NEXUS partner TVS recently participated to the workshop organized by the World Economic Forum regarding the “Moving India initiative”, set up to explore how the country can accelerate its shared electric vehicle programme.
The workshop brought together public and private sector players from the Indian mobility industry to identify the way forward towards launching a pilot scheme in Punjab. Below is a summary of progress to date and the important next steps.
In January a high level gathering of automotive CEOs at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting determined that the state of Punjab represented the best opportunity for accelerating the development of shared electric vehicles (EV) in India.
Punjab was chosen for a number of reasons. It is close to the national capital and has dense cities. It is already a base for auto-component manufacture, with surplus capacity ready to meet increased demand.
It has leading business and engineering universities, with highly skilled labour and 25% of India’s consumer base. It also has local supply chain of EV manufacturers and battery companies.
Punjab has recognised the potential of EVs as a long-term sustainable solution for India, with state policy providing a variety of incentives to encourage take-up.
The workshop was held at the Indian School of Business in Mohali. It followed various consultations with stakeholders, ranging from Indian Ministers, public sector bodies and automotive manufacturers, to start-up companies and civil society organisations.
Delegates at the workshop took learnings from the consultation to understand how a pilot scheme of shared, electric and connected mobility can address the challenges of pollution, congestion and connectivity in India.
The next step will be to agree principles of co-operation and to define the scope of the pilot, following by physical deployment and, finally, analysing its success.
An important move by the Punjab authorities was the launch of a Fast Adoption and Manufacturing of EVs policy, otherwise known as FAME, with the prime focus of promoting cleaner mobility and generating jobs.
As well as supporting the manufacture of EVs, the state is backing the creation of charging and battery swappable infrastructure at highways, as well as residential and non-residential stations.
Among other initiatives will be rebates on e-vehicles balanced by surcharges on inefficient and polluting vehicles.
The workshop heard there are five key challenges in the exiting EV ecosystem:
- The price of EVs is currently too high for personal ownership, although the business case for EV fleet operators and high-use vehicles is ready for the market.
- Range anxiety remains a major deterrent, along with the availability of charging stations.
- A lack of integration leads to ‘an infestation’ of ‘last mile’ transport, such as on-demand cabs, three-wheelers and e-riskshaws, leading to congestion and pollution.
- There is a proliferation of counterfeit e-rickshaws, with implications for passenger safety and electricity theft putting pressure on the power grid.
- Heavy duty vehicles have a disproportionate impact on emissions, so inter-city transport will need electrification in order to have a significant impact on the environment.
It is hoped that following a series of regular meetings, development of proposals and agreement on milestones, that the pilot will be launched at the World Economic Forum India Economic Summit in October.
It will run until January 2020, after which a working group will meet in March to discuss lessons learned and how to move forward.
NEXUS positions itself at the leading edge of automotive developments globally and this project is a product of the enormous disruption starting to sweep through our industry. TVS is an Indian leader in developing automotive market ecosystems and the project in India will result in a blueprint that could be used elsewhere in our network. NEXUS will leverage learning from this project to assist its members and suppliers alike to adapt to the fast changing automotive world.