Three Wheels United, a tech-enhanced finance company has helped 3,000 auto drivers get loans to make a switch from conventional rickshaws to electric rickshaws.
Three Wheels United (TWU), launched in 2009, began as a service company to bridge lending banks and auto drivers.
"The operating model was not scalable due to high operating costs and largely paper-based processes. The re-invention of TWU happened in 2016 when we began to develop technology to scale up,” says Cedrick Tandong, CEO and co-founder.
Though electric autos are more attractive because of a lower total cost of ownership and higher profitability, drivers don't switch as they have difficulty getting loans.
"The financing currently available has extremely high down payment and interest rates, making it not feasible for many drivers,” Tandong explains.
The NGO has helped finance 35 EVs in Bengaluru so far. Ten of the beneficiaries are women.
TWU educates drivers about the subsidies provided by the government. “Since drivers are the most financially vulnerable, it wasn’t easy to convince them to try new technology. We had to get the registration of the vehicles and acquire the relevant documents to make the driver eligible to drive these vehicles as commercial vehicles,” he says.