Top technology-driven trends to watch in 2021: Electrification, shared mobility

Rising fuel prices combined with depleting savings and employment woes owing to the pandemic have opened up the opportunity for deeper penetration and acceptance of electric two and three-wheelers

August 9, 2021 5:42 PM
Changes to FAME II will help the EV market

There is a sense of enthusiasm, optimism and excitement among EV & OEM manufacturers across the country with the Government’s announcement to increase subsidies on EVs under the FAME II scheme aiming for faster adoption and seamless transition favouring the EV ecosystem across the country. Termed as “A Phenomenal Move” by automobile industry veterans, this comes as a game-changer for the ecosystem, as the adoption trends and advancements are set for a great leap forward – something that will revolutionize the industry in times to come.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the dynamics of this space forever, with specific challenges and complications within India’s shared automotive and mobility sector. Companies big and small, are left with the daunting task to frugally innovate in order to survive in the long run.

Innovative business models and an X Factor in terms of the offering can give OEMs & shared mobility companies a remarkable advantage over their competitors. These hard hits are tilting the field in favour of EV OEMs, as the pandemic paves way for some incredible trends set to revolutionize the industry. With more emphasis on technology and innovation, there are certain trends that are expected to drive the growth & adoption of EVs across sectors – with Electrification in Shared Mobility playing an integral role in the penetration. Here’s how it is significant in terms of the demographics of India.

Shared Electric Mobility – led by start-ups

The growth of new verticals such as last-mile delivery, rentals, pick-up & drop-offs and ride-hailing fuelled by startups focusing upon the next-gen of mobility solutions for the millennials – has led to an increased demand for shared mobility, with players striving to bring their costs down by switching to sustainable solutions that can give a better ROI over the long run – especially in terms of productivity.

Indian EV manufacturers are coming up with better products focused upon the needs of the consumers & businesses with more focus on life beyond the pandemic and how things may shape up in the long run. There is a dire need for sustainable mobility solutions as India gears up for a major leap forward by switching onto clean energy for majority of its production and energy needs. 2021 may lead the way for more vehicles based on the CASE module – which affirms that the future is Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Electric.

More emphasis on IoT & Telematics

With access to geolocation and real-time map data, EVs & OEMs are expected to make logistics & last-mile deliveries faster and more user-friendly – by leveraging the power of the internet to penetrate further onto tier 2 & tier 3 cities. Moreover, as more companies invest heavily in AI, R&D and technology to create better vehicle management systems & “Peace of Mind” usage for the drivers. The use of IoT-based telematics has opened new doors for both drivers & businesses giving them instantaneously (and time series) access to a host of important information including vehicle health, driving status, vehicle tracking, maintenance check-ups & proactive alerts so that any vehicle downtime is eliminated. This is revolutionary in so many ways, considering the fact that vehicle manhandling is a known issue in the commercial vehicle sector.

Sustainable solutions built upon indigenous technologies

As we surpass the adversities that came with the second COVID wave, becoming environmentally conscious seems to have become the mantra for everyone. The increasing need for sustainability is expected to drive more innovation in this sector with OEMs coming up with better batteries based on Li-ion (and newer) technology, managing to add more kilowatts at a lesser price.

Technologies need to be built and backed based upon the Indian conditions, as the contrasting weather conditions and the load management on uneven Indian roads can become a daunting task for manufacturers and thus, more emphasis needs to be laid upon the topography and transportation channels that are exclusive to India in the first place.

Better electric motors

The heart of any electric vehicle, the e-motor should ensure high efficiency and maximum regeneration, irrespective of the road or traffic conditions. Durability over a longer life span is the key to produce quality EVs and the electric motor’s role stands instrumental in this scenario as the electric motor ensures the robustness of the electrical architecture of the vehicle by acting as the receptor to the electrical energy from the battery and distributing it throughout the vehicle by converting it to mechanical energy. The electric motor fuels the functioning of the EV, overall.

Special EV controls & transmissions

Although clutchless gearboxes have become a norm nowadays, transferring power at high efficiencies is crucial as adequate usage of power ensures extended longevity of the vehicle even in tough environmental conditions.

Overall, the coronavirus pandemic has led companies to find modern and innovative ways to battle traditional problems as the non-EV players realise that up-gradation is the key to avoid elimination. Alongside, with more focus on ease of use, reduction in the total cost of ownership (TCO) and easy availability and replacement of spare parts including the battery – the major emphasis is on making EVs more rugged and providing more value for money as compared to the traditional combustion vehicles.

Rising fuel prices combined with depleting savings and employment woes owing to the pandemic have opened up the opportunity for deeper penetration and acceptance of electric two and three-wheelers as they are quickly affirming their positions as the early and ideal adaptors of EV technology.

As more EVs qualify for the FAME II and state subsidy, India’s shift to sustainable shared mobility seems promising as more startups innovate and adapt to green, environment-friendly solutions over the long run. Even though there have been huge advancements in terms of use cases and technology in EVs in the last two decades, the once nascent sector is finally realising its full potential in the commercial vehicle ecosystem as huge room for growth looms on the horizon.

Author: Amitabh Saran, CEO, Altigreen Propulsion Labs

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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