Greener and Cleaner: The Approaching Electric Vehicles Age

Mrinal Pandey

Current State of Electric Vehicles (EVs)

The global Electric Vehicles fleet expanded significantly over the last decade, fuelled by supportive policies and technology advances. Sales of electric cars topped 2.1 million globally in 2019, surpassing 2018 to boost the stock to 7.2 million electric cars. 

‘EV’ has become a buzz word both in technology and Automotive. Out of the four main segments- commercial vehicles; passenger vehicles; three-wheelers & two-wheelers, the later two are witnessing the most traction. 

The battery business in EV is the most researched component. There are different types of batteries like:

Source: https://www.energysage.com/electric-vehicles/101/how-do-electric-car-batteries-work/

However, Electric Vehicles continue to remain on the outskirts of mainstream usage until they begin matching today’s consumers’ usability, convenience and affordability. From what the perspective of global electric-vehicle markets shows, both challenges and opportunities lie ahead for India and the world.

The Pandemic and its impact on EVs

If we look at the initial response to the pandemic, there was a lot of promising news on electric vehicles adoption. This has been largely shaped by the awakening to breathe clean air and leave a better world for future generations. Particularly in India, there were many reported instances of distant mountain views, something that had been impossible for decades due to the environmental hindrances created by harmful emissions.

We recently conducted a survey where we asked the respondents if electric cars are a viable alternative to petrol/diesel cars. Upto 69% answered affirmatively. 

By promoting the EV sector’s organic growth, and cohesively nurturing its growth and popularity with governmental programmes, a substantial shift in usage can be achieved. The course will gradually clear for growth over the next decade, despite the potential lasting impact of COVID-19 on total car sales over the next couple of years.

Some Challenges

In the current scenario, one of the challenges is the cost of EVs that deters an individual from buying one, especially when it comes to a four-wheeler. The other major hindrance for India is the lack of infrastructure. Our survey also touched upon the top concerns while purchasing an EV, and upto 68% of the respondents felt that the lack of proper infrastructure was a huge issue.

However, we are moving forward in the right direction and as electric vehicles become more accepted by consumers, the automotive industry will gradually approach the turning point where it will be as cheap to own a plug-in vehicle than one that burns fossil fuels. 

There are EV options in India from manufacturers like Hyundai, Mahindra, MG Motor, Tata among four-wheelers and a host of two-wheeler manufacturers including TVS, Bajaj and Ather Energy. While a scooter will cost a lakh or just over, cars are very expensive. 

Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh are ten states and union territories that are leading the way in building production, infrastructure, and services to increase the momentum of electric vehicle usage in India.

A lot of research is being done in the domain of Lithium-Ion Batteries. Players like Exide, Amara Raja, Luminous, Hero Electric, Okaya, Coslight, Suzuki etc. are making heavy investments in the product. India can move to manufacturing cells after batteries. Currently most of the products are imported from China and the US. The other business which may evolve after the development of EV and battery business in India will be Batteries Recycling business. 

As a nation, we have a lot to gain from the widespread adoption of e-mobility. Under the Make In India programme, the manufacturing of e-vehicles and their associated components is expected to increase the share of manufacturing in India’s GDP to 25% by 2022. 

EVs and Job Creation

The EV sector is moving slowly but surely, and catching up with the sectors contributing to job creation. As per the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, India is likely to become an EV manufacturing Hub By 2025. 

Several new-age start-ups are coming up, with a sole focus on setting up manufacturing units to fuel clean mobility. Additionally, many existing; traditional players are also experimenting to innovate in the same direction. 

The combined effort from start-ups, innovators and OEMs is bound to create a large number of employment opportunities in the areas of research and design space as well as in the areas of manufacturing, sales, servicing and driving among others. Needless to say, this will be complemented with upskilling in a way that can directly propel labour availability specifically for the EV sector.

What the Future could be

This year, Castrol conducted a survey recording responses from over 1,000 consumers, fleet managers and industry specialists across India this year. As per the report, on an average consumers in India said they would consider purchasing an EV by 2022.

With the number of new entrants and incumbents increasing in the EV space, the availability of products will increase, thus expanding the overall ecosystem further in India. Continued investment in innovation; infrastructure including charging facilities; and overcoming consumer concerns around their availability, affordability and accessibility could see more enthusiasm from Indian consumers in the near future

Authored by Mrinal Pandey | Vice President | Catenon India | Linkedin Profile

Mrinal has over 15 years of executive search and recruitment experience. Mrinal is currently handling a number of industries in the Western region including Technology, Automotive, Management Consulting, Engineering, Paper & Packaging, Mining & Minerals, amongst others. 

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