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They Define the New Age of EVs in India

Battery swapping provides many benefits for consumers as well as industry leaders, especially in a country like India.

EV ExpertThe Indian government has initiated numerous incentives and also simplified the loan procedure further fostering the Indian EV revolution.  From battery swapping policy to PLI schemes, every step has been made to simplify the usage of electric vehicles. A report by the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association says, out of the 2.72 million passenger vehicles retailed in India in FY22, EVs constituted just 17,802 units or 0.65%. However, this represents a 257% jump over FY21. 45,000 to 50,000 EV cars could be sold in India this year. Only the initial 1.5% to 2% EV adoption takes time. EV adoption will pick up when the resale market emerges, says Sanjay Gopalakrishnan of BYD India. While highlighting the same area, Anshul Gupta, Managing Director, Okaya Electric Vehicles, and R Vijayalayan, Manager, Automotive Industry, MathWorks India shares their valuable inputs on various aspects of the mammoth growing EV industry in India.

Electric Vehicles in Indian Market

Growing concern over climate change, increasing fossil fuel prices, and a decrease in battery technology prices, created a congenial environment for the production and usage of more electric vehicles. We are seeing several tailwinds helping the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry grow in India, emphasized Vijayalayan.

Okaya-EVHe says the growing demand for advanced features and electric vehicles puts automotive engineering teams under significant pressure to incorporate new technologies at an ever-faster pace so organizations are focusing on making systems connected and smart. In the “first digital transformation” that played out in the last two decades, software was used to enhance the hardware. However, as we go down the journey of delivering on the four megatrends of Connected, Automated, Shared, and Electrified (CASE), our reliance on software is set to increase, thereby leading us to the era of second digital transformation. In the “second digital transformation,” software will define and differentiate vehicles’ features, thereby commoditizing the hardware. We have started witnessing the shift in the OEM-supplier relationships with more focus on software integration coming partially from OEM and partially from suppliers.

At the same time, we are also seeing some teething troubles. There have been concerns over the safety of electric vehicles, especially two-wheelers in our country. Vehicles catching fire and a few manufacturers recalling some batches of their EVs have been reported. The EV makers are looking at various ways to enhance the life, reliability and safety of their energy storage systems, focusing on newer battery technologies and properly designed and tested BMS (Battery Management System). With the increase in software content in today’s electric vehicles, companies are focusing on migrating their existing embedded software development process to comply with objectives of functional safety standards, such as ISO 26262, in an agile manner. In summary, electrified vehicle development requires one to address many challenges in parallel, such as total vehicle efficiency, new engineering capability – power electronics, high-voltage battery, motors, embedded software quality, and transition from prototyping work style to production mindset and processes, he added.

While highlighting the EV growth in India, Anshul said, the EV Sector in India is well on its way to capturing 80% + of the market size held by ICE2Ws today by 2030 thanks to tireless and relentless efforts by everyone associated with the EV industry, from OEMs to Component & Ancillary Manufacturers, from Think Tanks to Tech Giants & Startups. In unison, the upshot of it is today, with a CAGR of 65% from FY20-21 to 2022, the country is firmly positioned to reach an EV market size of INR 65,504 Billion by 2030 with a Y.o.Y CAGR of 18% becoming by far, one of the key drivers of economic and capital prosperity.

The infrastructure of Electric Vehicles

The successful adoption of Electric Vehicles, development of charging infrastructure, and power-grid modernization (with increased penetration of renewables) are significant. Battery swapping provides many benefits for consumers as well as industry leaders, especially in a country like India. It saves space, reduces downtime as the charging and battery usage is delinked, and it reduces the cost of ownership and initial investment. Battery swapping falls under the broader umbrella of Battery as a Service (BaaS). The BaaS business model helps consumers purchase an EV without a battery pack. This lowers their initial investment. The availability of swapping infrastructure helps the customers use the vehicle by subscribing to a battery service provider, said Vijayalayan.

He further elaborated few technical hurdles and challenges that need to be addressed before the successful implementation of battery swapping technology. The draft policy currently under review and feedback phase (at the time of this interview) has captured them as shown below:

  • Batteries must be BMS enabled – to enable monitoring, data analysis, and safety
  • BMS of the battery must be self-certified and open for testing to check its compatibility with various systems, and capability to meet safety requirements
  • Batteries must be IoT enabled to allow for safety and security monitoring Unique identification numbers must be assigned at the manufacturing stage – to help traceability
  • Testing and certification – Batteries shall be tested and certified as per AIS 156 (2020) and AIS 038 Rev 2 (2020) standards
  • Standards for communication between battery & vehicle controller, battery & charger, battery & energy operator server to be defined by BIS

To that end, MathWorks has been working with utility and energy companies to study what-if scenarios of smart-charging stations, AC/DC/Wireless charging, grid overloading, and microgrid set-ups that will empower future grid designs. As we tackle climate change and work on innovative technologies such as ‘Green Hydrogen’, MATLAB® & Simulink® would continue to play a pivotal role in accelerating their design and development, shared Vijayalayan.

Electric VehiclesThe Govt of India along with OEMs, component manufacturers, technology firms, and software industries are working to reduce the final cost to consumers as it stands as the most critical factor toward wide-scale adoption of EVs. To date, policies such as MNRE, FAME 1 and 2 have helped keep the sticker price to consumers under control, absorbing a handsome fraction of the manufacturing costs. Going forward, PLI will play a decisive role in the adoption of EVs in India. While cost is key to adoption, it does not stand singularly as the only factor influencing the future of EVs in India. Infrastructure, awareness, and reliability go hand in hand as each of the factors are linked and drive the industry forward only if they work in tandem vs working independently in silos, elaborated Anshul.

Two/Three/Four Wheelers/Commercial Vehicles- Which EV is Prominent in India?

The fastest growing segment in the EV market in India is the two-wheeler. As per the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicle, two-wheeler EV sales increased by 132% in 2021. Quite understandably, there are other factors that are accelerating this growth. The rise in petrol prices and increasing awareness amongst consumers on sustainable modes of travel is helping this scenario. As per NITI Ayog, the Government of India Planning body, technological advancements that are improving EV performance are also helping adoption. According to their report, enhanced adoption of electric vehicles can also be driven by enhanced performance due to technological improvements. Higher specific energy batteries may improve the range of the vehicle and improved electric motors may offer higher power and speed, removing the gap between electric vehicles and conventional IC engine vehicles’, shared Vijayalayan.

Another segment that is witnessing massive electrification is the three-wheeler segment. In this segment, the cargo industry is witnessing rapid EV adoption. We are seeing a shift in shopping behaviour where larger numbers of customers and businesses are adopting eCommerce platforms. Three-wheelers are increasingly becoming a preferred choice for last-mile delivery of these eCommerce providers. This is where electrification is getting more relevant. As per EV Cargo Enterprise, the market potential for logistics and last-mile delivery in e-commerce is set to grow to $11.6b in 2021, of which $5.23b in 2025. As per WRI India, currently, e-3W (excluding e-rickshaw) accounts for 14% of total 3W sales in India, and it is estimated to reach 35-45% by 2025 and 65-75% by 2030, he added.

Electric VehiclesAnshul said India is a country which predominantly travels on 2-Wheelers, with over 80% of the commuters using bikes & scooters as their daily drivers. These, bundled with the following facts, make E2Ws the lowest hanging fruit today, as well as for years to come:

  • Cost of technology integration
  • Cost of product to a customer
  • Manufacturing complexity (or non-complexity compared to E4Ws / E-Busses) of E2Ws
  • 2Ws are not just necessarily just a primary vehicle but Indian families who own 4Ws tend to own an additional 2W as their 2nd vehicle.
  • This mix of consumer behaviour and economics will continue to make E2Ws the dominant category of vehicles in India over other PV segments.

Futuristic Demand for the EV Industry

Vijayalayan elaborated a few innovation trends for EV technologies globally and locally:

New business models – A battery is probably the costliest part of an EV, contributing 25-40% of the total cost. So, you can expect continuous innovations by  EV makers and other related players to bring the cost down. New models like Battery as a Service (BaaS) will emerge

AI-based sensor models:  As accurate SoC is critical to effective operation, AI is being explored as a method to generate accurate SoC prediction in those cases where traditional techniques have limitations. Virtual sensor modelling using AI can help in situations where the signal of interest cannot be measured or when a physical sensor adds too much cost and complexity to the design. Deep learning and machine learning techniques can be used as alternatives or supplements to Kalman filters and other well-known virtual sensing techniques.

These AI-based virtual sensor models must integrate with other parts of the embedded system:

  • IoT for remote monitoring: With the need for remote performance monitoring for batteries, we would be seeing more technologies like IoT being leveraged to make them happen
  • Cloud technologies for real-time calibration: With the need for better calibration increasing, companies increasingly leverage cloud technologies to help frequent calibrations that will optimize the SoC and SoH of the battery.
  • Digital Twins: A digital twin provides access to verified simulation models across cloud platforms, hence supporting collaboration and rapid innovation across multiple engineering teams. Researchers, engineers, and other stakeholders use digital twin models to help accelerate development time and reduce batteries’ development costs.
  • E/E architecture is a key enabler for creating complex, scalable and easy-to-update SW systems. In fact, the architectures are now evolving from networks of monolithic ECUs, each one statically allocated to a function, to the consolidation of functions into more powerful domain controllers, to a new concept of vehicle or zone controllers, based on a high-performance computing platform that can incorporate multi-core, GPUs, FPGAs, usually coupled with high-speed ethernet onboard networking and cloud connectivity.

Expertise

Anshul has elaborated on the expertise of Okaya Electric. He said, 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 the Electric Vehicle space and with this Okaya EV was born. It is 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 without after-sales support, we are set to lead the E2W industry in India.

Today, MATLAB and Simulink are acknowledged as helping engineers work on automotive projects based on the increase of electronics in vehicles, including focusing on five key trends: electrification, automated driving, data analytics, predictive maintenance, and functional safety standards. This enables engineers to prototype and productionize software with well-defined processes – reducing the time, and cost and dramatically improving the quality of software and hence the vehicle shared Vijayalayan. MATLAB, Simulink, and Simscape enable engineers to front-load the development of electric vehicles (EV) through the systematic use of data and models. You can use pre-built reference applications to lower the barrier to simulation. With MATLAB and Simulink, you can:

  • Use Model-Based System Engineering to design complex EV architectures and optimize systems
  • Model batteries and develop battery management systems (BMS)
  • Model fuel cell systems (FCS) and develop fuel cell control systems (FCCS)
  • Model traction motors and develop Motor Control Units (MCU)
  • Deploy, integrate, and test control algorithms
  • Use data-driven workflows and artificial intelligence (AI) in EV development

As a company steeped in Simulation, our aim has been to leverage this Leadership position and offer our customers increased frontloading. model-based Design involving the systematic use of models and data and getting additional efficiencies through automation is at the heart of all our solutions. More than before we need to strengthen the collaboration between engineers and address the requirements of many different types of engineers so different systems can come together efficiently to build the EV under various constraints like cost, quality and time, he concluded.

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Nitisha Dubey

I am a Journalist with a post graduate degree in Journalism & Mass Communication. I love reading non-fiction books, exploring different destinations and varieties of cuisines. Biographies and historical movies are few favourites.

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