Saietta eyes e-drive exports from India to ASEAN, European markets

UK-based e-drive system supplier, which is bullish on huge potential for its localised products in India, aims to also tap into burgeoning demand for EV drivetrains across the two-, three- and four-wheeler segments in ASEAN, European and African markets.

By Mayank Dhingra calendar 26 Mar 2023 Views icon7432 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Even as the past six-odd months have seen a spate of technology MoUs, mergers and acquisitions between global EV component makers and Indian suppliers, the one between the UK-based Saietta Group and Gurugram-based Padmini VNA Mechatronics, inked in October 2022, is with a difference. While most of the other players will focus on making products for the Indian EV market, the Saietta-VNA joint venture is also exploring manufacturing EV components for exports. 

On March 20, Saietta signed a master supply agreement with India’s AVTEC – a CK Birla Group company – to manufacture and supply Saietta’s e-drive system, which has been designed for light-duty electric vehicles, including two-, three- and four-wheeler applications.

The partnership brings together AVTEC’s experience in manufacturing of transmissions, which will be supplied to the first Indian light-duty mobility OEM from Q3 of CY2023. Out of the initial capacity of 150,000 e-drive systems for customers globally, Saietta and AVTEC will earmark 80,000 units for the first customer, which is being claimed to implement the solution in both three- and four-wheelers.

Making in India for the world

Saietta VNA, the JV company formed in May 2021, will manufacture Saietta’s axial-flux electric motors in India and integrate them with the Saietta transmissions coming out of AVTEC’s plant in Chennai. This will result in a 48V-96V e-drive solution designed to be lightweight, compact and competitive for light-duty mobility vehicles in India and overseas.

Tony Gott, executive chairman, Saietta Group: "India is one of the most challenging markets globally in terms of climatic conditions, use cases and cost, and we will build our volumes in India and the economies of scale achieved here will enable us to export from the country."

“Various consultancies of the likes of McKinsey project 60% to 100% of the Indian light-duty market to transition to EVs by 2030. While this takes the market potential to north of 10 million units, we cannot currently tell where it is going to end up. However, it certainly is going to be a very big number,” Tony Gott, executive chairman, Saietta Group, told Autocar Professional in an exclusive interview, soon after the inking of the pact with AVTEC.

“We also recognise that there is huge potential for India to cater to the rest of the Asian market in the future. Having said that, we will also explore export opportunities to Europe, and Africa. Our ambition with the Saietta VNA JV is to grow the capability of Indian operations very strongly over the next few years. India is one of the most challenging markets globally in terms of climatic conditions, use cases and cost, and we will build our volumes in India and the economies of scale achieved here will enable us to export from the country,” added Gott.

“We are currently engaged with 10 large MNC OEMs across the two-, three- and four-wheeler segments, with two of them being present in Europe as well. These 10 OEMs are slated to come up with their EV programmes within the next three years. Therefore, our focus right now is to ensure our India operations are well set up for them to allow us to get into aggressive expansion, including tapping into export opportunities,” Gott pointed out.

While Europe remains a good market opportunity, the sheer market size and potential of the ASEAN region makes for a good business case. The Southeast Asian region is home to over 200 million petrol-powered two-wheelers and 80% of households in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam own motorcycles. However, the widespread use of petrol-powered internal combustion engine motorbikes continues to put a burden on urban air quality and the environment, which makes electric two-wheelers a much more attractive alternative. Research suggests that the global market for electric two- and three-wheelers is estimated to be around US$150 billion. 

The Saietta Group is also bullish about the demand for its unique e-drive systems in the Indian market which is particularly cost sensitive. According to Gott, “If we look at the number of light-duty vehicles, including two-, three- and four-wheel categories, currently operating in India, the number stands at around 250 million vehicles. While there are combinations of multiple powertrains – CNG, LPG, petrol and diesel – but as the push from the government as well as consumer pull intensifies, a majority of these vehicles will switch to becoming electrics,” he signed off.

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