While the electrification of vehicles is going to be the biggest disruption in the automobile industry, India can seize this opportunity to become the leading manufacturer of electro-mobility devices. This is what Dr Abhay Firodia, chairman of Force Motors and president of apex industry body SIAM, said at the inauguration of ITEC India 2017, the three-day conference to discuss the nuances of e-mobility, which opened in Pune today.
ITEC (International Transportation Electrification Conference) India 2017 has a central theme of ‘Electrical Vehicle Ecosystem – Resetting the Future of Mobility’. It has been jointly organised by the Society of Automotive Engineers India (SAE India), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).
This key industry event was inaugurated in the presence of Dr Abhay Firodia along with Doug Patton, president, SAE International; Dr Tomy Sebastian, president, IEEE-IAS; R K Malhotra, president, SAE India and director general, Federation of Indian Petroleum Industry (FIPI); and Murali Iyer, executive advisor (Global Affairs), SAE International. Rashmi Urdhwareshe, director, ARAI and Ujjwala Karle, general manager, ARAI and convener, ITEC India 2017, were also present on the dais.
After unveiling it at the Tokyo Motor Show in November, Honda Japan demonstrated its Mobile Power Pack concept of swappable batteries. The same unit can be used in two-wheelers and cars.
Speaking about the importance of electrification of vehicles, Dr Firodia said that India has an opportunity to become a global leader in this sector. “It will take collective efforts of the government, automobile manufacturers and consumers to make e-mobility sustainable and beneficial to all the stakeholders,” he said. He added that the stakeholders should insist on the ‘Make in India’ policy.
“As we are entering the era of e-mobility, importing devices would mean we are creating wealth and jobs in other countries. We should insist on making these devices in India and aggressively push this agenda forward to make most of the opportunity. We must come up with relevant business models in this sector,” he said. Dr Firodia also highlighted the fact that India being a global hub of small cars has the means, resources, and technology to be a game changer in the e-mobility sector.
He also emphasised on the need to educate the populace of the country and the government about electric vehicles. “We as manufacturers will have to take this responsibility to spread awareness about this technology and its benefits,” he concluded.
Affordable, adaptive innovations need of the hour
ARAI’s Rashmi Urdhwareshe, while speaking about the dynamic changes taking place in the e-mobility industry, said that an efficient transportation system always helps the economy of a country to grow at a higher rate. “E-mobility is now a buzzword and it will change the transportation scenario completely. We need affordable and adaptive innovations to make transportation much safer and less polluting in the near future,” she said.
Highlighting the importance of the conference, Urdhwareshe said that ITEC Pune 2017 will pave the way for fruitful discussions on efficient and appropriate eco-system development in the e-mobility sector. She also said that the conference, which has drawn over 500 delegates from 14 countries, will see 120 technical papers and 30 keynotes being presented. An expo with 35 stalls showcasing e-vehicles and related technology is being held concurrently.
SAE International’s Doug Patton highlighted the issue of cyber security in the transportation industry. He said, “As all of us are constantly connected through the internet, we are also at huge risk. These risks may involve cyber-attacks that can cripple our transportation systems. SAE International has created guidelines to avoid such attacks and all the manufacturers/designers will take advantage of this available knowledge.” He also urged manufacturers to ensure that a larger number of young students who are pursuing engineering enter the industry’s talent pool.
Commenting on the growing research in the field of e-mobility, IEEE-IAS’s Dr Sebastian said that currently a lot of research is being conducted. “Linking this research into practice and making it beneficial for the Indian automobile market is what we should emphasise on from now,” he said.