CLEA(NE)R ROADMAP

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The In­dian au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try has much to look for­ward in the both do­mes­tic and ex­port mar­kets for greener ve­hi­cles and al­ter­na­tive mo­bil­ity. There are also chal­lenges ahead of these op­por­tu­ni­ties, and to cap­i­talise on them, the in­dus­try has to de­velop or ac­quire tech­nolo­gies and ca­pa­bil­i­ties to pro­duce ve­hi­cles that meet the fu­ture mar­ket needs. The gov­ern­ment has much to do to en­cour­age the de­vel­op­ment of greener ve­hi­cles, while also en­forc­ing com­pli­ance to the ex­ist­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal norms. The pro­mo­tion of elec­tric mo­tor­cy­cles will have sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the mar­ket, as they have the ma­jor share in the two-wheeler sales in In­dia.

In a price-con­scious econ­omy like In­dia, the shift to­wards greener ve­hi­cles will be slow un­less spurred by gov­ern­ment man­dates sup­ported by in­fra­struc­ture fa­cil­i­ties and fis­cal in­cen­tives. Al­though the ma­jor play­ers are equipped with the nec­es­sary ca­pa­bil­i­ties to de­velop cleaner ve­hi­cles, the nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture, such as recharge sta­tions, is not yet in place for their wide­spread adop­tion.

With the con­ven­tional au­to­mo­biles, the In­dian in­dus­try is fac­ing many chal­lenges. In April 2017 it had to mi­grate to BS-IV and by April 2020 it has to move to BS-VI and re­vamp the in-ve­hi­cle safety sys­tems. Now the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try is given the tar­get of all elec­tric cars by 2030.

If the in­dus­try follows the right strat­egy it can suc­ceed in the In­dian mar­ket. Bat­tery pow­ered/plug-in hy­brid elec­tric ve­hi­cles con­tinue their steady growth world­wide. In In­dia, elec­tric ve­hi­cles have be­gun making some in­roads into the mar­ket and most of the OEMs are work­ing on EVs as elec­tri­fi­ca­tion is the only vi­able so­lu­tion to re­duce the reliance on oil. The de­mand for EVs has been grow­ing mainly ow­ing to cus­tomer aware­ness and per­ceived eco­nomic ben­e­fits like lower run­ning costs and less taxes.

The Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of a lead­ing OEM told me that in­stead of work­ing on BS-VI, he pref­ered to go for elec­tric ve­hi­cles since the cost of BS-VI and elec­tric ve­hi­cles would be al­most sim­i­lar, if we have higher lo­cal­i­sa­tion. The ma­jor cost of the elec­tric ve­hi­cle comes from the bat­tery and bat­tery man­age­ment sys­tem.

A lot of com­pa­nies are work­ing on lo­cal­i­sa­tion of the bat­tery to re­duce the cost. If they suc­ceed in this, elec­tric mo­bil­ity will be the next boom in the In­dian au­to­mo­tive mar­ket. The gov­ern­ment should also step in to fa­cil­i­tate and pro­mote this boom. If this is go­ing to hap­pen, the dream of all elec­tric ve­hi­cles by 2030 will be real.

Bhar­gav TS

Ex­ec­u­tive Edi­tor s.bhar­gav@nextgen­pub­lish­ing.net

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