Auto Expo 2018, Greater Noida: Express Drives, the Automotive arm of The Financial Express has held two panel discussions at the Auto Expo 2018. Both Panels focused on issues that were paramount to the betterment of motoring and motor vehicles in India so as to ensure that in the years to come we can make our nation safer and better. One focused on Safety: examining the safety aspect of road use. The panel which comprised of stalwarts from the Automotive Industry included the likes of Dr Rohit Baluja, President, Director Institute of Road Traffic Education and Director, College of Traffic Management; Mohit Arora, Associate Director-Automotive, IHS Markit; Parveen Kharb CEO and Co-Founder Twenty Two Motors Pvt Limited; Deepangshu Dev Sarmah, Editor-in-Chief, Auto Tech Review. The panel was moderated by Arpit Mahendra, Editor, Express Drives.The event was set to the backdrop of SIAM Pavilion at the Auto Expo 2018 as the theme celebrated 70 years of the Indian Automotive industry. Historical landmarks that created India’s booming automotive industry set the backdrop to a thought provoking discussion about our future, adding a bit of emotion to this critical discussion.
Road-Safety: Responsibilities of stakeholders
The first segment of the panel discussion focused on road safety and how various stakeholders from across the industry can participate in improving our roadways. The panel also touched on how we can improve our road habits to make the roads safer not only for us but also for pedestrians using our roads. The panel discussed methods of improving the infrastructure and signage on roads as well as, drove home the need to teach road safety to our children attacking the problem at a grassroots level. With Electric OEM manufacturer Parveen Kharb representing Twenty Two Motors the panel discussed the safety and precautions needed in producing electric automobiles in India.
“Two panel discussions organised by Express Drives today provided a deep insight into automotive issues that are critical to India right now. We discussed Safety and Electromobility in the panel discussions and had some great insights from the experts. On the safety front, the biggest takeaway was the fact that most of the road signs and road infrastructure is not in sync with the laid guidelines and is responsible for accidents.” said Arpit Mahendra,Editor, Express Drives after the panel’s first discourse.
Electric Mobility and the Future ahead
The Indian Automotive Industry is standing at a crossroad as the government has hardlined a 2032 target to rid ourselves of the internal combustion engine. As the World’s largest market for two-wheelers and the fifth largest for Passenger cars, this involves an almost seismic shift that will affect all segments of the society. As thought leaders in the Automotive industry, the panel discussed methods to ensure the transition is smooth as possible and accomplished with tact. This involves understanding the magnitude of the change and preparing for it. The panel led us through discussions with topics like opportunities that will arise from this shift and challenges that we are likely to face. An interesting consensus that was reached was the fact the change to electric vehicles is likely to first be seen on commercial transit vehicles rather than passenger vehicles.
Speaking on the Industries seismic shift. Arpit Mahendra. Editor, Express Drives said “On the electric vehicle front, the conclusion was that despite the Government’s enthusiasm about its 2032 deadline for 100% electric mobility, the real change will be slow. Fleet-based vehicles and buses along with two-wheelers will be the first ones to adopt electrification. Passenger cars will be the last segment to get electrified and much beyond 2032.”
The Panel hypothesised in the end, that while the shift is inevitable, the 2032 goal for 100% electrification might be a little optimistic. Speaking during the discussion IHS Markit’s Mohit Arora said that he expects about 5% electrification by 2025. Meaning that the internal combustion engine may not be as far into the sunset as we thought.