Challenges Of Electrification In India

Girish Ramaswamy, Head of Engineering, Engine & Drivetrain Systems - India, Vitesco Technologies India | Friday, 20 November 2020, 10:48 IST

Girish Ramaswamy, Head of Engineering, Engine & Drivetrain Systems - India, Vitesco Technologies India

People around the globe are facing and battling the worst pandemic crisis along with global economy facing massive downtime. Countries around the globe have posed severe stringent restrictions ranging from days to month of lockdown periods. Many businesses are halted waiting for the market conditions to improve and some have already sunk under the unforeseen brunt of pandemic.

But still there are several segments of industry which are still shining out and even looking at this period as an opportunity. EV Industry projects to be one those and promises even better growth post this period. In last few months, in many countries, the entire public transportation was halted due to increased risk of infection given the contagious nature of COVID 19. Since the unlocking of lockdown periods, many people are avoiding using these public media of transportation, including cabs, metro, and buses, as a precautionary measure. Since normalcy has been restored in many cities, there are visible evidences confirming that private cars, walking, and biking have gained the most share since the pandemic began, while bus ridership has declined.

Given this future situation, it forays a promising picture for EV industry especially for the daily city commuters who travel shorter distances within the city such as people from service industries, homemakers, students etc. Being safer and more economical mode of transportation, the segment will mostly likely gain momentum in given days with major surge in demand.

EVs set to emerge stronger than ever

In the current scenario, The Indian electric vehicle (EV) market will continue to be largely driven by the two-wheeler and three-wheeler segments as of now. As per a recent EV market forecast by Frost and Sullivan, e-rickshaws, e-autos and e-two wheelers are the most promising segments for electrification in India and are expected to account for over four-million units by 2025.

“A lot of top brands are using this time to get in touch with customers through digital mediums to improve loyalty and sustain brand awareness”

The period post COVID 19 will serve as a perfect chance for EV brands to connect with their customers from these segments. A lot of top brands are using this time to get in touch with customers through digital mediums to improve loyalty and sustain brand awareness. Since e-commerce is on the rise, EV brands may also use this downtime to create a stronger online presence for more visibility. By making the most of on the opportunities, EV companies will be able to recuperate their impetus once the contagion is confined. They will be back in action on the road to EV uprising in the country.

What are the major challenges for the EV Market In India.

Charging Infrastructure

As per recent reports, India was reported to around 500 plus charging stations in 2018, while more are being approved by the government of India. Countries like China have over 600K charging points as of now. The challenge doesn’t end here, we also have major deficiency of private parking places which is one major deterrent for electric vehicles acceptance.

Pricing points of Electric Vehicles

An average cost of electric cars in India is around INR 12- 15 Lakh, which is way higher than the regular mid-segment car in the range of INR 4 Lakh-7Lakh running on diesel and petrol. The price range of electric scooters and motorcycles in India is between the price range of INR 60K – INR 1.5 Lakh, as compared to INR 40K – INR 50K cost range of bikes and even lower for scooters. Under existing settings, it is going to be hard to make a decent price proposition immediately unless the cost comes down substantially.

Risk of hikes in electricity demand

There is a major risk that EV charging can lead to a severe hike in electricity demand which will eventually put risk on India’s already burdened electricity distribution networks. Another issue is associated to charging, to go for AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current) chargers. Generally, an AC charger takes around six hours to charge an EV whereas DC chargers are super-fast and take only around 40-50 minutes to one hour to completely charge a vehicle.

Lithium Issues

As of now, India does not have considerable lithium reserves for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries. This could lead to a substantial variation in the nation’s energy security primacies, with securing lithium stores, a key raw material for EV batteries, becoming as important as buying oil and gas fields overseas.

The Indian EV industry confronts openly that a lot needs to be done to achieve the 2030 target. For a country like India, this serves an excellent opportunity for further scaling up specially to our domestic manufacturers. It’s time we make the right use of the privileges provided in new electrification policy introduced by the government and shaping India’s EV paradigm on a Fastrack.

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