‘Industry is collectively making investments to create EV supply chain’: Suman Mishra
Despite showing tremendous year-on-year growth in adoption, electric vehicles continue to remain a small portion in the giant pie of the Indian automobile industry, which has reached scale and global recognition as a key supplier of vehicle components to overseas markets.
As the electric vehicle (EV) adoption in India continues to remain on an upswing, with cumulative EV sales in the country recently surpassing the 3-million mark, the EV supply chain, however, continues to be in its infancy and needs significant efforts to transform into a size to meet the industry’s requirements.
According to Suman Mishra, CEO, Mahindra Last Mile Mobility, “The EV ecosystem is evolving and the industry is collectively making significant investments to create the supply chain and achieve a level of continuity that is required for EVs to flourish. Having said that, if we compare it to the ICE supply chain, we are still a long way away from reaching the ICE ecosystem, wherein India is one of the largest global exporters of vehicle components.”
Mishra who was a panelist in a discussion titled, Transformation of Last-Mile Mobility, at the India EV Conclave held in Chennai on November 21, further added that ‘exports’ is the goal post that we must have. “We must have the goalpost of exporting not just product, but also components for EVs from India. Therefore, we must think with a scale-up approach, and target global export opportunities. Simultaneously, we must acknowledge the fact that establishing a robust supply chain is going to take time as we are still in early stages of EV adoption in India,” she added.
“It is going to take a while, and we need concerted efforts across stakeholders, including OEMs, component manufacturers, government, charging infrastructure players, and while that is all what is happening, it just needs time,” she pointed out, while adding that there is also a big ecosystem getting developed in the battery-recycling space, with several start-ups building solutions around the second life of the battery.
“Many start-ups are also working around data, and building software and telematics solutions for electric three-wheelers. Therefore, there is a continuous evolution in the EV ecosystem, and it would eventually lead to certain dominant, and tail-end solutions for specific applications,” Mishra said.
TCO key enabler of EV shift
With both cargo- and passenger-carrying electric three-wheelers amounting to over 1.2 million units, and forming over 40 percent of the total EV parc in India, Mishra explained that the TCO or total cost of ownership of an EV is a key enabler to this shift of cargo- and passenger-carrying fleets towards EVs.
“The TCO advantage is well proven in both cargo- and passenger-carrying three-wheeler segments after considering the government subsidies. In the cargo category particularly, the rate of electrification has been significantly higher, because it is largely purchased by fleets which are better financed. On the other hand, the adoption in the passenger-carrying segment remains slightly slower and presently stands in the range of 10-15 percent.
“Moreover, it does not require a sophisticated charging infrastructure for electric three-wheelers, which can be easily recharged using a 15Amp socket, and that is also a key enabling factor towards the accelerated electrification of this segment,” Mishra added.
“The prevalence of e-rickshaws for a long time has also played a huge role in making the customers of this category aware about the positives of electric vehicles. So, the customer is aware about the charging infrastructure, and aspects such as battery safety of an EV, and hence, the only considerations now are the economic benefits, availability of financing, and parking,” she pointed out.
According to Mishra’s co-panelist, Mahesh Babu, CEO – Global, Switch Mobility, “The global automotive industry is going through a mega evolution and while India was not part of the Top 3 in the first industrial and automotive revolutions, and while China has taken a substantial lead in EVs, with our prowess in software, electronics, and a good command on the automotive segment itself, I believe the Indian automotive industry will be able to look at becoming one among the Top 3 global destinations, and a knowledge hub for the world. If we think from this perspective, our actions will be quite different.”
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