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Pit-Stop With Innovators of the EV Industry

EV INDUSTRYPolicy, implementation, technology know-how, charging infrastructure and importantly cost, these all aspects plays an instrumental role to the growth of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in India. Leading countries in electric mobility use multiple paradigms such as fuel economy standards coupled with incentives for zero- and low-emissions vehicles, economic instruments that help bridge the cost gap between electric and conventional vehicles and support for the deployment of charging infrastructure. Though Europe and USA leads on the global EV fleet, India has laid an ambitious blueprint to put the ignition for Electric Vehicles on the roads. In 2017, India’s Transport Minister, Nitin Gadkari baffled the automobile industry when he officially announced his intentions to transit towards 100% electric cars by 2030. Though the new proposal is to have only electric three-wheelers operating in the country by 2023, and only electric two-wheelers by 2025. India is set to turn heads of the economic power house countries with buoyancy towards EVs. Given the entire scenario, this is all going to happen, if just not the automobile industry is ready for it but the wholeready innovation of the technology sector. From chips to design, prototype to reality, standards to global accreditation everything has to come into the assembly area to make a the production of EV viable for the Indian market. Here in this article, I spoke to few companies and innovators in this space to understand the current market scenario of EV and way forward standing in 2020. Here is what I electrified during an interactive notion with R Vijayalayan, Manager, Automotive Industry Field Application Engineering Team, MathWorks India, Tushar Sambharam, India Electrification Lead, Ansys, Amit Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO of Yulu bikes and Supria Dhanda, VP and Country Manager, Western Digital India.

Status of Electrification of Vehicles in India

The growth of electrification emotion has grown enormously but what is the actual long-way vision drawn for EVs in India. In which, R Vijayalayan from MathWorks states, “We believe vehicle electrification will continue growing rapidly, which is supported by the recent SMEV report noting that the sales of electric vehicles in India was up by 20% in 2019 – 2020.”

Supria from Western Digital India asserts, “In India, the industry is working in tandem with the government to make itself one of the biggest electric vehicles (EVs) markets globally. There is a positive push in this segment as it reduces dependencies on fossil fuel and more importantly – it is environmentally friendly. The government’s target of 30% EV adoption by 2030 is projected to be powered primarily by electrification of two-wheeler, threewheeler, and commercial vehicles in India.”

Whereas, Tushar from Ansys, talking about the unprecedented transformation, he believes, “The global automotive industry is undergoing unprecedented transformation. Disruptive trends like Electrification are changing companies, industries and customers. In India at this stage, while four wheeler buyer may take some time to adopt due to range anxiety and initial cost barriers, the commercial vehicles are relatively adopting faster to electric mobility. Short range 3-wheelers running on battery swapping technology hold a lot of promise as well. Cabaggregators as well as public transport buses are also moving faster towards electrification. On the personal vehicle side, two wheelers are showing strong promise because of less hassles in charging and a significantly shorter range in urban driving environments. Passenger cars may be the last to join mass adoption of EVs as charging infrastructure, charging technology and cost becomes more favourable.”

Amit from Yulu, the man driving the Indian roads with his two-wheeler mobility innovation, expresses, the future of mobility is Smart, Shared, Sustainable, and Small and Electric vehicles have a big role in this transition. Hence, the idea of smaller and efficient clean energy vehicles stands a great chance of making India a green mobility market. The electric two-wheeler market in India is at a nascent stage but is expected to grow at an exponential rate in the coming years, taking over 80% of the market by 2030.”

Recommendation and Innovations To Move Ahead

Innovators are giving every ankle to nudge developments in the growing EV industry. Developments in battery cost and technology, expansion of production capacity in manufacturing plants, infrastructure etc. Other solutions include the redesign of vehicle manufacturing platforms using simpler and innovative design architectures. Tushar cites, “Industrial disruption such as electrification calls for a revamp of the supply chain and existing product development processes. Digital transformation is the need for an agile product development methodology. It facilitates to develop connectivity, interoperability and traceability across different functions for a cohesive execution of the business strategy. Simulation driven product development combined with data analytics and machine learning are transforming the product development and deployment paradigm.”

Stating about its expertise, Amit elaborates, “Through Yulu, we address modern-day urban commute problems such as first and last-mile connectivity through the micro-mobility option. With regard to the current COVID-19 situation, there is going to a new trend witnessed where the users might not have the elasticity to spend on personal transportation. There will be more interaction between e-commerce and mobility start-ups for essential delivery of home items and many such interesting collaborations have already started happening. The concept of micro-mobility centered around selfdriven solo rides could emerge as a key trend post lockdown. The Indian customers are always on a lookout for a safe, feasible, and economical travelling option and two-wheeler segments dominate the interest of the young population. Also, the growing interest from the manufacturers has been boosting the growth of this segment. Today, we are moving towards an electric future and the way the twowheeler industry is heading with increased efficiency products, battery performance, lower maintenance costs, preventive maintenance, smart and connected features will definitely help the segment lead the path in the coming years.”

Supria elaborates, “We must however take fully notice of the fact that there has been some reluctance from consumers due to the high cost. If the government provides the much needed relief with reduced GST and taxes and prices are more affordable, India is set to witness a rise of EVs across segments. Moreover, the EV market gives a boost to the overall R&D sector and manufacturing units in India to build in-house products and drive local innovations.”

Concluding words came from R Vijayalayan, noting, “Automotive engineers have already adopted ModelBased Design, with which they can use simulations to perform trade-off studies and component sizing before building prototype vehicles, and also move quickly from concept to prototype to production for the controllers. Now, with the advent of new technological trends such as AI, Predictive Maintenance and digital twins, they will also extend their familiarity with and use of MATLAB and Simulink for designing AI models and AI driven systems. These key technologies will in turn help engineers to increase their confidence in the feasibility of designs, track vehicle performance, and create vehicles that meet market requirements for vehicle range, battery life, safety, and performance.”

EV Roadmap for India

The Indian government has created momentum through its Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles schemes. The scheme creates demand incentives for EV and urges the deployment of charging technologies and stations in urban centers. If these aims are realised by 2030, they will generate an estimated saving of up to 474 Millions of tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) and 846 million tonnes of net CO2 emissions over their lifetime. The automotive industry players and charging infrastructure, batteries and mobility service providers have taken various actions to ramp up industry action. Companies are designing and testing products suitable for the Indian market with a key focus on two-wheelers and three-wheelers. Also, 10 states and union territories have published draft or final policies aligned with the economic and demographic realities of each region.

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Niloy Banerjee

A generic movie-buff, passionate and professional with print journalism, serving editorial verticals on Technical and B2B segments, crude rover and writer on business happenings, spare time playing physical and digital forms of games; a love with philosophy is perennial as trying to archive pebbles from the ocean of literature. Lastly, a connoisseur in making and eating palatable cuisines.

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