BILITI Electric recently announced plans to set up the world’s largest electric 3-wheeler manufacturing facility in India’s Telangana state. The plant will have a production capacity of 240,000 electric vehicles per year. The new plant is estimated to drive private investment of $150 million and expected to create over 3,000 jobs in the state, aligning with the state’s policy to become a global hub for electric vehicle and energy storage manufacturing. Luxembourg-based GEM Global Yield LLC had earlier committed $400 million to BILITI in the form of a Share Subscription Facility.
BILITI Electric currently operates through an exclusive manufacturing partnership with Hyderabad-based Gayam Motor Works (GMW) for manufacturing its 3-wheelers. BILITI’s Taskman is a popular last-mile delivery vehicle and has been deployed in 15 countries across the globe including Japan, USA, UK, France, Portugal, Germany, Lebanon, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Nepal, Bangladesh, Dubai, and India, and has covered over 20 million miles. In Uganda, BILITI’s electric tuk-tuks have been deployed in partnership with Wasoko, formerly known as Sokowatch. Depending on the model and configuration, the electric tuk-tuk’s Li-ion battery can be fully recharged in 3 hours, offers a range of 100km/charge, has a top speed of 50 kilometers per hour, gradeability of 20°, and a payload of 600 kilogram. BILITI’s SmartSwapp technology allows the vehicles’ batteries to be swapped in less than one minute.
BILITI believes that there is a segment of the 3-wheeler market that would benefit from a hydrogen fuel cell version of its tuk-tuk. BILITI Electric has just unveiled what it says is the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) powered tuk-tuk.
Here is what the press release says:
BILITI FastMile HFC tuk-tuk has a quick refuelling time of less than 3 minutes and offers a long range of up to 130 miles. The vehicle comes with a superior motor that offers a gradeability of 20°, and payload capacity of 1500 lbs. Most fuel cells available today are meant for stationary or warehousing applications, and are not suitable for on-road and mobile deployments. BILITI has successfully integrated all the fuel cell components and upgraded them to automotive standards. The vehicle has been tested for more than 6,000 miles in rugged road conditions.
“This is a major step towards shaping the future of hydrogen energy and fuel cells for global markets. We are transforming the application and commercialization of HFCs by bringing the technology to compact and affordable vehicles as well.” says Rahul Gayam, CEO of BILITI Electric
The main difference is that BEVs contain a large battery to store electricity, while FCEVs create their own electricity by using a hydrogen fuel cell. Global three-wheeler refuelling market is worth $40 Bn annually. At a price point of $7/kg of hydrogen, 3W FCEVs achieve price parity with their conventional counterparts fuelled by petrol or diesel. The value proposition will get much better by the end of the decade when the price of green hydrogen is which is expected to drop to about $1/kg by 2030.
BILITI is making a bet on HFC tuk-tuks perhaps for specific use cases and duty cycles in the last mile and on campus setups, perhaps as manufacturers of forklifts are also looking at HFC forklifts. However, the general feeling around here has been that fuel cell vehicles are probably worth a look for the really heavy goods transport segments such as shipping. Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Image courtesy of BILITI
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