The multi-billion dollar Causis Impact Investment fund wants to participate in India’s push towards cleaner last-mile mobility by entering the country’s fast-transitioning market for electrifying public transportation.
Causis E-Mobility, an India-registered company backed by the US fund, is planning to set up factories for electric two-wheelers, three-wheelers and buses. The aim is to get into the entire value chain of electric vehicles, right from setting up an 8-gigawatt-hour lithium ion cell factory, four manufacturing plants and charging stations which will use power from renewal sources.
This will call for an investment of $6-8 billion (₹45,000-60,000 crore) in India with 30% of it coming from equity funding and the rest through debt raised locally, Ravikumar Panga, director & MD of Causis E-Mobility said.
The fund is looking to raise $10 billion from investors and has so far raised a few hundred million dollars, they said.
Causis investors include Alex Lao, a Canadian carbon neutral investor; Owen Van Natta, former chief operating officer of Facebook; and former NYSE chief operating officer Lary Leibowitz. The group is chaired by Peter Knez, a former chief investment officer at BlackRock.
“It’s a pure impact fund. We look at RoI differently than typical investors would. How we are planning to invest has a lot to do with long-term strategy for us and not quick moneymaking scenarios,” Ram Tumuluri, the founder and CEO of Causis Group said.
“It’s a 10-year programme and all of our investors are ESG (environment, social and governance) focused. They understand ESG, they understand emerging markets,” he said.
The Causis Group has acquired Germany-based Eurabus for its electric bus technology, which it now intends to bring to India. The company will invest a billion dollars in India towards infrastructure —these include around $200 million in its four planned manufacturing sites, $625 million in a gigafactory and funds to generate renewable energy.
However, a bulk of the funds will go towards funding the financing of electric vehicles, first buses and then three and two-wheelers. The vehicles will not be sold upfront unlike other automakers. Rather, the Causis Fund will bear the upfront cost and the vehicles would be leased out for public transportation or for generating self-employment — scoring on the social count of ESG.
The company has already invested around ₹300 crore in India towards the acquisition of a bus body manufacturer in Jaipur and a 75-acre plot near Pune for its second plant, top executives said.
It signed a MoU with the Maharashtra government in October last year to invest ₹2,800 crore in the state. It signed a similar MoU with the Andhra Pradesh government this month for its third plant. The location of the fourth manufacturing site is yet to be finalised.
The company also won a tender for 700 double-decker electric buses from Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport, for which it bid an amount of ₹56 per kilometre of use. Rival bids were ₹62, ₹117 and ₹173, as per reports. It plans to deliver the first bus by November this year.