‘Commercialisation with affordable price is the challenge’
Hirdesh Thakur, Co-Founder & COO at Electric Vehicles Start Up, in conversation with Industrial Automation, about the launch of new Electric Scooter start-up.
You have embarked on a new journey after working with various automotive companies. What is this EV start-up about?
With around 25 years of experience in Surface Transportation Industry and customising ‘Special Mobility’ solutions based on emerging needs of customers, blending these with futuristic technology has always the passion on which I worked during my entire career. Now to contribute to the need of the hour, i.e., curbing the emissions – a serious issue faced by Indian cities – and to save the nation’s forex used on import of the purchase of fuel, clubbed with the Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ mission, we have imbibed the vision to contribute in the field of Electric Mobility which will also result in lower operating cost to the customer. To that end, we are building a team of young talented professionals with entrepreneurial aptitude in our start-up.
We are thus a technological start-up company, which will operate in the domain of Electric Mobility.
What are the products that this start-up would be launching, and when, if not already launched?
Our first product is the Electric Scooter which we have recently launched in selected markets with the shortest incubation period in comparison to any other start-up company in the field of electric mobility.
We are working very closely with the Mobility Service Providers – start-up companies to provide customised products as per their stated and unstated needs to optimise their TCO.
As someone with industry experience, are there any serious impediments in the quest for electrical mobility? Batteries remain a critical issue to be resolved?
Yes batteries were crucial earlier, but now with Lithium Ion batteries, the technological challenges are over and at least for next 5 to 7 years these advanced Lithium Ion batteries will be in market. The next challenge is to bring down the cost of battery, which is already showing the downward trend and with the acclimatisation of Lithium Ion batteries for Indian climatic and driving conditions, we as nation shall overcome these challenges in next 2 to 3 years.
At the moment, there are e-rickshaws plying in some cities and towns, yet not really in adequate numbers. What are the issues that hinder widespread adoption?
Electric rickshaws are growing with addition of 30,000 to 40000 new rickshaws every month. In India today, the total number of such vehicles is approximately 1 million. The following two are the main challenges for further growth of this industry:
The existing three wheeler manufacturers (ICE engines vehicles) are not offering the product in their current range therefore most of the Electric Rickshaw manufactures are basically the assembler of Chinese aggregates at small scale and selling the products in their local geography without any service support.
The Electric Rickshaw in the market is considered as a new product not as a replacement product or as retro kit to upgrade the existing three wheelers – this is major growth barrier as in most of the cities/towns the three wheelers fleet size is controlled by issue of permits from local administration and new permits are not being issued due to various political reasons and resistance from local three wheeler owner unions.
So far there is no real popular product in any vehicle class among EVs – 2-, 3- or 4-wheeler – yet the government appears keen to phase out conventional cars, without any really plan. Your comments?
Yes the government has set a very ambitious objective, which is difficult to achieve without concrete plan and very liberal policies to push the demand and strict ban on older vehicles and indirect incentives for free parking, no toll, entry in no parking zones, etc., to push the use of zero emission vehicles.
How far is the world from a real and practical mass electric car?
The technology is available and there are many manufacturers ready with a product and many more are working – the commercialisation with affordable price is the challenge presently, and further it comes to creating the supporting eco system for charging and maintenance of key exclusive aggregates, which are not part of conventional ICE vehicles.
As EVs become popular, the need to increase power generation through diverse methods is only going to increase, a problem not unique to India. Are we prepared?
Yes India as a nation is prepared to produce the required power – and India will take the lead in power producing countries in future as we are get ready with the Super Critical Power Plants – the 650 MW+ Nuclear power plants.
Overview: Global Electric Two-wheelers Market 2017-2021
Technavio’s research analysis on the global electric two-wheelers market has identified the benefits such as lower operation and maintenance costs as one of the major factors that will have a positive impact on this market’s growth till 2021.
Electric two-wheelers have lesser operating costs compared to the conventional ICE vehicles with similar performance. Electric two-wheelers help in saving costs related to fuel, spark plug change, and oil filter replacements. Moreover, the minimalistic design characteristics of electric two-wheelers have resulted in low maintenance costs compared to conventional vehicles.
Additionally, electric two-wheelers also provide performance customisation options that further reduce maintenance costs. Moreover, the components and accessories of electric two-wheelers are also made to provide longer life and most of the electric two-wheeler manufacturers are now concentrating on enhancing the technology and are further reducing maintenance costs to attract more buyers. Technavio’s market research analysts predict that in terms of units, this market will grow at a CAGR of close to 8% by 2021.
Improvement in battery technologies is one of the key trends that will gain traction in the electric two-wheelers market during the next few years. Better battery technology is one of the primary factors driving the sales of electric two-wheelers. Improvements in the EV battery technology attract more customers. For example, the advancement of lithium-ion batteries has made EV vehicles light in weight and increases their lifespan when to lead-acid and valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries. The growing concerns of the electric two-wheelers manufacturers about the development of lithium-ion batteries with longer charge life will also lead to continuous improvements in lithium-ion battery technology.
The electric two-wheelers market consists of numerous vendors. Most of the vendors are from APAC, particularly from the developing countries such as China and India that are the leading countries for electric two-wheelers based on sales numbers. There are a limited number of vendors manufacturing high-performance electric motorcycles and the vendors are continuously focusing on technological innovations.
The leading vendors in the market are: Hero Eco; Jiangsu Xinri E-Vehicle; Yadea Technology Group; Zero Motorcycles; and Zhejiang Luyuan Electric Vehicle. The other prominent vendors in the market are Alta Motors, Ampere Vehicles, Ather Energy, Bodo Electric Vehicle Group, Bultaco, China Xingyue Group, Currie Technologies, Electrotherm Group, Energica Motor company, Evoke Motorcycles, eZee Kinetics technology, GOVECS, Guangzhou Camqi Electric Vehicle, Hollywood Electrics, Johammer, Lightning Motorcycles, Lohia Auto Industries, Mahindra, Quantya, Sanyang Industry, Victory Motorcycles, Vmoto, and YObykes.
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