Invariably the topic comes up for the lunch. As you munch on that crispy weekend pizza delivered at your home, you bring up the subject and receive an instant answer from your better half, “CNG to hey na.” (“Well, there is the CNG”).
And you had not thought of that before!
This is exactly the kind of situation where Monish Khosla wants to chip in with his branded CNG kits (Compressed Natural Gas kits) from Certified CNG, a firm based out of Mumbai.
Well, CNG nowadays is the talk of the town. With petrol prices going up, and city driving getting messier day-by-day, not to speak of the pollution, people are seeking alternatives. Invariably the subject, as we have seen, comes up for a discussion while you munch the lunch or eat the dinner.
(For the burgeoning middle class of India, decisions pertaining to their favourite ride are a collective one.)
And when they think of CNG, Monish Khosla wants to them to think of Certified CNG.
An MBA from US, Khosla was a product manager with a telecom firm in Canada. He spent close to a decade there. So, when he came back to Mumbai, he found everything had changed beyond recognition.
“I heard people complaining about rising petrol prices, and suffocating pollution,” Khosla said. In effect he saw an opportunity abbreviated in three letters: CNG (Compressed Natural Gas). He saw the pain point, he envisioned a blue ocean! After all, he comes from a family of entrepreneurs.
“My family is having a retail business in automobile parts. So, it was quite natural for me to think of a business related to automobiles. I went back to Canada and did some research on CNG with a team, and found that CNG penetration in India is quite low. Besides, CNG is cleaner, cheaper and safer providing a golden opportunity,” he noted.
He also saw that it was the local garage guy who usually attached a CNG kit to your vehicle. “And he is not certified to do that,” Khosla pointed out.
Certified CNG has a unique business model. One year into operations, Khosla’s firm plans to open 40 Certified CNG Retail Stores and 15 Certified Car Care Workshops in Mumbai.
At the retail store, one can book for and buy a CNG kit (imported from Europe) and at the workshop, it could get installed with trained professionals carrying out the job. Both wings are mutually exclusive and one may not find both of them in the same place.
“The retail stores are envisioned to be at places where there are maximum footfalls, and the workshops would come up in places where people would find it convenient to install and service their CNG kits.” The workshops are in a way strategically located.
Of course, once you are in touch with a Certified CNG store, a service advisor will be in touch with you. He would see to it that the car is taken to the workshop in a responsible way and get it installed with CNG kit.
“It may take 1-2 days for the installation depending on the car model and other specifications. Mostly we get this done in a day. Besides, a mobile mechanic would also be at your service when and where you need it,” Khosla assured. His next aim is to bring down the installation time to four hours; sort of pit stop installation.
He knows that nothing is much more satisfying than instant gratification in a busy world.
“The current model has received good response from Mumbaikars. Subsequent to the consolidation of Mumbai operations, we would go ahead with pan-India expansion,” Khosla said in an upbeat voice.
While Khosla aims to build the entire eco-system of his business from scratch, he vows that making money is not his primary intention.
“My business is not oriented towards the balance sheet. It is intended to create a social impact,” Khosla stressed. “Of course, money is a factor; but it is not the most important factor,” Khosla added.
By tying up with educational institutions, he also intends to create specialists in CNG installation and service techniques.
With the spectre of global warming looming large, policy climate is also conducive for Khosla’s initiatives. For instance, New Delhi has converted its public transport buses to CNG base. The trend is fast catching up and even vehicle manufacturers like Tata Motors and Honda are increasingly coming out with CNG based cars.
Will not that be a threat to Khosla’s venture? On the contrary, he thinks it is an opportunity!
“The Original Equipment Manufacturers have limited the mix of CNG enabled cars to 10%. The rest are petrol cars. And every petrol car presents itself an opportunity for a CNG kit installation,” he said.
Though he did not reveal the details, he is scouting opportunities to tie up with passenger car manufacturers to get their CNG initiatives outsourced to him.
Khosla says that despite the proposed natural gas price hike to around $8 by India government getting effected, CNG vehicles would still be able to save at least 60% in fuel costs compared to petrol cars.