The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and the Transport Department, Government of NCT of Delhi in India have been carrying out a demonstration project, which is called International Demonstration Project on Japan’s Energy Efficiency Technologies, on an IT operation support system (hereinafter called “the IT system”) for e-mobility (electric vehicles) with the aim of improving passenger’s convenience and transportation efficiency in the section from the nearest station to the destination or from a point of departure to the nearest station (hereinafter called “last mile transportation”). As part of it, Panasonic Holdings Corporation (Panasonic HD), a subsidized company for the project, and ETO Motors Private Limited (ETO Motors), a local cooperating company, have jointly completed introduction of the IT system and started demonstration operation in October.
The demonstration operation is to verify enhancement of both passenger’s convenience and transportation efficiency by introducing and operating the IT system for the e-mobility between departure points or destination points and Kalkaji Mandir Delhi metro station in addition to three other nearby stations (Okhla NSIC, Nehru Enclave and Nehru Place). And the project aims to increase the number of e-mobility and Delhi metro users for last mile transportation through the implementation of its outcome, and to improve traffic congestion and reducing greenhouse gas (hereinafter called “GHG”) emissions.
To mark the start of the demonstration operation, an opening ceremony was held today at the Convention Centre in Delhi, and all parties concerned attended from both India and Japan.
However, the current last mile transportation, such as “auto-rickshaws” of three-wheeled vehicles running on natural gas and the e-mobility is still lacking in convenience and reliability. Thus, local residents tend to use their own cars, taxis, or ride-sharing service, etc. to directly move from the riding point to the destination rather than to fully utilize last mile transportation. It has allowed the traffic volume to significantly increase and rendered the congestion and air pollution much serious, leading to a downward spiral, in comparison with the cases that use public transportation and last mile transportation.
2. Overview of the demonstration project
Subsequently, Panasonic HD and ETO Motors launched*4 a demonstration project last year utilizing the IT system for e-mobility in last mile transportation in the areas around the Kalkaji Mandir metro station. An object of the demonstration operation is e-mobility connecting departure points or destination points and Kalkaji Mandir metro station, including three other nearby stations (Okhla NSIC, Nehru Enclave and Nehru Place). The project aims to enhance both passenger’s convenience and transportation efficiency to increase the number of e-mobility and Delhi metro users by introducing and operating the IT system so it should result in improving traffic congestion and reducing GHG emissions.
The IT system introduced in the project is a cloud system that includes functions of on-demand service management, vehicle arrangement algorithms and battery management. The cloud system loads the authentication and information (charging log) to use the e-mobility charger and the information on e-mobility vehicle/operation such as trip log, operation log and battery data via mobile communication. And it also provides the following functions via three apps for operators (vehicle service operators), drivers and passengers respectively (see Fig.1).
(1) Operator app: Vehicle management / operation, battery management
(2) Driver app: Demand-supply mapping, display of remaining battery capacity information with high-precision, cashless settlement
(3) User app: Vehicle availability information, vehicle reservation,
Panasonic HD has been collecting basic data on passenger services (e.g. e-mobility operating status, time and amount of charging etc.) for last mile transportation utilizing e-mobility while actually setting up the IT system in parallel.
To collect baseline data prior to the introduction of the IT system, Panasonic HD had first created a service environment together with ETO Motors, as well as operationally managed e-mobility and placed charging stations, and then gradually rolled out passenger services since May 2023. At that time, drivers manually recorded e-mobility operation data on papers, such as the number of passengers, trip distance and time, in addition to the time and amount of charging, which was later compiled by the operators as basic data.
Meanwhile, regarding the construction of the IT system, Panasonic HD has been customizing the respective functions of above-mentioned three apps which are the fundamentals of this system, and deleting unnecessary functions and adding new ones, while conducting trial test runs to adjust and improve the coordination between the applications.
3. Future plans
As a result of the project, an increase in drivers’ earnings is expected by enhancing both passenger’s convenience and transportation efficiency in last mile transportation. The project also aims to improve traffic congestion, air pollution, and reduce GHG emissions*5 by stimulating the usage of e-mobility and Delhi Metro for last mile transportation.
4. Opening ceremony to mark the start of the demonstration operation
E-mobility is an abbreviation of “electro-mobility,” meaning electric vehicles. It is a generic term for electric vehicles (EV), electric motorcycles, electric buses, electric trucks, and so on.
*2 Last mile
Last mile is an abbreviation of “last one mile.” In the field of transportation, it means the section from the nearest station to the destination. In this news release, it also includes the section from a point of departure to the nearest station (first one mile).
*3 International Demonstration Project on Japan’s Energy Efficiency Technologies
Project name: International Demonstration Project on Japan’s Energy Efficiency Technologies / Demonstration project for IT system to realize efficient operation management of e-mobility for last-mile transportation in India [Subsidization project]
Project period: FY2021 to FY2023
Project overview: https://www.nedo.go.jp/english/activities/activities_AT1_00175.html
*4 Commencement of the demonstration project
NEDO release (January 5, 2023) “Demonstration Project to realize Efficient Operation Support by IT System for Last Mile Transportation launched in India”
Panasonic HD release (January 5, 2023) “Demonstration Project to realize Efficient Operation Support by IT System for Last Mile Transportation launched in India”
*5 Reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
By introducing the IT operation support system in the demonstration project, it is expected to reduce the direct movement from the riding point to the destination by using private cars, taxis, ride-sharing services, etc., and to promote efficient movement using metro transportation and e-mobility. In the project, the annual reduction of Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the last mile section is assumed to be about 260 tons when using 40 e-mobility units.
Passenger app Sojo for the IT operation support system
Panasonic offers a passenger app for smartphone users that improves their convenience by allowing them to easily reserve e-mobility vehicles and pay fares.
The passenger app offers the following major features.
1) Users can make a reservation in as few as two taps on the app.
To reserve an e-mobility vehicle to take a user directly from their current location to their destination, they can complete the reservation in as few as two taps on the app.
2) Accommodates ride-sharing services for affordable travel.
When making a reservation, the app allows users to choose between a single ride service and a ride-sharing service. With ride-sharing, users can choose their preferred route from a list of preset routes. The app allows up to three passengers to share a single e-mobility unit using the ride-sharing service, saving users money compared to using the single ride service.
3) Reasonable fare and cashless payment
When making a reservation, the app allows users to check the fare and pay using a widely used cashless payment service in India.
The passenger app is only available in the Delhi region, India, and can be downloaded from the following websites. To register for a passenger app user account, users need an Indian phone number.