May 19, 2020
Topic- EV outlook in India
This ICAN conversation was graced by the presence of Sqn leader Prerna Chaturvedi. Ms. Prerna is a domain expert in the field of electric vehicles. She is a veteran. She has been a part of the armed forces and now she is the CEO and MD of EVOLET which is a company working in the field of electric vehicles.
Compiled by Kritik Mathur
Almost as there is a diversity of technologies available in regular vehicles, plug-in electric vehicles (also called electric cars or EVs) have varied abilities that can accommodate different drivers’ wants. The domain of Electric Vehicles(EVs) is a really significant topic for all of us and is something that is coming into the markets in the near future. When we talk about clean energy, sustainability, and preventing climate change, the one issue we all are anxious about is car pollution being at a minimum. The best way to do that is by using hybrid vehicles or to switch to electric vehicles. Ms. Prerna shared her thoughts and views on the future of EVs. Her vision of having only EVs on the roads is not so far and can be achieved in the next couple of years.
The conversation began with the issue of fewer EVs being on the roads at this point in time. Whatever purchase that one makes, the Cost to Benefit ratio has to be achieved. Economically if it makes sense to one, one will start liking everything about the product. But if it does not make sense to a person economically, he/she will find a number of reasons not to purchase the product. So, for this very reason, the speaker’s organization has put the economy first (even before the environment). This industry is coming up now because of the Cost to Benefit Ratio. Moreover, the fact that not only the consumers but even the producers and the government are benefiting, is also helping in the cause of EVs.
Ms. Charu came up with a question related to the charging stations of EVs. To this, Ms. Prerna commented that all of this comes from awareness. People are getting aware about the field and know that for EVs (at least in the case of 87% of the users) one does not have to go to any charging station as such, just the way one has to go to a petrol pump in case of a normal vehicle. For the speaker, this is big. The consumers are in a way themselves describing one of the biggest USP of the product. People can charge these vehicles at their own convenience, just the way a mobile phone is charged. Having said that, a charger is required for a heavy-duty vehicle. Taking on from that, she also annotated on the fact that initially there were some issues with the speed of the vehicles, but now resolved to an extent.
The subject of discussion took the form of a comparison between the emissions from diesel-run vehicles and electric vehicles. The emission level in EVs is zero. There is no noise pollution, no emissions emitting in the air. In the case of other vehicles, a person is first wasting money on petrol. Then this fuel harms the environment and in turn affects humans. So this is a chain created by such vehicles.
There have been a lot of talks about a mechanism wherein rather than charging the whole vehicle again, what we can do is having a swappable set of batteries that can be used. So, the first battery when charged is used for the vehicle. In the meanwhile, the other battery is getting charged and is likewise installed and used the next time. This mechanism saves a considerable amount of time and energy too and is certainly on the cards to be implemented.
Next, the discussion took the turn towards the taxation part of EVs and whether any tax rebate/subsidy is being given to the purchaser. Ms. Prerna said that it won’t be directly given to the purchaser, but any kind of rebate or subsidy, whether it be front-ended or back-ended, is passed on to the manufacturer. So the manufacturer can appropriate it to its backward supply chains on the GST implications.
The facilitator then asked about the advertising policies of EVs and that the world has not seen many celebrity faces involved in the publicity of these vehicles. This industry, according to. Ms. Prerna is undergoing disruption. It’s a disruptive technology, i.e. a technology trying to enter the segment in a way wherein the previous technology will be pushed out to a point wherein that becomes negligible. Most of the disruptions happen from outside the industry. There are more than 20 startups in this domain. So the majority of the segment rising is of startups. They are the ones who are doing the EVs. Now, we have to keep in mind that the startup ecosystem is still evolving. So a startup would be interested in having its investments in the supply chains and ensuring that it is under development, rather than spending amount in having a celebrity endorsement. That is how a startup ecosystem works where not much heavily invested endorsements can be seen.
The government has been discussing plans for the manufacture of EVs and the phase is still under production. Ms. Prerna sees this as a much-needed kickstart to the EV industry.
- Hybrid vehicles and Electric vehicles and their futures
- A business model where the Economy is preferred first and all the consumers, producers, and the government are benefited.
- For around 87% of its users, two-wheeler EVs can be charged at the utmost convenience and can be charged just like a mobile phone.
- The emission level in EVs is zero.
- A mechanism for a swappable set of batteries, which will be used for charging rather than charging the whole EV, is on the cards.
- An income tax rebate or subsidy on purchasing EV gets passed on to the manufacturer.
- No, as such celebrity endorsement or marketing campaigns have taken place in the field of EVs.