After entering into the Electric Mobility space, Okaya has started offering solutions from Electric Vehicles and Electric Vehicle Batteries to EV Charging and Battery Swapping solutions. Adding to the commitment towards environmental conservation, Okaya has ventured into the domain of providing affordable, sustainable, and clean mobility to the country via its range of Zero Emission Electric Two-Wheelers. During an interaction with Nitisha; Anshul Gupta, Director, Okaya Electric Vehicles highlights the government policies and the latest trend.
Kindly talk about Okaya Electric Vehicles and its special offerings.
Okaya EV entered with clear goals to eliminate the existing gaps in the EV, more specifically Electric 2 Wheeler Industry today which are hindering the speed of EV adoption in India. Today the key challenges in the Indian EV space are Service, Quality, and Price which Okaya EV has worked tirelessly to eliminate in order to boost EV adoption in the country.
Today Okaya EV offers 3 E2Ws, namely: Faast F4, Freedum, and ClassIQ, with 2 more variants of the Faast in lineup to be launched by Q2 end. The Faast F4, in addition to a host of features and a top speed of 70 kmph, offers the highest range in an E2W in India today delivering 140-160 kms to the charge owing to the highest capacity battery ever fit to an e-Scooter. The Freedum and ClassIQ are targeted towards users who wish to switch to electric for local commute and ease of riding by any member of the family.
With growing EV companies in India, the USP of Okaya Electric Vehicles?
Our USP lies in our lineage, experience, and leadership established over 4 decades. The Okaya group has been at the forefront of Battery, Software, and Technology for over 40 years via its group companies such as Okaya, Okaya Infocom, Microtek, and its subsidiaries. We have been a symbol of trust and a pioneer in not only in the Indian Subcontinent, but in over 50 countries across the globe leading in Battery, Battery Charging, Inverter, Software, EV Charging, Solar & Street Lighting, and countless more products and services. Keeping this under consideration, we found ourselves to be aptly placed to enter into the Electric Vehicle space and with this Okaya EV was born.
It our commitment to excellence whether in domains of service, technology, or battery, which have been the pillars of our organization for decades, that customers have come to trust and rely on which differentiates us from other brands. With our E2W range offering the best mix of performance, quality, reliability, and value for money combined with out after sales support, we are set to lead the E2W industry in India.
What kind of challenges and growth is the Indian EV industry facing? Kindly explain.
- Infrastructure: India being a comparatively new market in the EV segment, for obvious reasons lags behind in the infrastructural sector which is essential for rapid and mass adoption of EVs. Whether it’s the charging infra, battery swapping, or general readiness that eliminates concerns in the mind of OEMs and consumers alike, targeting aspects like range anxiety, readily available spares, a steady supply chain, and uniform power supply across the country.
- Product Design & Development: Even as a handful of brands including Okaya have started designing and manufacturing their own vehicles, the underlying sub-aspects of these such as R&D, mould making, raw material procurement, patents, flexibility of liquidity into future models remains a slow and expensive affair. Although these aspects will blend into the ongoing production line of vehicles made 2-3 years hence, the upfront challenges act as a barrier for new entrants into the OEM space as the ROI (considering funding is a non-issue) alone is distant vision even for brands already established as champions of the Indian 2 wheeler market.
- Technology Availability: It is a commonly known fact, that most technology used in EVs is not indigenous w.r.t. battery and motor especially. For new entrants into this particular field, sourcing of the right technology that trickles down into the product range to offer higher financial feasibility to OEMs is a pivotal aspect which can either make or break the brand. In addition to batteries and motor, what sets and EV apart from conventional ICE bikes are the fact, they are synonymous with gizmos and gadgets, however, retrofitting vehicles with after-market parts leads to more damage in the long run as reliability and warranty becomes an issue; in turn finding companies which offer true technology integration such as IoT based seamless connectivity, BMS, and so on is still a tricky affair as, as mentioned above, India is relatively new in the EV space and many established companies and start-ups are finding their footing into this industry still.
- Cost of Indigenisation vs Cost of Importing: This remains one of the biggest challenges for any new player in the EV space; let us consider Brand A – where vehicles are brought in as CKDs and assembled in India. The cost of purchasing, importing, assembling, and distributing < cost of machinery procurement, mould development, designing, R&D, manufacturing, and distributing done by Brand B. Here, Brand A can operate on an asset light model, where liquidity of all assets held >= investment, whereas for Brand B, ROI will occur 6-7 years down the line considering sales targets are achieved >100% YoY. This is another reason even major brands are still operating on an “Assembly” model over “Manufacturing” model.
- Consumer base, awareness, mindset, and affinity to change: To piggyback on the opening statement – Indian being a new entrant into the EV segment has not reached 100% awareness penetration w.r.t. EVs: existence, differences, benefits, brands, and prices. With the small fraction of consumers still aware of the segment there lies tremendous anxiety and faithlessness in the technology itself as its yet to be proven in line with ICE vehicles. When a customer sets out to purchase a new vehicle, he benchmarks EVs against ICE vehicles of similar properties whether its performance or price – finding vast differences in either (either cost of EV > cost if ICEV in case of similar performing vehicles, or Performance EV < Performance ICEV in case of similarly priced vehicles) eventually causing him to abstain from an EV purchase.
- Government Policies: While the government of India centrally has announced policies such as FAME, FAME 2, and now PLI, the availability and variation in state policies still remains the final component which helps drive the sale home. For example, in Delhi, a 4KWH HSS E2W costing INR 165,000 has a central subsidy of INR 60,000 reducing the purchase price to INR 99,999. Furthermore, Delhi’s state subsidy allows for an additional INR 22,000 subsidy on the same vehicle, making the effective cost to the consumer INR 77,000. This makes the pricing of the vehicle lucrative for the end user, however, the same is not applicable to a consumer buying the same vehicle in Bihar which while has the FAME 2 subsidy, does not carry the additional luxury of INR 22,000 reduction. To ensure, absolute price uniformity at the highest possible subsidy returns, a pan-India state level fixed policy needs to be implemented to ensure uniform sales w.r.t. pricing, which has otherwise left OEMs to hold back supplies and manufacturing in states where policies regarding sales and / or manufacturing are unfavorable.
What are your views on government policies and their impact for the EV industry?
As stated above, the Government is working relentlessly to eliminate challenges related to manufacturing as well as the adoption of EVs in India. While certain challenges exist in terms of uniformity of subsidies, regulatory policies etc. we need to understand that India is still at a nascent stage in the EV revolution. There are many areas of improvement which are already being worked on via policies such as PLI and FAME 2. In recent events, Shri Gadkari ji announced his aim to eliminate the currently existing price parity between EVs and ICEVs to further incentivize users to opt for electric, who currently are holding back only due the high upfront cost.
The policies implemented over the years, from MNRE to FAME 1 and from FAME 2 to PLI have given the industry: OEMs, Component Manufacturers, Technology Firms, and Ends users alike a phenomenal boost and all have benefited significantly causing the shift and acceptance of EV in India which we see around us today. We expect and are sure of the Govt.’s aim and dedication toward India’s shift to Electric.