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Macquarie's $1.5 bln India EV platform to focus on fleet electrification

By Dhwani Pandya and Nandan Mandayam

MUMBAI, April 22 (Reuters) - Australia's Macquarie Group launched on Monday an EV financing platform for India that will focus 95% of its $1.5 billion investment on electrifying fleets of commercial vehicles.

The platform, called Vertelo, will offer financing, fleet management and charging infrastructure solutions, its chief executive Sandeep Gambhir said at the launch.

The remaining 5% of investment will go towards charging infrastructure and other requirements.

Macquarie had previously said it would launch an EV financing platform along with the United Nations' Green Climate Fund (GCF) targeting initial investments on electric buses, shared fleets and charging infrastructure, but did not give a breakdown.

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The Australian financial services conglomerate's focus on fleet electrification comes as EV sales are slowing down globally, with carmakers resorting to discounts to boost demand.

BP-backed startup BluSmart and Lithium operate a fleet of electric taxis in India, while Uber has also added electric cars in India by partnering with fleet operators.

Vertelo will buy up to 2,000 electric cars from Indian EV market leader Tata Motors over the next three years, and up to 2,000 buses each from electric bus makers JBM Auto and Eka Mobility over the next three-to-five years, Macquarie said in a statement.

The platform has so far drawn equity investments totalling $405 million from Macquarie and the GCF and will deploy $1.5 billion over the next 10 years.

Macquarie in December picked up a minority stake in Indian fast-charging infrastructure provider Charge Zone. (Reporting by Dhwani Pandya in Mumbai and Nandan Mandayam in Bengaluru Editing by Mark Potter)