China’s BYD among OEMs betting on future electric mobility in India

by Nilesh Wadhwa, Mayank Dhingra 29 May 2017


The Electric Vehicle Project in Nagpur.

Betting big on the Government of India's focus on promoting the electric vehicle industry, shared mobility service provider Ola has partnered with OEMs to introduce electric vehicles – e-buses, e-cabs, e-rickshaws and e-autos together on its platform. The programme will see electric automobile manufacturers provide 200 vehicles – 100 Mahindra’s new e2o Plus, and the remaining from Tata Motors, Kinetic, BYD, TVS among others. The pilot project in Nagpur also includes 4 electric charging stations spread across the city. 

For BYD, it is not the first attempt at tapping the EV opportunity in India. The Chinese OEM had introduced the country’s first electric bus for passenger service in 2014, through the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC). It had also tied up with Singapore-based entrepreneur Bhupendra Kumar Modi promoted Smart Group to set up manufacturing electric vehicles in India.

The electric mobility project in Nagpur, the home constituency of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, will see an investment of over Rs 50 crore by Ola. The company will also work on training and educating driver partners on maintenance and use of in-car technology along with its OEM partners. 

Speaking at the launch of the pilot project,  chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The state of Maharashtra is geared towards driving positive change for collective improvement of the society we live in, and we welcome and encourage such initiatives. We are extremely proud of the commitment corporations like Ola, Mahindra and others are working towards building sustainable transportation for all. In support of this initiative, we have waived off VAT, road tax, and registration for all electric vehicles in the state, and we look forward to building Maharashtra as a model state for others to emulate in the future.” 

Union minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari, who was also present at the launch said, “There is an urgent need to re-think and revisit transport infrastructure and fuel dependency, not just in India, but globally. Large scale adoption of electric vehicles can bring the monumental change that we urgently need, and in this endeavour, we launched the 100% EV nation by 2030 mission. It is heartening to see Indian companies such as Ola and Mahindra taking Government’s vision forward and in building a strong ecosystem for sustainable mobility. I look forward to working with them to make the 2030 vision a reality.” The Union Minister also shared that the government is in talks with Japan's Softbank, a key stakeholder in Ola, to support the electric mobility drive in India. "We are engaged in initial talks with SoftBank for loans at low interest rate for a green project. We want to introduce two lakh electric buses for public transport,” said Gadkari, as reported by PTI. 

“India has the need as well as the potential to set a global example on electric adoption to power its mobility needs. We look forward to working with the government and the various industry partners in building the electric vehicle ecosystem grounds up for India. We believe that Electric Mobility in a multi-modal format, will be key towards realizing our mission of building mobility for a billion Indians,” said Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder & CEO, Ola.

M&M, currently the only Indian elect car maker, has recently raised its stake in the electric mobility industry with some aggressive plans. Mahindra Electric, the company’s EV arm, has set a target of reducing manufacturing cost of its EVs (excluding battery pack) by 20-25 percent to make EVs affordable for customers and the business viable for the company by 2020. Speaking at the launch of the project in Nagpur, Dr. Pawan Goenka, MD, Mahindra & Mahindra said, “This pilot will pave the wave for wider adoption of electric vehicles. I am confident that India will make a paradigm shift in lifestyles - towards smart mobility and smart cities that are driven by progressive Government policies.”  

Sulajja Firodia Motwani, founder & CEO, Kinetic Green Energy & Power Solutions, which manufactures e-rickshaws with lithium-ion batteries said, “These e-rickshaws will play a key part in providing seamless e-mobility at Nagpur, especially for last mile connectivity and for affordable short distance travel.” 

NITI Aayog, the government’s policy think-tank is betting on an all-electric car fleet in India by 2030. This pilot project initiated in Nagpur, will not only help the government and OEMs to understand the market but will also give citizens a first-hand experience of EVs and promote its usage.

 

Also read - Mahindra Electric's aggressive growth plans revealed