Olina Banerji

Staff Writer - Education, Urban Mobility, Environment • India Edition

Based in Delhi, Olina writes about mega-trends in urban mobility, education, skilling and the environment, with a focus on how institutions and innovations can help cities grow sustainably. She is a graduate of the London School of Economics, and has worked previously with India Today and global non-profit Ashoka.

37 Articles published

Top Comments by Olina Banerji

Business model tests for Unacademy’s subscriptions chapter

Hello Sourabh. Thank you for reading. You make a pertinent argument. The edtech work with the assumption that there is little access to quality teaching in schools/physical settings. So while good teachers do exist, they are often inaccessible without the advantages of geography and resources. Edtechs have cracked it to the extent that they've created access. But efficacy is a different matter, and so are potentially non-performing teachers on the edtech platform.

Olina Banerji

Business model tests for Unacademy’s subscriptions chapter

Hi Siddarth. Thank you for reading. You raise very valid points indeed. Especially now, with more uncertainities disrupting the school/prep calendar. It's an ironic twist because edtech firms have tried to trim and trim and unit economics to work. But a more hands-on approach might be required. Rather, a more full stack approach. Unacademy has started offering interview prep as well, as do other platforms. Yes but its still a far cry from what's required.

Olina Banerji

Ola Electric’s anti-ecosystem e-autorickshaw ambitions

Hi Neeraj. Thanks for writing. The costs might come down if the battery is removed from the vehicle. With a swappable battery, a buyer ( auto driver) is not paying for the cost, which is almost half of the EV. The standard e-rick battery costs around Rs 60K. An e-auto battery might cost more. With in-built batteries--ie. Ather's models--battery must make up a significant amount of the upfront cost. For the end user/rider, auto guy might be able to charge less since running costs of an EV are lower, or so the hypothesis goes. But its really about the auto driver's adoption more than anything else at this point. You're right in saying that a govt subsidy might trigger the demand for these vehicles.

Olina Banerji

Ola Electric’s anti-ecosystem e-autorickshaw ambitions

Hi Rajiv. Thank you for reading. It's unclear where they sourced their batteries from for the swapping pilot, but as an executive told me, the batteries are compatible with 10 types of e-ricks. Most batteries are either sourced directly from China, or assembled here in India. There are different types of batteries in India, but no common standard yet. We wrote about this in a previous piece: https://the-ken.com/story/battery-swapping-ev-ambitions/?searchTerm=plug%20in. As far as I know, e-ricks are more interoperable when it comes to different kinds of batteries. There's less risk in switching between types of batteries, though e-rick fleet operators would still like more predictability and reliability from their batteries. Yes, Rs 200 is a per day rate.

Olina Banerji

Charging up the Chetak: Bajaj's path to new mobility

Hi Sreeram, thanks for reading and your comment. The comparison with Tesla was what Rajiv Bajaj made a year ago, well before the launch of the Chetak. By aligning it with Tesla, I believe Bajaj wanted to differentiate itself from considerably lower-performance EVs that flood the market. From a tech, performance and branding spec. We only took that comparison further :) I agree with you that OTA updates etc. will be critical in a connected EV vehicle. and not so much traditional channels of servicing. However, the point made by Tarun-of Ather- is also important. EVs are still new creatures for the average customer. There will have to be some initial handholding.

Olina Banerji

Indian low-cost AQI startups AMBEE, AirVeda's certification up in the air

Hi Rajiv. Thanks for reading. The government equipment, BAM, samplers etc. use actual filter paper to capture particles. The papers are then tested in a lab to attribute a source to the particles found. I think your point B is actually very relevant for research projects. You can check out the ApNA cities programme to see if your city/locality has been mapped. The houses would have to be close by though, or maybe all on a floor. You can check out Sarita Ahlawat's work at IIT - D on this.

Olina Banerji

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