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)
- Software companies – Most EVs will be connected and have partial autonomous, V2X features requiring automakers to collaborate with software/IT companies.
- 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
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
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.