Two years. That’s how long Nitin Gadkari, India’s transport minister, believes India will take to switch from using fuel-powered buses to electric ones for public transport. Gadkari made this prediction in September.
That’s a bold prediction considering it has barely been a year since India started this transition. According to research think tank Intelligent Transport, there are 170,000 public transport buses in India, ferrying roughly 70 million people daily. The electric bus count, however, is just around 200, with another 170 set to hit roads soon.
This gap is an opportunity for bus makers. India’s electric bus market—which stood at $47.4 million in 2018—is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37.6% through 2024, according to management consulting company TechSci Research.
The opportunity is also evident in the government’s allocation of funds towards electric buses in March 2019 under its FAME II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric vehicle) program. While aimed at driving the adoption of electric 2-, 3- and 4-wheelers, the focus of FAME II’s Rs 8,595 crore ($1.21 billion) budget is clearly on buses. Of the total corpus, Rs 3,545 crore ($500 million)—about 41%—is earmarked to subsidize the purchase of 5,595 buses for various state transport undertakings (STUs).
That’s 7X the budget allocation and 5,175 buses more than the government-sanctioned under FAME I early last year. This massive overhaul was a chance for Indian bus makers like Ashok Leyland, Mahindra and Mahindra, Eicher Commercial Vehicles Ltd, and Tata Motors to cement their leadership. But just like other EV vehicles in the industry, the old guard is being shown up by agile newcomers.
One, actually—Olectra Greentech.
More precisely, Olectra-BYD, an Indo-Chinese joint venture (JV) formed in November 2016. The JV won contracts for 290 buses under FAME I, leaving Tata in second place with 215*. Leyland was a distant third with 40 buses. No other manufacturers won tenders. Incidentally, Olectra-BYD has also delivered the most number of buses since, according to various people The Ken spoke to. As a result, Olectra-BYD controls nearly half the EV bus market, they estimated.
China-based BYD is backed by Warren Buffett and fuelled by state subsidies and bank credit. Not only does BYD account for more than 170,000 of the roughly 380,000 electric buses globally, but it’s also the world leader in EVs overall. This shouldn’t come as a surprise—the ecosystem for making electric batteries barely exists outside China and BYD’s battery manufacturing facility in the Chinese province of Qinghai is the largest in the country (and therefore the world). A battery pack is the most critical part of an EV, accounting for about 40% of the total cost.
Unlike with other sectors, India has not set any limits on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the EV space. Still, a tie-up with a domestic company has its advantages and BYD picked Hyderabad-based Olectra Greentech, a company that did not have any prior expertise in automaking.
Even though the Indian company has voting control in the JV, the Chinese company controls the flow of technology. BYD fits the battery and wiring into a bus chassis in its own factory in Chennai. This is then transported up the coast to Olectra’s factory in Hyderabad, where the rest of the bus is assembled.
The three-year-old JV has blossomed because of the well-oiled ecosystem BYD has back in China and its control over the supply chain. This is in stark contrast to India’s traditional bus makers. Volvo—still used as a noun for air-conditioned buses in India—is at the R&D stage when it comes to EVs. Leyland, which relied on battery-swapping technology, was caught off-guard as lithium-ion battery prices dropped rapidly, making their technology redundant.
The biggest problem for the electric vehicle industry, however, much like the solar industry, is its reliance on China—for batteries of the right specifications, in the right quantities, for the right price and on-time. Tata was almost blacklisted by the government for the late delivery of buses earlier this year.
“It is an entirely new ball game for new and old players,” says Aman Madhok, an analyst from tech-oriented research firm Counterpoint.
Indian companies are pulling out all the stops to prevent the rising Chinese giant. Tata, which has significant clout in industry lobby Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), has been blocking Olectra-BYD’s entry, preventing its access to key policy decision-making, a person with knowledge of the matter said on the condition of anonymity. Tata, however, denies the allegation. But Olectra, which is a unit of a massive Indian conglomerate well-versed with winning tenders, is making its own fate. Ken has seen Olectra’s top executives walking into India’s offices of power. This extends to the business card of Olectra CEO Naga Sathyam sitting on the desk of a key official at Niti Aayog, the Indian government’s policy think tank.
Olectra, Tata and Leyland did not answer detailed questionnaires from The Ken, saying they were either in a “silent period” ahead of results or busy with tenders under FAME II. Their focus on the tenders is understandable, especially for Tata and Leyland, since all tenders have to be made under a bus-leasing model. Under this model, the OEMs run and maintain the buses and its charging infrastructure in return for a payment from the government at per kilometer basis—the very model that helped Olectra-BYD dominate FAME I.
Local marries global
The Indian auto industry’s current situation is similar to that of the early ‘90s. Indian automakers tied up with foreign companies and prospered. The tie-ups eventually led to technology transfers, like Hero Motors’ association with Japan’s Honda in the two-wheeler segment, or carmaker Maruti’s partnership with Suzuki that helped it become a market leader.
But the difference this time around is that the foreign players are predominantly Chinese companies and the tie-ups are with smaller Indian companies, some of which don’t even have experience in the auto sector or electric mobility. These tie-ups, though, are still advantageous for both parties, even though there is no FDI limit in the EV sector.
A tie-up with a local player could help reduce the foreign company’s initial investment by up to 50%, said a senior researcher who did not wish to be named as he is not authorized to talk to the media. It also helps in navigating governmental bureaucracy, the researcher added. This is especially true in the bus sector as central and state governments are the biggest purchasers and they don’t look fondly on Chinese companies.
“There are some sentiments in India which are not favorable towards China,” said the researcher.
So, it’s little wonder that domestic-foreign tie-ups have been on the rise. Take, for instance, Gurugram-based JBM Auto Ltd. The company has partnered with Poland’s Solaris PV to make electric buses in India. Its rival, Haryana-based Foton PMI, is also a JV between India’s PMI and China’s Beiqi Foton.
The Olectra-BYD combine, of course, is the most successful example.
Olectra Greentech’s parent company, Megha Engineering, and Infrastructure Ltd (MEIL), has cut its teeth in the power industry—a space bursting with bureaucratic red tape. The three-decade-old MEIL is no stranger to bidding for contracts, having won tenders for government projects like the Polavaram hydro-electric dam in Andhra Pradesh, among others.
But Goldstone Infratech Ltd, as Olectra Greentech was called before the BYD JV, had no experience in the auto industry. It used to make electric insulators, a key component in power distribution. So even though Olectra controls the voting rights, it’s BYD that brings the technological prowess. And considerable tech prowess, at that.
BYD has been in the electric mobility business since 2003, and in India since 2007. Its Chennai factory produces mobile components, solar panels, and forklifts, besides battery products and chargers. Today, though, the Chennai factory has shifted its production focus to buses, says an employee at the factory, who declined to be named as he is not authorized to speak to the media. Close to 40% of employees at the factory are Chinese, the employee added.
So why tie-up with a company that had no experience in the auto industry? “You can’t dictate terms if you partner with a bigger company,” said an industry consultant who did wish to be named.
BYD makes the chassis and battery packs, which constitute close to 60-70% of an EV bus’ value, the consultant estimated. This then goes to Olectra’s factory in Hyderabad, where the body and other fittings are done for the two models under production—the K7 and K9. This factory can manufacture 2,100 buses per year but, if necessary, could be scaled up to make 6,000 buses annually, according to a report by the Times of India.
With BYD’s expertise and supply chain in tow, Olectra was the surprise winner of the FAME I program. Its bus business raked in Rs 144.8 crore ($20.5 million) in revenue in the year ended March 2019, nearly as much as its insulator business’ Rs 145.5 crore ($20.6 million).
But, it’s not just a question of technological expertise. Winning a contract depends on one factor—making the most attractive bid.
Right place, right time
BYD’s entry into India’s bus market also heralded a new approach to tenders. Under FAME I, many bus makers placed bids that required state transport units, or STUs, to buy the bus outright and handle operational and logistical requirements themselves.
The JV placed their bids under the gross cost contract (GCC) model, commonly known as opex or leasing model. Here, the STUs lease the bus from the manufacturer and are responsible for providing only manpower and electric supply. The manufacturer runs and maintains the buses and the charging infrastructure as well as trains drivers. The STUs pay the bus makers on a per-kilometer basis. While some other manufacturers like Tata and Leyland also bid for tenders using the GCC model, BYD’s previous experience with the GCC model set Olectra-BYD’s bids apart.
For an outright purchase, the Department of Heavy Industries (DHI) provides a 60% subsidy and the STU bears the rest. Under GCC however, the STU gets up to 60% of the capital cost in equal instalments over the years—which means funds are disbursed in smaller amounts.
Under FAME II, DHI will pay up to 40% of the estimated cost of the bus, up to a maximum of Rs 55 lakh ($77,974), for standard buses, Rs 45 lakh ($63,797) for mid-size buses and Rs 35 lakh ($49,620) for minibusses. This subsidy is crucial when it comes to electric buses, which cost more than Rs 1 crore ($141,772)—double the price of a basic diesel bus. Even an air-conditioned Volvo bus—a decidedly premium offering—costs around Rs 85 lakh ($120,506).
The GCC model is a god-send for loss-making STUs across the country and BYD has pioneered it to operate buses across the globe. No surprise, then that, Olectra-BYD was able to outbid other manufacturers for the three biggest contracts under FAME I.
Like any other EV, the operating cost of an electric bus is cheaper than its diesel counterpart. The cost of running an EV bus is estimated to be around Rs 61 ($0.86) per kilometer, while the cost of running its diesel equivalent is about Rs 68 ($0.96), according to HM Shivanand Swamy, a professor at CEPT University, Ahmedabad.
Now, with Fame II—GCC isn’t an option but a mandate. This gives Olectra-BYD the upper hand, not only for its experience in running a bus service, but also the others’ lack thereof. Tata might even be looking at hiring a third-party to operate the buses for them, the consultant quoted above said, further adding to costs.
Still, it’s not a clear road ahead for Olectra-BYD. Rival companies have won tenders recently. In October, Tata won a contract to supply 300 buses to Ahmedabad under the GCC model, the biggest such contract so far in India.
Moreover, not all STUs are happy with the leasing model. The Karnataka government canceled Olectra-BYD’s 150-bus contract under FAME I as it concluded that the total cash outflow at the end would be higher than in an outright purchase model. Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) director Anupam Agarwal likened the situation to when it had awarded contracts to Volvo years back with the leasing model. It ended in failure, financially speaking, Agarwal told The Ken, declining to provide details.
The battery is the new engine
The key advantage Olectra-BYD has over its rivals and will have for at least a couple of years is a steady supply chain for battery technology. Indian manufacturers lack the knowledge and experience in sourcing and dealing with battery technology, was the refrain of various sources The Ken spoke with.
Tata was almost blacklisted by the government for the late delivery of buses under FAME I, which the company blamed largely on sourcing batteries.
As such, Indian companies partnered with Chinese battery makers two years ago when the technology was very nascent, said Debi Prasad Dash. He is the executive director of India Energy Storage Alliance, an industry body. This has made it difficult to switch to firms that can offer lower prices, Dash added.
“Indian companies are talking to multiple companies from China where they can buy the battery,” said Dash. “Each company is giving them different specifications, different warranties, and different sizes. So they have not yet decided which specifications they require. It is not about battery availability, it is about the blindness about the technology of all the companies that are entering this space.”
Take Ashok Leyland, which partnered with Delhi-based swappable battery manufacturer Sun Mobility. When the price of lithium-ion batteries fell faster than expected, Leyland’s swap-tech became less viable. The company is now developing a bus that works on plug-in technology, a company official said on condition of anonymity.
While Indian manufacturers are coming around to developing the technology, fixing their sourcing and adapting to the GCC model, it turns out that STUs have their own set of worries.
Route identification is one. Congested routes are not economically viable and that could reduce the number of trips per bus, says BMTC’s Agarwal.
Charging infrastructure is another bone of contention, says Agarwal, even though, technically, charging stations can be set up in a planned manner given buses have predetermined routes. But FAME II does not specify the number of charging points or their specifications (fast charging or slow charging). Besides, with one charger costing about Rs 10 lakh ($14,177), bus makers would likely install charging points only in depots. So, what happens if a bus runs out of charge in the middle of a busy road? asks Agarwal.
“Who will be answerable to the people? Not the operators, but for us.”
The government on Saturday said that it has awarded grants to the four projects selected in the second round of PACEsetter fund program.
The PACEsetter fund was constituted by India and the USA in 2015 as a joint fund to provide early-stage grant funding to accelerate the commercialization of innovative off-grid clean energy products, systems, and business models, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said in a statement
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy awarded Grants to the awardees of the second round of PACEsetter fund program in a ceremony organized yesterday. MNRE Secretary Anand Kumar and the US Ambassador to India Kenneth Ian Juster co-chaired the felicitation ceremony.
In the second round of awards, a total of 168 Expressions of Interest were received. Out of these, four projects were selected for award of grants. The awardees include Society for Economic and Social Studies, New Delhi, Customized Energy Solutions India Pvt Ltd, Pune, The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi and RaghavendraSuntech Systems Pvt Ltd (RSSPL), Bengaluru.
Stressing on the importance of access to energy for all, the US Ambassador said that innovation in off-grid and clean energy will improve energy access. Kumar appreciated the impact that the awarded projects would have on the common man. He also suggested that innovation realized through such projects could be replicated in other developing countries.
The India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) announced that India and Bolivia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development and industrial use of lithium for the production of lithium-ion batteries. As part of the MoU, Bolivia will support supplies of lithium and lithium carbonate to India, as well as joint ventures between the two countries for lithium battery production plants in India.
A statement, issued during the recent Bolivia visit of India’s President Ram Nath Kovind, said: “Both the countries agreed to forge mutually beneficial partnership to facilitate Bolivian supplies of lithium carbonate to India and foster joint ventures for lithium battery/cell production plants in India.” The two countries have also agreed to facilitate mechanisms for the commercialization of lithium carbonate and potassium chloride produced in Bolivia by Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos Corporación (YLB – Corporación), the statement added.
With the MoU, the possibility of Indian companies setting up production capabilities in Bolivia goes up, as well as the import of lithium to India. Domestic production is also set to see a boost, from the automotive perspective. The arrival of hybrids and electric vehicles from as early as 2020 onwards, will force manufacturers to look at local production. Apart from Electric Vehicles, Renewable Integration, Grid Stability and behind the meter applications will boost Li-Ion battery adoption in India. India is expected to attract over $3billion in investments in the next 3-5 years for li-ion batteries and also witnessing additional investment for its ecosystem.
The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind who was in Bolivia in March this year met with his counterpart Mr. Evo Morales Ayma and during the one-to-one discussions with him, the President said that he was honored to pay the first-ever State Visit from India to Bolivia. He thanked President Morales for special welcome and affection.
Subsequently, the President led delegation-level talks between the two sides. Speaking on the occasion, he said that it is encouraging to see that India-Bolivia bilateral trade has picked up in the last two years and it stood at US$ 875 million in 2018. About 60% of Bolivian gold is exported to India. Bolivia is the 8th leading trading partner of India in the Latin America region. He emphasized that there is a need to diversify our trade basket to further strengthen the bilateral trade.
In the final engagement of the day (March 29, 2019), the President addressed the India-Bolivia Business Forum. The President said that India has a focused business approach to the Latin American region. We hold the India-Latin America and Caribbean Conclaves annually to deepen our business collaborations. These Conclaves have served us well. Several Indian global majors have made entry into Bolivia through them, bringing cutting-edge technology, products, and services to the people. He noted that there are immense opportunities for collaboration between India and Bolivia in various fields such as automobiles, healthcare, IT, renewable energy, Lithium, agriculture, space, developing modern infrastructure- from railways, highways, waterways, airways to energy pathways.
In his address, the President said, “We are committed to transformational economic growth in India. But we want to be respectful of Mother Earth, of nature, in the same manner, and with same devotion as you have done. We want our progress to be propelled by clean technology and sustainable practices. We want growth and environment protection to go hand in hand. We have established the International Solar Alliance to develop clean pathways and to tackle climate change. We welcome Bolivia in the Alliance and look forward to creating a greener planet with its support and ideas. As part of this commitment, we have a target to produce 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022, including 100 gigawatts of solar energy. We are developing our capacity and at the same time making available our services to fellow countries to tap renewable energy. We see opportunities for tie-ups with Bolivia in solar, wind and biofuel segments. Talking of environment and sustainability, we have an ambitious program to develop electric vehicles in India. And for this, we want to enter into long-term Lithium partnership with Bolivia. Indian enterprises are keen to mark their presence here as investment and technology partners – to develop lithium products and to master storage technology. We look forward to such promising ventures taking wings. India has gained vast expertise in developing modern infrastructure – from railways, highways, waterways, airways to energy pathways. This can also be a potential area for collaboration between our two countries.”
The Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Arjun Ram Meghwal said that the Electric Mobility Mission will be implemented in phases based on feedback from the auto industry. He also promised all support to the industry on policy matters to ensure the smooth and efficient transformation of the automotive industry from internal combustion(IC) to electric powertrain. He informed that 3 lakh electric vehicles have already been sold under the FAME India Scheme.
Meghwal inaugurated the 3rd International Electric Vehicle (EV) Conclave at the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) in Manesar, Gurugram, today. The Conclave was held to create a knowledge-sharing platform to ensure flow of information at all levels in the automotive sector.
The EV Conclave organized by ICAT in association with India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) has grown and transformed itself into a global event since its inception in 2017. Owing to the growth of electric mobility and in order to meet the demands of the automotive sector, the EV Conclave is organized with a focus on new trends and challenges in the field of electric mobility.
Bengaluru-based EV start-up Simple Energy, which is gearing up to roll out its initial product (electric scooter) in the first half of 2021, is planning to capitalize around Rs 45 crore in setting up a production facility, its founder Suhas Rajkumar said.
The plant, which will primarily have a capacity to produce 50,000 vehicles in the initial year of the commissioning, will come up near Hosur in Tamil Nadu.
Besides launching the flagship Mark 2, the company may add another product in its portfolio during the current year but has not yet decided whether it will be a bike or a better-version of the scooter, Rajkumar said.
In November 2020, the EV maker announced that its prototype Mark 1 e-scooter accomplished an ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India)-certified range of more than 230 km with a developed-in-house 4 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery pack.
"We are looking to set up our factory around Hosur (an industrial city in the Krishanigiri district of Tamil Nadu) at a capacity of 50,000 units for the first year.
"The plant set-up will begin from June-July, post the launch. We are keeping a minimum time gap between the launch and the delivery of the product," Rajkumar expressed.
He said Simple Energy will raise $8 million (around Rs 58.50 crore) in Series-A funding by March-April for setting up the plant and product launch. "We are capitalizing Rs 45 crore in setting up the manufacturing facility," Rajkumar added.
He also said the company has closed the angel round with four investors on-board.
Rajkumar said the capital requirement initially is around $15 million for swiftly expanding the business to four-five cities.
The company will launch Mark 2 by the first half of this year in three major locations - Bengaluru, Chennai, and Delhi - to begin with, and then progressively expand to other cities such as Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata.
Mark 2 will have a range of 230 km and come with a removable battery, and a top speed of 100 kilometre per hour (kph).
After the launch, the deliveries will start to the customers with pre-launch bookings from October-November onwards, he said adding that in the first year of the launch, the company expects a sales volume of 10,000 units from three cities together.
"We are looking to launch two products this year, including Mark 2, for sure. Tentatively, there will be one more product that would be coming in and it could be a bike or a better version of the scooter," he said.
Rajkumar said the company hopes to launch as many products as possible and will begin with Mark 2. "We will see the market response after the delivery of the first product, gauge its success and then roll out more offerings."
He said Mark 2 will be priced between Rs 1.10 lakh and Rs 1.20 lakh, and in terms of pricing, it will be almost equal to a BS-VI Activa scooter. "We aim to reduce the price gap between a vehicle with an IC Engine and an electric one."
Simple Energy is aiming at 15 dealerships with three experience centre, one each in Bengaluru, Chennai, and Delhi by March next year and the sales distribution will work through a hub-and-spoke model with experience centres serving as the hub in each city, he said.
Rajkumar said even as the Simple Energy e-scooter has a removable battery and the vehicle can be charged at any charging station.
The company would also set up its own fast-charging stations, Matrix, at places like metro stations, petrol pumps, and cafes and is scouting partners for such charging infrastructure, he added.
"We are looking at charging stations every 3-4 km but it remains in the initial stages, as our vehicles come with removable batteries. We plan to install 20-25 supercharging facilities in Bengaluru in partnerships which will be universal charging stations for any type," he said.
*Image Courtesy: Simple Energy
With the view to bolster the manufacturing capabilities of the country and enhance exports, the Union Cabinet today approved production-linked incentives (PLI) in 10 key sectors including Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) battery, under the Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India) vision.
The 10 key sectors have received a total financial outlay of INR 1,45,980 crore over a period of five years, of which, ACC battery has been approved a financial outlay of INR 18,100 crores. Automobiles and auto components have been approved INR 57,042 crores.
“The PLI scheme will be implemented by the concerned ministries/departments and will be within the overall financial limits prescribed. The final proposals of PLI for individual sectors will be appraised by the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) and approved by the Cabinet,” the official statement said.
The objective of the PLI scheme across these 10 key specific sectors is to make Indian manufacturers globally competitive, attract investment in the areas of core competency and cutting-edge technology; ensure efficiencies; create economies of scale; enhance exports and make India an integral part of the global supply chain.
ACC battery manufacturing represents one of the largest economic opportunities for several global growth sectors, such as consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and renewable energy. The PLI scheme for the ACC battery sector is expected to incentivize large domestic and international players in establishing a competitive ACC battery set-up in the country. In the auto sector, the PLI scheme aims to make the Indian automotive industry more competitive and enhance the globalization of the automotive sector through the latest incentives.
India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), the leading industry alliance focused on the advancement of advanced energy storage and e-mobility technologies in India welcomed the PLI scheme announced by the Government of India.
Commenting on the government's move, Dr. Rahul Walawalkar, President, India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), said, "This is an extraordinary move by the government and is a result of 4+ years of industry push led by IESA and other stakeholders. This national program holds immense importance as it is going to accelerate the Aatamnirbhar Abhiyan in domestic manufacturing, helping India to enter the global value chain for advanced energy storage technologies.”
“We are thankful to Shri. Amitabh Kant and NITI Aayog team for their leadership along with contributions from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Heavy Industries (DHI), Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE), and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in shaping this program,” Dr. Walawalkar added.
IESA has been actively working in this space for the past three years, collating information from industry players (IESA member companies) and submitting inputs on the discussion for Advanced Battery Manufacturing in India.
"Since May 2019, IESA has been in constant communication with the NITI Aayog and other ministries/departments on the launch of the Mission," IESA said in its official statement.
In July this year, IESA wrote a letter to the PMO requesting to expedite the launch of the Advanced Chemistry Cell - Gigafactory Manufacturing Plan. In September this year, with the view to further accelerate their efforts, IESA banded with industry associations like Indian Electrical & Electronics Manufacturers' Association (IEEMA), India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF), ELCINA, and Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology (MAIT) and submitted inputs urging the ministry to take the necessary steps for promoting Advanced Battery Manufacturing in India.
IESA wrote multiple letters to the ministry explaining the urgency of the Mission and the need to avoid delays which could lead to India missing out on investment opportunities to other countries.
Moving forward, Dr. Walawalkar suggests there is a need for the government to pick some measures for kick-starting deployments of energy storage technologies in a systematic manner that will help investors to commit billions of dollars required for building gigafactories and the rest of the supply chain. This does not necessarily require the government to subsidize the demand, but to identify applications where these technologies are economical and government agencies can save money by adopting the ACC technologies (similar to how the LED rollout was planned through EESL).
Making SECI a case in point, Dr. Walawalkar proposed as SECI has already identified series of projects and business models for deployment of large-scale renewable hybrid projects, the government can also focus on utilizing energy storage for reducing diesel consumption to help with air quality and pollution reduction.
"IESA is committed to supporting this initiative by bringing together various companies that are ready to invest and are also driving initiatives to accelerate the adoption of energy storage and EVs from the private sector through initiatives such as E$$Meet, MOVE and EV Adopters Club," Dr. Walawalkar added.
“With the launch of the ACC Battery Manufacturing Mission, we hope that the government will also monitor the progress of these projects and ensure timely completion to help build industry confidence."
MG Motor India and Tata Power Corporation Limited have inaugurated the first superfast charging EV station in the city. Further strengthening the electric vehicle ecosystem, the move is part of MG’s fresh partnership with Tata Power for positioning of 50 KW DC superfast charging stations across the country.
The public EV charging station is accessible to all vehicles attuned with CCS/ CHAdeMO fast-charging standards and is in line with MG’s commitment to providing a 5-way charging ecosystem. The MG ZS EV can be charged up to 80% in 50 minutes at the facility. Other charging options with the MG ZS, India’s first pure electric internet SUV – include - free-of-cost AC fast-charger installation at the customer’s home/office, extended charging network, a cable to charge anywhere, and charge-on-the-go with RSA (roadside assistance).
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Gaurav Gupta, Chief Commercial Officer, MG Motor India, said, “Further strengthening the EV charging ecosystem in Nagpur, the partnership aims to provide customers with a robust charging ecosystem to promote the adoption of cleaner and greener mobility solutions. We feel confident that it will pave the way for superior EV adoption in the region. With Tata Power as a partner, a renowned major in the field of renewable energy, we are confident that we will create a distinct synergy together.”
Noting on the inauguration, Rajesh Naik, Chief - New Business Services, Tata Power said, “Now, more than ever, businesses have to work with a purpose – one of which is to ensure we take responsibility for protecting our environment. At Tata Power, we are heavily committed to sustainable energy solutions. Our collaboration with MG Motor demonstrates our commitment to add impetus to the EV migration in India. Nagpur’s first-ever superfast charging EV station is just the beginning and we look forward to quickly adding more cities to this exciting transformation.”
MG Motor India has a total of 10 superfast 50 kW charging stations across its dealerships in five cities - New Delhi- NCR, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad with alike expansions to more cities. Tata Power, on the other hand, has established an elaborate EV charging ecosystem with 200+ charging points in 24 different cities under the EZ Charge brand along with a digital platform to enable an easy & smooth customer experience. The MG-Tata Power partnership will comprise core values and operating models that are in line with their prevailing customer-centric approach.
Image Courtesy: Tata Power Corporation Limited
Pune-based two-and three-wheelers manufacturer Bajaj Auto Ltd is strategizing to set up a devoted production plant for Chetak, its electric scooter.
Rajiv Bajaj, managing director, Bajaj Auto believed that the company is planning to ramp up production capacity for Chetak and as a result is considering setting up a dedicated manufacturing unit with an annual capacity of half a million units for the same.
The electric scooter is presently produced at the company’s Chakan plant, a unit that characteristically operates at near-100 percent capacity utilization around the year. It also rolls out premium KTM and Husqvarna bikes for the domestic as well as export markets from the site.
Delhi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad are among the key locations that are being assessed by the company to set up the supposed manufacturing unit, Bajaj said, adding that he finds the freshly released electric vehicle (EV) policies by Delhi, Telangana, and Karnataka promising.
Released earlier in August, the Delhi EV Policy 2020 targets to drive the adoption of battery electric vehicles or EVs so that they contribute to 25 percent of new vehicle registrations by 2024 in the national capital.
Bajaj Auto is already known to be working on a pipeline of new electric vehicles intended at expanding its EV portfolio. It presently has only one model on sale - Chetak. New EVs planned are directed at expanding the Chetak portfolio along with new models positioned under its premium KTM and Husqvarna brands.
Image Courtesy: Bajaj Auto
Electric vehicle manufacturer Ampere has announced its collaboration with eBikeGO and established an order from the e-mobility start-up for the supply of 2,000 electric scooters. The development trails Ampere seizing an order of 3,000 e-scooters from Bengaluru-based scooter rental start-up Bounce.
"Our partnership with eBikeGO is a significant step towards catering the increasing last-mile delivery demands from leading e-commerce platforms in the country," believed P Sanjeev, Chief Operating Officer, Ampere Electric.
He further that the firm has established a strong technology and service support to facilitate fast-growing EV subscription platforms such as eBikeGO.
"The initial order from them for 2,000 Ampere electric scooters is just the start, we can see this partnership going a long way ahead," he further.
Redefining the future of last-mile deliveries, there has been a substantial rise in demand for home deliveries, and this corporation impeccably suits last-mile logistics delivery support required by e-commerce players, held the company.
With this association, Ampere electric reinforces its presence in the fast-growing business-to-business (B2B) shared mobility service segment, it added.
"As an EV start-up, we endeavor to provide clean mobility solutions, Ampere is one of our trusted partners in our growth journey," believed Irfan Khan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, eBikeGO.
He further that with easy rental options, now consumers will have more choice to be on the go even if they do not own a vehicle.