Electric Vehicles has somehow overpowered the technological barriers and seems to take the roads pretty soon. Electric Vehicles would need charging stations alike gasoline vehicles. Many companies are mulling into the current policies Indian government has amended. But there are few companies who seem to be peppy on this segment. To name one is Exicom, the company has become one of the early companies to station an EV charge station in the heart of the country. Projected to edify few more, the company has envisioned the EV sector while others still finding sneaking space. To pore over, Niloy Banerjee – Consultant Editor of BIS Infotech had a descant with Exicom Power Solutions’, MD, Anant Nahata on company’s ardency in this sector and how they are designing their strategies to foster the EV infrastructure and create a holistic ecosystem for a “Gasoline-Free” future. Edited Nub.
1. With all automobile companies helming towards Electric Vehicles, demand for energy and suitable ecosystem is the initial glitch, How is your company working to outpace these snags?
Answer: We at Exicom are very passionate about EV market and it is on top of the agenda for our organization. We are one of the leading suppliers of telecom Industry for DC Chargers and Lithium ion batteries for stationary applications. We have already installed over 600 MWh of Lithium ion batteries and have supplied & installed close to 200 charging stations in India and will be installing similar numbers in next few months. We would like to continue this legacy by becoming one of the leading suppliers for the EV charging stations and battery packs as well. We are banking on our R & D capabilities to continuously deliver innovative and reliable products. Our quality products are manufactured in India which are well accepted & preferred by customers. We are also equipped with Pan-India Service network to support the customers. We believe as the market grows, Exicom will be one of the leading players in EV Charging Infrastructure in the country.
- How is your company currently posing to drive the EV ecosystem in India?
Answer: Exicom won first-ever EVSE tender issued by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL, a Government of India undertaking) for deploying EV charging stations in Delhi NCR where, we have supplied 125 chargers which include both AC and DC. We are also working and are in discussion with other central and state government entities for the supply of charging stations. Apart from this, we have partnered with many other auto OEMs as well for the charging stations. Exicom is extensively investing on indigenization, local R&D, skilling manpower, proto development of Lithium ion battery packs as well as Battery management systems, chargers with different connectors, testing equipment’s and many more areas.
- Setting up a charging infrastructure is an attractive prospect, given the lucrative market potential projected to be around 90 billion units (BU) of electricity. Though figures are old but for comparison; India generated 1,107 BU in 2015-16 slating the potential of this sector standing in 2018? What business strategies has your company enveloped to stay ahead of the competition in the long-run?
Answer: We have been into manufacturing business for close to 25 years now and have been involved in bringing out the innovative products in the market including our smart charging stations. Setting up of the charging stations is an attractive proposition as these EVs would add to the existing demand for the electricity but we have been into manufacturing of the charging stations where, we support the entities that are into setting up of charging stations in India. We have partnered with various companies and are also in talks with many other companies who have entered or are planning to enter into setting up and management of the charging infrastructure where our role will be limited to supplying the charging stations and providing the necessary support.
- What key challenges do you purview in the current EV market?
Answer: Challenges exist in every sector be it well established oil market where oil prices are increasing making TCO of existing ICE vehicles more expensive or new and emerging EV market where TCO is attractive but the challenge is the sticker price of the vehicle and lack of options in India. We do have challenges in business, policy and technology side of EVs but these are something which will be rectified in the due course of time.
- How ambitious do you think is the 2030 EV target for India? Your comments?
Answer: India is at an early stage as far as mass scale adoption of EV is concerned. By taking numerous initiatives like Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) & Electrical vehicles (FAME), Electric Vehicle Policy by some of the state governments, Smart Cities Mission, Standardization of EV Chargers – Bharat Charger, intent to replace fleet of Govt vehicles with EVs etc. Government has given the initial momentum to EV which will help it reach to early adaptors. This industry (EV) is starting to take off. Although it’s still a tiny percentage of the overall vehicle market but it’s starting to reach an inflection point where it can have a very significant impact globally. As more and more countries are adopting EVs, it will shortly start moving on high pace and India being globally connected economy will reap the benefits of global adoption and it will reach to majority stage in shorter span than other countries as Indian customers will form part of early majority in terms of Global market.
An effective charging infrastructure is required which takes care of ‘range anxiety,’ and the necessary regulations around creating the ecosystem for electrical vehicles to operate smoothly. With easy and affordable access to charging infrastructure—both standard AC charging as well as fast DC charging— customer will be motivated to switch to EV naturally.
Plus there are certain regulatory pieces which need to be fine-tuned. The government is conscious of the uphill task and as we understand that Ministry of Power is planning to amend the Electricity Act 2003 and planning to declare EV charging as a service and not resale of electricity which we feel would be a very good move as amending Electricity Act will open the opportunity for the third party operators to deploy and operate EV chargers which presently is allowed only to the distribution utilities who in turn will be able to focus on their main business of electricity distribution. Opening this opportunity for the third party operators will help in faster deployment of the EV charging infrastructure and creation of new business models. These third parties will give the services to the EV owners/users and can buy electricity through utilities or open access (depending upon load) and tariff of the same will be specified by the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions.
- What will be prospected picture of a holistic EV ecosystem in India in 2018 and maybe a year after?
Answer: India is already setting aggressive targets to bring electric revolution in the transportation space. EESL has already procured electric cars and charging stations to support these cars in the past and are also planning to procure more cars and charging stations in the coming months as well. Many private companies and Government PSUs are planning to deploy either EVs or EVSEs as part of their plan, many State Governments have already started procuring and deploying the electric buses/cars and charging infrastructure to support them. We do see lot of progress in the EV industry and foresee a good growth in the coming years as well. On the policy and standard side, Government is already planning to bring out new action plans and amendments in the existing policies to promote the adoption of EVs in India; Bureau of Indian Standards along with various other Government departments is already working on finalizing the standard for the EV charging stations to be used in India.
- Lastly, do you think how swiftly India can adapt the EV revolution? To add, do we have the suitable resources, talent pool and Govt. amendments placed for the EV future?
Answer: Absolutely, with the push from the Government of India and keen interest shown by the auto OEMs, we are convinced that electric cars will reach the tipping point in the penetration curve in the next few years. We are already hearing that Government is already planning to come out with new policies and amend few of the existing one as well to promote the deployment of EVs in the country.