The pace of EV adoption is gaining momentum no doubt but it’s still far below the desired levels. That’s exactly the theme for Day two of Autocar Professional’s Two-wheeler week was ‘Rush to go electric’. But the big question at this juncture is whilst there is rush to adopt EVs, is the industry, infrastructure and the consumers ready to embrace this change? That became the centre point of the conversation at the panel discussion on the topic 'The race to go electric', moderated by Hormazd Sorabjee, editor Autocar India.
Commenting on the issue, Ravneet Phokela, Chief Business Officer at Ather Energy said that the collaboration will take away deficiencies in design thereby turning the end products to be better ones, “No one wants to pay a penny to save the world if the product does not make sense and add value for the customer.” He emphasised that no amount of TCO or total cost of ownership “can give a push to a bad product.” However, he mentioned that what’s encouraging is that the, “The quality of consumer awareness about EVs has gone through a significant shift. The willingness to buy and adopt changes dramatically as the EV starts being seen as an upgrade, a better solution.”
But is the industry and the supply chain prepared for a demand offensive? Arjun Jain, Business Head - Electrical/Electronics at Varroc Group reiterated that scaling up is not a problem and the supply chain hasn’t really been caught napping.. Jain further added that “Localisation is imperative and without it you cannot have the right cost structure. At Varroc, we are localised for every electric and electronic component. High localisation boosts OEMs' confidence.”
As per Kabir Bhandari, MD, Padmini VNA Mechatronics’, there is huge amount of fragmentation in the e-motors that are on offer today and he sees a narrowing down of motor dynamics by way of improving on efficiency and power density to grab a better share of the EV markets. "With motors, the key focus is efficiency. We were able to develop an Axial Flux Tech e-motor using conventional materials, which has given a very power dense package over a wide engine speed range." Bhandari highlighted. According to Bhandari, “a key cost and risk factors for the EVs id the battery, both in terms of safety and affordability. The biggest challenge is battery production. Optimising and value engineering are crucial."
Shivalik Prasad, VP (Sales & Alliances), whose company Sibros pointed out that electrification is being adopted in a big way in rural India and considers it to be a major plus, especially given the access to free electricity. "Given India's huge crude oil import bill, I believe there will be a sunset legislation for ICE vehicles in the future in India," Prasad highlighted bringing the focus back on the opportunities that EVs pose for the industry stakeholders. "The multiple revenue opportunity is possibly even bigger than selling a two-wheeler," he added before signing off.