360-degree ecosystem with smart sales/service to boost India’s EV adoption needs

With rising concerns around climate change, severe health hazards arising out of pollution, carbon emissions, and the dire need for environmentally sustainable solutions; all these are pushing the vehicle market to adopt EVs.

By:Published: May 11, 2020 6:29 PM

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“Necessity is the mother of all inventions” – though this adage has been doing the rounds since time immemorial, it still holds steam even to this day. If we take a look around, all the modern new-age technological innovations and advancements owe its genesis to consumers’ needs, desires, wants and aspirations. With rising concerns around climate change, severe health hazards arising out of pollution, carbon emissions from fossil fuels, and the dire need for environmentally sustainable solutions; all these are pushing the vehicle market to adopt EVs in a big way.

However, having a solution is not enough. What is needed is a supporting infrastructural ecosystem to make that solution implementable on ground. India’s vehicle market has been undergoing seismic shifts where the growth has been catapulted by buyers moving from lower segment vehicles to sub-luxury segment vehicles. Another push in the automobile sector has been the introduction of alternate fuel running vehicles or Electric Vehicles (EVs) in the country.

As per Electric Vehicle (EV) Market Overview report presented by the India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), India’s leading alliance on energy storage put forth that, the total EV sales in 2018 hit 365,920 Units and are expected to grow at a CAGR of 36% till 2026. This has gathered further momentum, thanks to the recent implementation of the FAME India Scheme which was introduced in 2015 to promote the manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle technology.

Worldwide, while China and other countries such as Germany had been at the forefront of EV adoption in their respective markets, they already had a future-ready infrastructure in place to support the necessary growth momentum. They also have well-entrenched guidelines and policies in place to support growth. So, how can the Indian market push forth EVs and in what ways can this segment chart a healthy growth on our turf?

The market for these alternate fuel running vehicles or Electric Vehicles has been expanding exponentially, with more and more countries looking at viable partnerships with OEMs or dealerships that can offer them an end-to-end solution for implementing an all-encompassing EV infrastructure. In India, on the other hand, the pickup has been dismal, owing to several challenges.

The report published by the India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) says that the EV battery market is forecasted to grow at 30% CAGR, registering a growth of 28.0 GWh till 2026. The same report also forecasted that the public charging infrastructure shall grow at a CAGR of 60% and the total charger sales shall grow by up to 50,000 units till 2026. However, all of this relies on indispensable factors such as creating robust charging infrastructure and reducing India’s over-dependency on battery imports. Both these issues can be managed when we start manufacturing rechargeable batteries indigenously and augment our electricity generation potential.

Other impending challenges include the dearth of robust on-ground infrastructure, lack of incentives linked to local manufacturing, lack of intent in investing in future-ready technologies, buoyed by consumer’s reluctance and anxiety in purchasing these future-ready vehicles, amongst a host of others. Another important factor that is standing in the way of EV adoption – identifying and leveraging collaborations with OEMs and dealerships to create a strong 360-degree full-service infrastructure.

The EVs segment needs to create an entire ecosystem by connecting EVs to services and then connecting those specialised services to the potential customers, so as to generate revenue which can then be re-invested to further augment consumer experience. For example, to prevent a vehicle breakdown, a digital app can be introduced that can apprise a user of any anticipated problem that is likely to take place. This will help the user to identify the problem area and undertake corrective measures, so as to mitigate the issue. Here, the customer is offered an entire experience or a journey to see what parts of the vehicle are being replaced and is also offered a chance to witness the entire process of the EV being dismantled and then assembled – thereby guaranteeing clear and complete transparency.

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The second service segment can be the offering of customized insurance plans that caters to specific customers’ requirements based on the individual’s historical driving data. This will allow insurance companies to offer insurance plans that are more personalised to the users’ driving history and past driving behaviour. Such a facility will not only allow ease of service delivery by third-party vendors but will also equip dealerships to solve problems effortlessly in case of a vehicle breakdown/any other issue – all these provisions would translate to superlative customer experience.

A platform-agnostic app where all these customised services can be offered to users under one roof will be of great help in pushing the move towards EVs. The in-device app can provide consumers details on which particular vehicle suits him/her the best, the insurance plan associated with it, credits that can be given on the car or discounts that can be offered on a vehicle. It enables the customer to complete the whole buying process within a few hours, instead of a turnaround time that tends to usually span across numerous days/weeks.

As of now, the focus should be on service delivery and experience selling. The industry needs to work in tandem to come up with an ecosystem that prioritises customer satisfaction via prompt, streamlined, value-based services and solutions delivery portfolio.

Author: Akshay Yadav, Senior Project Lead, ATCS

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not represent those of The Indian Express Group or its employees.

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