The world around us has changed since the COVID-19 outbreak that started in early 2020. Lockdowns have been imposed in several countries, social distancing is being followed in public places and many other changes that we can notice. COVID-19 has also changed the way we commute and travel, with public transport and shared mobility taking a big hit. As a result, mobility looks challenging in the short term. But how does the future of mobility look after COVID-19?
Besides the pandemic, we also have the world economic crisis that has impacted businesses and consumers across the globe. Considering some people will avoid public transport for a while, there is an increasing need for a personal vehicle. But has that improved the car sales? The pandemic has also forced businesses to go digital, so what are dealers and automakers doing to push sales? We answer these questions and more in our new podcast.
In the latest episode of ‘The Counterpoint Podcast’, host Peter Richardson and senior research analyst Aman Madhok discuss the future of mobility after the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion covers topics including emerging mobility options such as e-bikes, e-scooters and electric vehicles. We have also touched upon the types of investments and partnerships that are happening in the industry, and how they will benefit the future of world mobility.
You can also follow our detailed, weekly update on coronavirus’ impact on the global automotive industry here.
The recent ETAuto EV Conclave in Gurgaon was eventful with a focus on the current outlook for electric vehicles (EVs) in India, with various OEMs, suppliers, technology players and industry forums sharing their insights on the trends and expectations for 2020 and beyond.
A summary of the panel topics and key discussions at the event:
Collaboration: The New Wheel of Transition
Rakesh Srivastava, MD, Nissan India, Arvind Goel, MD & CEO, Tata AutoComp, Sohinder Gill, CEO – Global Business, Hero Electric and Director General, SMEV, · Nandini Maheshwari, Director – Business Development, Uber India and South Asia, Sagar Apte, Founder & CEO, CarIQ, Nabeel A Khan, Editor, ETAuto.com (Moderator)
Building a sustainable EV industry will require automakers to collaborate across industries, namely:
Other Automakers – EV development requires significant upfront investments. Automakers across the world are collaborating to share R&D costs, and developing EVs on common platforms. In order to bring timely, new technologies to market, automakers need to be agile, and match the pace of software companies. This requires a massive cultural shift within organisations to succeed in the disruption.
Shared Mobility Service Providers – Will be among the first adopters of EVs and automakers need to collaborate with them, to harness insights on passenger user experience and product customization/improvement of vehicles.
Battery companies – Battery remains the key component of EVs and automakers will need to collaborate with battery manufacturers and battery swapping companies, to save costs and build capacity
Utilities – utility companies will need to prepare themselves to have timely availability of charge. EVs, including Nissan Lea, can also supply to the grid, office or home in cases of emergency. Collaboration between automakers and utilities will be required to plan and better manage electricity utilization.
Government – the EV industry in India is currently at a nascent stage with low volumes. Companies are not investing in EVs on account of lower returns on investments (RoI). The government must encourage stakeholders to a common platform by providing a vision, and support through subsidies, tax exemptions, policies and defining industry standards.
Learn and Unlearn from Top Global EV Markets
Panellists: Chetan Maini, Co-Founder & VC, Sun Mobility, Pankaj Munjal, Chairman & MD, Hero Motors, Ketsu Zhang, Executive Director, BYD India Ashim Sharma, Partner, Nomura Research Institute India, Vinkesh Gulati, Vice President, FADA, Arun Malhotra, Industry veteran (Moderator)
Around 85% of travel in the country is through two-wheelers, three-wheelers and public transport. These modes of transport should be prioritized for electrification over passenger cars.
Taking lessons from the success of e-bikes in Europe, Indian companies can look to promote e-bikes in the country. India being a rural economy, provides a ready potential market for e-bikes
Like Norway, an entire ecosystem for EVs, not only limited to charging infrastructure and batteries, but also including financing and insurance needs to be co-developed in parallel. The government should have a long-term horizon while drafting the polices of EVs.
Future EV solutions should be India-specific. For example, batteries should be robust and able to withstand physical drops and mishandling, should be reliable in torrential rain and high temperature, and be cost-effective.
The government should form an Extended Producer Policy, like western countries, giving the responsibility for EV battery disposal and re-cycling to automakers. Battery recycling should be a focus from the earliest possible stage.
Panel Discussion and Q&A – Decarbonising India through Electrified & Intelligent Mobility
Panellists: Mahesh Babu, CEO, Mahindra Electric, Deepak Jain, President, ACMA and CMD, Lumax Industries, Rajeev Chaba, President & Managing Director, MG Motor India, Chanchal Pal Chauhan, Features Editor, ETAuto.com (Moderator)
Electrification of first mile and the last mile transportation should be the focus of the Indian government. Electrification of three-wheelers is of prime importance for the country.
Awareness about EVs is increasing with increasing pollution levels in the country. Automakers should focus on increasing the awareness of EVs further among the population.
EVs in fleets are already self-sustainable (compared to conventional vehicles) during a 7-8 year period.
It is important for component suppliers to save costs and invest (at an early stage) in R&D related to EVs
OEMs should start to collaborate with stakeholders and take responsibility for EV battery recycling and developing EV technology. For example, MG Motors has partnered with Exicom Tele-System on recycling old batteries at the end of their life and repurpose them in other applications including home inverters, commercial and industrial UPS, and renewable energy storage.
With the Tour de France in full swing, it’s possible to marvel at the power and endurance of professional riders. For normal humans, the ability to ride a bicycle 50km in an hour is almost beyond comprehension. However, the potential to ride at half that speed, more or less effortlessly, across an urban landscape otherwise snarled with motorised traffic, is within reach of anyone that can use an e-bike.
E-bikes have long been a common fixture in Chinese cities. They’re now becoming prevalent in many other countries around the world. Europe has seen a surge of interest in e-bikes. Their diversity in design and innovation in usability, has also surged. My father is now 88 and had given-up cycling due to the hills in his neighbourhood that he was no longer able to ride up. He discovered e-bikes and is now able to continue riding to his local village to buy his newspaper and other provisions.
Looking ahead, increasing urbanisation and a desire to move away from cars for motorised transportation are opening opportunities for these alternative types of vehicles. Low Speed Electric Vehicles (LSEVs), particularly e-bikes and e-scooters, are uniquely positioned to be a primary benefactor of this trend. They are low in cost relative to cars, require minimum or no licensing and are a sustainable means of transportation, able to leverage existing and future mainstream EV charging infrastructures.
Urbanisation is one of the core, global megatrends that is and will continue to shape many aspects of society, policy and technology. 55% of the world’s population, or 4.2 billion people, now live in cities. In 1950 it was 30% and the proportion is expected to reach almost 70% by 2050. Already today North America, Latin America, Europe and Oceania have reached or exceeded that level.
As cities grow people need to move around to find work. The total number of vehicles on the roads therefore continues to increase. Traffic congestion results in lower mobility and increased transport and pollution costs. Such a situation creates favourable conditions for new urban transport solutions, including LSEVs. A German federal environment agency study revealed that LSEVs such as e-bikes are faster than cars for distances of up to 10 km (6.2 miles) in urban environments.
Counterpoint Research has just published a new report that looks in detail at the LSEV market, with a particular focus on e-bikes. It highlights the impact of technological developments on core electrical components such as electric motors and batteries and outlines how innovation in the integration of display/control units with advanced drive systems as well as external devices such as smartphones is enhancing the riding experience and transforming e-bikes and other LSEVs into truly connected vehicles.
The e-bikes market is likely to grow steadily over the next several years and is expected to be worth over US$30 billion by 2025. For more information on the report please contact us.
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