There is no doubt that electric technology is the future of the automotive industry. The question that only remains now is not ‘if’ but ‘when’ will Electric Vehicles (EVs) become mainstream. Different markets in the world are reacting differently to electric technology opportunities. So, for instance, when one takes a market like India into consideration, it has its own unique transport sector. More than 80-85% people use two-wheelers or commute in public transport and only a small percentage of people use cars because we are a developing nation. Therefore, the electric revolution is going to be driven by segments like two-wheelers, three-wheelers and buses. A lot has happened in the last two to three years; customers have now become much more aware of EVs & are open to it and even the supply chain is getting well-established. The government has done a lot of work in the past two to three years, and a lot of clarity has emerged in terms of EVs. Many state governments, however, have announced EV policies but not implemented them properly. So, they need to implement them now, making EV adoption a focus.
The customer is now aware of EVs but we need more of them to adopt EVs. For that, banks have to come forward and give loans for EVs. We also need more focus on creation of the infrastructure, from charging infrastructure to battery swapping infrastructure. It is a priority for our government that India should not miss the EV revolution but lead the revolution. The government wants to see that India leads the world in terms of EV production and technologies. And we can do that because India is one of the largest automobile markets in the world. Thus, when there is a large local market, investments can happen. Therefore, through the right focus and by promoting local technology, India can become a hub. So, there is currently a move towards localisation – for instance, even the FAME policy is available if one has a large percentage of local sourcing. Hence, the most important thing will be to promote local demand generation and local manufacturing – at the vehicle as well as component level. And it’s important to do so effectively; not just announce but implement as well. If there are more EVs on the road, more EVs will be sold. If more EVs are sold, then more people will come and make components down the line.
We cannot build an industry by importing parts from China and assembling them here. So, our large automobile component manufacturers & technology providers have to invest in EV technologies. Plus, the government should remain stable in its focus on EVs and should not change its policies and stated goals. There is great potential, we have a large market and we are on the right segment focus. We just need a stable policy framework and some amount of risk-taking, even by the industry players, to come forward.