Three Wheels United providing loans for electric vehicles
Three Wheels United now only provides car loans to drivers looking to purchase an electric three-wheeler; however, it plans to expand into the electric two-wheeler market shortly.
Cedrick Tandong, a Cameroonian native, was upset by an autorickshaw driver who, Tandong thought, was overcharging him a few years ago while working for a French firm in Bengaluru. Instead of ignoring the problem, he attempted to discover the reasoning behind the vehicle driver’s actions. “I realised these drivers wake up early in the morning, spend around 12 hours on the road in dusty and loud conditions, and at the conclusion of the day, a major percentage of their profits goes to the person who owns the vehicle”, he continues.”They are an important part of society, yet they are underappreciated.”
Soon after, he co-founded Three Wheels United (TWU) with Ramesh Prabhu, a social entrepreneur who had previously worked in this field. “We realised the fundamental issue was automobile ownership,” Tandong explains.
TWU now assists drivers in purchasing a vehicle or replacing an outdated petrol/diesel autorickshaw with an electric one.
There are around 6-7 million three-wheelers on Indian roadways, with approximately 12 million drivers. According to Tandong, one car is generally driven by two drivers, and at least half of these cars are rented.
Most of these drivers borrow money from family members or moneylenders, and the interest rates are excessive.
Three Wheels United purchased an NBFC (Shabri Investments) and began financing to drivers directly. “We exclusively give loans to those who wish to buy EVs,” Tandong explains. “The objective for providing this loan is to focus on the market and consequently estimate the entire cost of ownership of an electric three-wheeler, which finally has to be less than a gasoline three-wheeler so that the customer saves a penny.”
This also means that the driver will return the loan, usually known as the EMI, on time.
While passenger three-wheeler sales have suffered due to localised lockdowns, commercial vehicle sales appear to be on the rise.
Three Wheels United plans to expand into the electric two-wheeler market in the future. The startup has also collaborated with companies including Mahindra Electric, Microsoft, TERI, and others. Our collaboration with manufacturers like Mahindra and Piaggio have brought reform in imparting drivers and increased efficiency of the cars.
To that end, we collaborate with manufacturers to give more extended warranties and low-maintenance contracts; we also provide drivers with a mobile app that includes a map of charging stations,” Tandong explains.
Tandong continues, “While Covid-19 has delayed Three Wheels United, the objective is to build its vehicle fleet by 10,000 cars every year, reaching 1 lakh cars in 4-5 years.”