With major cities in India facing pollution issues, specially in the National Capital, Mahindra group is exploring the possibility of introducing electric kick scooters as clean last-mile mobility solution, according to its Chairman Anand Mahindra. The group is looking at leveraging the strength and experience of San Francisco-based shared electric mobility firm Scoot Networks, in which it is a major investor, for a multi-modal approach of shared mobility to tackle pollution and congestion problems here.
Mahindra along with other executives of the group and Scoot Networks CEO Michael Keating met ministers in the Centre and Delhi government to explore the possibility of bringing shared electric kick scooters here.
"We believe that this vehicle is frankly the best last mile solution, the most clean solution the world will see," Mahindra told PTI here in an interview. Stating that adopting the electric kick scooter would be like "leapfrogging" to mobile telephony from landline, he said, "This we believe is the democratisation of last mile in clean manner, which is good for the planet."
An electric kick scooter is powered by a battery-driven electric motor and can reach maximum speed of 25 kmph. It has a foldable chassis with a large deck in the centre on which the rider stands and its two wheels are much smaller than conventional scooter wheels.
Pitching electric kick scooter for the National Capital, Keating said, "In a city like Delhi, where there is actually more urgency than other cities due to the air pollution and the growing population, this is an interesting option as a way to make things better."
When asked how soon the group could introduce it in India, Mahindra said, "As soon as (it is) feasible, we are looking at all the ways of doing it. We met with an incredibly warm response (from government officials), no cynicism whatsoever and willingness to work together to find the way."
He said the popularity of electric kick scooter has spread like "wildfire" around the globe, largely in Europe and the US.
"I actually think this is going to work better in decongesting our cities with lanes and small lanes and alleys whether it's Varanasi as a city or Chandni Chowk here," he said. Mahindra, however, said it has to be gradually and carefully introduced besides training people in order to avoid accidents.
With Delhi making global news by becoming a 'death trap' due to pollution, he said it was necessary for a shared last-mile mobility solution such as electric kick scooter to be a part of the conversation to address the problem.
Keating said the ease of use for short distances and affordability along with the flexibility to use anywhere without having to plug anything in has made the electric kick scooter popular in Europe and the US and the same could be replicated in India, specially in congested cities.