InnerCircle: 'EV industry needs to bank on investments and focus on evaluating various technologies', says Krishan Kohli of Kalyani Powertrain

The company President and CEO sees the path forward as a combination of fostering competitiveness, addressing supply chain issues, and recognising the interconnectedness of these challenges.

By Shahkar Abidi calendar 19 Apr 2024 Views icon4878 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
InnerCircle: 'EV industry needs to bank on investments and focus on evaluating various technologies', says Krishan Kohli of Kalyani Powertrain

Kalyani Powertrain, A subsidiary of Bharat Forge and the Kalyani Group, is strategically positioning itself as a key player in the burgeoning electric vehicle industry, according to Krishan Kohli, the company's President and CEO.

Kalyani Group's foray into the EV space began in 2018, with a focus on B2B solutions to start with. "We continue with the same DNA," says Kohli, highlighting their investments in segments such as power electronics, traction drives, among others, in addition to retrofitting businesses that electrify old trucks and buses.

The decision stemmed from strategic foresight in 2017. "The market for ICE will move to other technologies, and EV will be one of them in the near term," Kohli explains. Initial investments focused on evaluating various technologies and gauging adoption rates, aligning with national discussions on the EV policy.

Forward looking strategy

Kalyani Powertrain's business strategy has two prongs. One is to acquire cutting-edge technology and second is to foster domestic innovation.

The company's early investments included a UK-based EV truck startup and Tork Motors, a two-wheeler EV company in India.

Recognising the importance of power electronics in EVs, they formed a 50:50 joint venture with a German company to accelerate technology acquisition. An additional investment in a California-based traction drive company further bolsters their technological portfolio.

"We want to be a player of significance and choice with OEMs," says Kohli. Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) is another key driver. "We wanted to do more in India and get the technology fast forward," he explains. This translates to significant investments in homegrown technologies across various voltage architectures. Notably, Kalyani Powertrain has already developed a high voltage 650-800 volt DC-DC converter for heavy-duty EV applications.

Retrofitting business possibilities

Beyond technological innovation, Kalyani Powertrain sees a vital role in addressing pollution from heavy-duty vehicles. Their retrofitment business tackles this challenge by electrifying existing trucks and buses, focusing on the 12-ton and above segment. They hold the distinction of having the first green number plate retrofitted truck in India.

Looking ahead, Kohli acknowledges supply chain challenges as a major hurdle to faster EV adoption across all segments. "The competition and acquisition costs of cells need to be brought down," he emphasises. He also highlights the need for a sustainable solution to overcome this bottleneck and achieve cost parity with internal combustion engine vehicles.

While acknowledging government incentives, Kohli believes the EV industry needs to stand on its own feet eventually. He sees the path forward as a combination of fostering competitiveness, addressing supply chain issues, and recognising the interconnectedness of these challenges.

Also see:
Bengaluru Session | InnerCircle: a CXO Roundtable
Pune Session - InnerCircle: a CXO Roundtable
In Conversation with Autodesk's Detlev Reicheneder
Driving EV business with agility and flexibility
'EV makers must factor in delivering end-to-end solutions based on customer needs': Prasad Telikepalli of Matter
Tork Motors on verge of closing funding round
EV performance should be close to ICE, says Orxa's Ranjita Ravi

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