for car owners that solve the daily challenges faced by car owners – ranging from parking, FASTag management, car insurance, automated vehicle access control systems and EV charging stations. Park+ is present in 2,500+ residential societies, 50,000+ parking areas, 250+ offices, and 35+ malls across 15 major cities in India, including Delhi NCR, Mumbai, and Bangalore. During an interaction with Nitisha; Amit Lakhotia, Founder & CEO, Park+ shared his agenda to install and activate 10,000 EV zones as soon as possible.
Kindly talk about Park+ and its special offerings.
At Park+, our aim is to bring delight back to car ownership by solving the daily hassles faced by car owners. We have taken something that has historically been painful & intimidating – finding a parking spot, tracking challans, FASTag recharges and troubleshooting, car cleaning services and made it effortless. Park+ today hosts the largest community of car owners on its app – 50 lakh car owners. We are currently present in 15 major cities, including Delhi NCR, Mumbai, and Bangalore. Our super-app approach and robust user base enables us to enhance the “car ownership experience” for users across these cities on a daily basis.
Recently, Delhi Government announced an agenda of 18,000 public and semi-public EV charging points and battery swapping stations by 2024. What are your views on it?
We recently concluded our inaugural Carbon Se Azadi Mahotsav (Delhi), where we took on the challenge to activate more than 10,000 EV zones by 2024. These EV zones will mirror petrol pumps, where cars and two-wheelers can be charged, the user can enjoy F&B services, get a car/bike wash, and use clean/safe washroom utilities. Delhi is one of the densest markets from a car ownership point of view and has the potential to lead the EV narrative, compared to other Indian cities. Having said that, the recent interest, willingness, and intent shown by the govt to develop its EV infrastructure is the right step in the right direction. Setting up 18,000 public/semi-public charging points is an achievable target. As the largest EV installation player in the country, we are optimally placed to nurture, develop, and strengthen Delhi’s EV infrastructure.
Delhi aims to achieve one public charging point for every fifteen EVs by 2024. How can we achieve these numbers? Kindly throw some light on it.
One charger per 15 EVs is the right metric at an aggregate level. However, it will require significant allocation of resources, political will, and stakeholder commitment. The primary challenge to solve will be the optimal asset utilisation of these charging stations, considering their geographically scattered asset base. A similar challenge was faced by the Indian telcos players while setting up their network, in the late 90’s. They solved it by large scale infrastructure deployment for network sites followed by the gradual optimisation of assets over a period of years. Efficient asset utilisation drove profitability and attracted investment. Similarly, a successful, efficient, and profitable EV charging network will depend on three things- right locations for EV zone installation, discoverability of the infra to the end users and a smooth-running operation on site. We at Park+ are solving all three problems and are already partnering with various EV charging infra players & OEMs to reduce their go to market timelines. Some of our marquee EV partners include- Bounce, Bolt, Ather, Zypp, Zyngo, Battery Smart and goEgoNetwork.
After installing the 75th EV Zone in Delhi, what will be your next agenda?
We are striving to play a pivotal role in marrying technology, boots on the ground and policy interventions to unlock value for our users, business partners and government agencies. As the largest EV charger installation player in the country, we envision that EV charging points will evolve into charging zones. These EV zones will mirror petrol pumps and mature into zones, where cars and two-wheelers can be charged, the user can enjoy F&B services, get a car/bike wash, and use clean/safe washroom utilities. Each EV zone will have approximately 3-5 charging points for both two wheelers and four wheelers. Like I said earlier, this is just the beginning, and we plan to double down our efforts to install and activate 10,000 EV zones as soon as possible.
What kind of challenges the EV industry is facing and what are your expectations from the government?
The following challenges exist both on the supply side and demand side-
Installation & Supply side:
- Real estate: Finding safe & accessible real estate locations to install EV charging stations is a major challenge, as it comes with its associated cost. Additionally, finding and activating prime (high EV footfall) locations where EV users can charge their cars/two wheelers is a major challenge. Various commercial models and different types of real estate locations add to the chaos. No standard guidebook exists, which can be used by all stakeholders for rapid deployment.
- Awareness & education: Lack of awareness with respect to types of charging points (trickle charge, AC charge, DC charge). No universal charging point consensus exists, which adds to the confusion.
- Installation & maintenance: Requires a dedicated and hyperlocal engineering team to setup/manage charging infra. Additionally, 24×7 uptime required IOT based advanced monitoring and agile/skilled on ground teams. Which turns into an expensive proposition if done in isolation by individual EV players.
- Electricity grid management: Grids need to be updated and strengthened to withstand the additional load from the EV charging network. Furthermore, load assessment needs to be done locally to address gaps.
- Fragmented Demand: The Indian EV story is still unfolding. It’s a chaotic mix of two wheelers, three wheelers and four wheelers. In other words, a fragmented market where the consumer is not sure what to buy and why to buy an EV.
- Discoverability & stickiness: Unlike petrol pumps, EV charging zones have not yet reached the desired penetration rate of at least 1 EV zone, within a 500-metre radius. This lack of discoverability/visibility leads to apprehension and reduced stickiness among EV users. According to a recent on app survey done by us, we found that 80% Gurugram residents were planning to buy an EV (two/three-wheeler), however both their residential location and offices did not have EV charging points. Which resulted in them delaying their purchase.
- Payment system: Seamless payment options will also need to be embedded in the EV charging network ecosystem to ensure customer satisfaction and reduce payment anxiety.
- Customer Delight: There is immense scope in developing an unparalleled EV customer experience, starting with the EV they buy and the EV charging network they use.
Governments at both the central and state levels have re-energised their policy incentives, approval processes and GST process, enabling EV players to unlock their latent potential. However, they need to create and announce a unified EV policy, empowering stakeholders to work together from across state borders. Additionally, a conducive environment needs to be provided to trigger public-private collaboration, tech innovations and investments.
Kindly throw some light on shared mobility and its benefits.
Growing disposable income, limited public transport infrastructure and the demand-supply gap which exists in India has provided the Indian shared mobility sector a golden opportunity to reach nearly 15 crore users by 2025, according to a research report by RedSeer. In the foreseeable future , shared mobility will witness greater democratisation, higher penetration in urban/semi-urban regions and higher investments in the sector. The shared mobility fleet size in India is forecast to grow ~1.5x from 7 million in 2021 to ~10 million by 2027. More than three million drivers across various platforms can be expected to reap the benefits of employment provided by shared mobility start-ups.
Lastly, the Indian shared mobility story is being written by two-wheelers and three wheelers (bikes, autos, tuktuks). This business vertical will keep evolving and growing to meet the Indian customers’ demands.
How is Park+ different from other service providers? Elaborate
At Park+ our main business objective is to enhance the car ownership experience for our 50 lakh users. We consider ourselves at the core of the car ownership ecosystem, with other allied service providers like- Auto OEMs, car insurers, after sales service providers, maintenance providers, car dealers and banks, providing a support structure. While all our partners are solving one specific problem for car owners. We at Park+ are enhancing the car ownership experience for car owners, throughout the life cycle of their car. We connect with our user and his/her car almost every day, starting with- a carwash, parking, FASTag recharge, challan updates and more.
Having said that, our partnership with these stakeholders is very deep as we offer them access to the largest online community of car owners, incomparable to any other platform in India right now. We are a super app for car owners and our aim is to bring delight back to car ownership by solving the daily hassles faced by them.
Kindly talk about future marketing strategies and upcoming projects.
Interestingly, we have never invested in marketing and advertising in the past. All our growth has been driven by word of mouth, backed by executional excellence. Having said that, we are now in the process of building a dedicated marketing vertical to address the exponential growth we have witnessed and accelerate it further. We today host the largest community of car owners in India on our app – 50 lakh car owners. Park+ is present in 2,500+ residential societies, 50,000+ parking areas, 250+ offices, and 35+ malls across 15 cities, including Delhi NCR, Mumbai, and Bangalore. Some of our marquee EV partners include- Bounce, Bolt, Ather, Zypp, Zyngo, Battery Smart and goEgoNetwork.