What breakthrough changes do you think the Indian automotive industry will go through in the coming decade?
I think EVs are the future. I see an upward trajectory in the Indian automotive industry. The industry has made a solid foundation post-pandemic. I am hopeful that the industry will achieve a $300 billion valuation by 2026 as projected. Manufacturers are interested in investing in this technology and investment flow into EV start-ups has witnessed that change. With an increased global demand for Indian auto components and with support from the government the auto industry is hopeful. This is reflected by the decision of manufacturing semiconductors and the plans to roll out Bharat NCAP, India’s own vehicle safety assessment programme. Phasing out old polluting vehicles in an environmentally safe manner (Vehicle Scrappage Policy), PLI initiative and the Make in India campaign are some other great initiatives that second this dance into the future.
Since you mentioned EV. How do you see the future of EVs and what are the challenges?
We are committed to reduce the carbon footprint, main goal being carbon neutrality, and renewable energy, being the future, will help EVs. EVs are relatively noise-free inside and are overall low-maintenance cars. EVs are expected to grow at a CAGR of 36% by 2026. Battery market for EV is also expected to grow in a similar manner. If we manage to get this done, we would be moving in the ideal direction.
The challenge that I see is the charging infrastructure, which needs to be fixed at the earliest. We need to install maximum charging stations. The world is shifting away from using coal-based energy. We also need to reduce the dependency on the coal energy to generate electricity because that also increases the pollution and frankly, defeats the purpose of EVs. We will have to run the charging stations either on solar power or wind energy. The cost of the vehicle is also a matter of concern. Cost starts from ₹12-14 Lakh for an EV 4-wheeler which is not a great value proposition.
With automakers transitioning to EVs, what are the challenges expected for component manufacturers?
Manufacturers are investing heavily in technology and various segments of the industry. EV start-ups have attracted maximum funding in 2021. Components manufacturers are also investing on electrification, e-motors, battery development, and power electronics. Major Indian OEMs for passenger car, commercial vehicle, two-wheeler or three-wheelers are focusing on EVs. The government aims to develop India as a global manufacturing and R&D hub. I see a lot of opportunity for the components manufacturers than challenges. But the biggest challenge will be mindsets.
Are electric cars sustainable?
The large-scale adoption of EVs depends on affordability and battery charging or swapping as I mentioned. Considering the battery requirement and how we charge them, recycle them, availability of lithium, how many charge cycles a battery can handle without losing much capacity can change the sustainability of driving an EV. We are not sure about how much more eco-friendly EVs are than the run-of-the-mill cars. Once we fix these data analysis issues, I feel electric cars will turn out as the more sustainable transport options for the future.