Live: India is one of the fastest-growing markets in the commercial vehicle business globally, however, for a vast country, it has its challenges. A global solution is not the answer. At the 2023 FE Commercial Vehicle Conclave, industry experts, OEMs, stakeholders, and policymakers gather to debate and discuss locally-developed solutions to solve challenges.
The day-long event includes keynote addresses and panel discussions, while experts discuss how telematics and connected tech, cleaner emissions, alternate fuels, financing, and other aspects play a key role in the future of trucking in India. Stay tuned for all the live updates.
FE Commercial Vehicle Conclave Live Updates
After an intense and informative day, the FE Commercial Vehicle Conclave is a wrap. A grand success. Kudos to the team.
Bal Malkit Singh, past president and chairman core committee, AITC says the suggestions of the major stakeholders in the trucking community have not been taken into consideration in the scrappage policy. The retrofitment of new engines and reconditioning should be allowed, so that there is no economic loss. “You won't shoot a 70 year old man in the head, because he has reached 'end of life', similarly why scrap perfectly usable vehicles?”
Dealers should be empowered to authorise vehicles for scrapping he adds, rather than just a blanket rule. Infrastructure should be in place.
Adding to Malkit Singh's views, Prasanna Patwardhan, president, BOCI says nearly 10 lakh vehicles in the past few years would need to be scrapped. But we don't have the infrastructure. Out of 19 lakh buses, 6 lakh buses are working for schools, where annual mileage is not more than 15,000 Km. So it's not even out of warranty when it reaches scrapping age. Whereas intercity buses reach more than 15 lakh Km in just 7-8 years. We need to find a system that looks at number of kilometres and hours of running.
“Dog lives for 10 years, elephant lives for 100 years, but you are saying shoot both at 10 years of age,” says Patwardhan.
Bal Malkit Singh adds: With so much of technology, still there is harassment of truckers on highways. Officers should be given devices to check papers digitally, but still there are old systems and bribery of nearly Rs 48,000 crore annually he says quoting a Save Life Foundation study.
One needs to assign an end of life to a truck or a bus, keeping in mind the safety of the drivers and passengers and also the profitability of the vehicle. You have a birth certificate for a vehicle in the form of registration, now you have a death certificate for the vehicle which is the scrap certificate, says Ashish Bhagra, COO, Mahindra
Manish Raj Singhania, president, FADA says dealers are the facilitators between OEMs and the customers. With all the change coming in the CV space, new initiatives will come up in dealer spaces. With that there will be the need for skill enhancement and technological changes too.
As dealerships, selling to individual buyers or smaller fleet owners is more profitable than selling to large fleet operators.
Staying in the trucking space is not really profitable for all. Kunal Aggarwal, co-founder, Kool-Ex says that he found it was better to switch to an alternate business and hence got into the cold-chain system. In fact, he says 1.97 billion doses of the 2 billion Covid vaccine doses were moved by Kool-Ex.
Bal Malkit Singh, past president and chairman core committee, AITC says that with electrification happening, India's dependency on China will increase because the largest share of lithium mines and battery production is with China. Trucking is the second largest industry in India after agriculture.
Prasanna Patwardhan, president, BOCI says that there is still huge demand and waiting period in the commercial vehicle segment for new vehicles.
The last panel for the day begins with Manish Raj Singhania, President, FADA, Ashish Bhagra, COO, Mahindra CERO, Kunal Aggarwal, Co-Founder, Kool-Ex, Bal Malkit Singh, Past President & Chairman Core Committee, AITC, Prasanna Patwardhan, President, BOCI, and Nilesh Wadhwa.
Dheeraj Hinduja, Executive Chairman, Ashok Leyland
Up next is the third panel discussion of the day: Replacement Demand and CV Sales. The panelists include Manish Raj Singhania, Ashish Bhagra, Kunal Aggarwal, Bal Malkit Singh, Prasanna Patwardhan, and Nilesh Wadhwa. Stay tuned.
With 5G technology, the speed at which telematics and telemetry in a vehicle will be far more effective. It is a game changer for software on wheels. ADAS, driver monitoring systems etc, will all work much better with 5G.
Price sensitivity is very high in this country, so while we can talk about high-end products, at the end of the day it needs to be affordable, says Uday Narang. He says there's a huge opportunity in the 1-ton truck, but this is a very cost sensitive segment which looks at total cost of ownership. We need to look at scale and volume and look at how to reduce costs.
Answering a question on the possibility of autonomous vehicles in the CV segment, all the panelists say that it's quite a while away. Regulations are needed first for autonomous vehicles, which India doesn't have. Also the infrastructure is lacking, and the roads are not conducive to autonomous vehicles in India.
Commercial vehicles right now are a bundle of software on wheels, says Abhinav Srivastava, CIO & Head of IT services, DICV. Telematics provide a lot of use cases for CVs. New technologies of connectivity like 5G will compliment this whole ecosystem. With telematics we can improve profitability, drivability and safety, he says.
A truck can generate 60 million data points every single second. This data needs to be churned and it can give a huge amount of insights on driver behaviour, which is a goldmine for many organisations.
There is a new opportunity in the EV space. We are one of the first companies to start inter-city EV buses, like Bengaluru to Tirupathi or Hyderabad to Vijayawada, which are really high-end buses, says Devndra Chawla, CEO, Greencell Mobility. This takes a lot of investment to create the infrastructure for this kind of facility. The routes are around 400 Km, which needs a charging stop in between when the buses stop.
Electric buses are picking up space in cities, even in tier-2 cities. There are challenges as well, as the infrastructure needs to pick up. OEMs need to pick up on this, says Anurag Agarwal, vice-chairman, PMI Electro Mobility. Cost is also a challenge and that has to be overcome without a compromise in quality. Battery cost is still a challenge.
When it comes to electrification in the CV space, one should not look at competition as such, but look at working together to embrace the latest technologies in the space, says Uday Narang, founder and chairman, Omega Seiki Mobility.
The third panel for the day is on electrification, a topic that's been discuss a lot in the commercial vehicle space today. The panelists:
The session is being moderated by Nilesh Wadhwa of Financialexpress.com.
The government will need to focus on several areas such as: EVs, autonomous vehicles with AI – guidelines are needed. The govt also needs to focus on infrastructure, as more EVs and autonomous vehicles are sold. Govt needs to add charging stations, rest facilities etc on the new green-field corridors and expressways. Govt also needs to focus on safety standards to ensure safety of CVs, including crash worthiness, driver assistance systems and vehicle to vehicle communication. Envirnomental regulations, the government needs to focus on cleaner fuels.
Summary of pointers from Dr. Ajit Shinde:
* Adoption of electric vehicles in the state – govt to have 10% EVs on the road by 2025.
* FAME scheme – MH govt has provided incentives for purchase of EVs.
* MSRTC and BEST have procured a large number of electric buses to promote electric mobility in the state and established charging infrastructure.
* MH govt has provided subsidies to set up charging stations in the state.
* Tax incentives – MH govt is providing incentives to purchase EVs.
Dr Ajit Shinde, Regional Transport Officer, Pune Region, says Indian government has set ambitious target for electric CVs. There is a need for upgradation of old fleets in India which are less polluting. The Indian CV industry has significant export potential and companies who are expanding and exporting is a significant investment opportunity. Electrification in the CV space can be seen as both luxury or the need of the hour.
In a special address at the FE CV Conclave, Dr Ajit Shinde, Regional Transport Officer, Pune says that there is a huge opportunity in electrification in the CV space, to address environmental concerns and regulatory requirements.
Infrastructure growth pace in India is satisfying, says Farrokh Cooper, the Chairman & MD, Cooper Corporation. Facilities are there, mindset and ambition will help grow businesses in India.
Electrification unlikely to replace all other fuel sources but see multiple fuel options to coexist. Customer demand will dictate usage trends. The comfort factor and relative talent strength key enablers of the Make In India story.
On the stage for the Fireside Chat on Make in India for the World are Farrokh N Cooper, Chairman & MD, Cooper Corporation and Roshun Povaiah, Editor, FinancialExpress.com
* People will come to India to make in India because of the opportunity with the market opening up and looking at the cost factor of making in India. There are many suppliers setting up base here.
* Ease of doing business is something India needs to improve on, but it's also an opportunity.
* Safety and quality need to be kept in mind when setting up facilities in India.
* Regulations may be world-class, but implementation is something that needs to be addressed.
* Globally, manufacturers are looking at a second source after China and that's an opportunity.
The initial regulations for CVs were all driven towards diesel, says Dr. S.S. Thipse, senior deputy director, ARAI. Now regulations are being enabled for all – CNG, LNG, BioCNG, methanol, hydrogen. But it hasn't transferred into the field because of infrastructure gaps.
Regulation-wise we are all for new technologies, but safety has to be kept in mind, he says, citing an example of the initial uptake of CNG – where retrofitment and jugaad led to huge safety issues. Rules can be made as strict as possible, but implementation still needs to be addressed, he says.
Today, India has an opportunity because the country is at par or even superior to many other countries, says Sulajja Firodia Motwani of Kinetic Green. The new innovations in electric and last mile are leading to new opportunities. Capturing opportunities to disrupt is a way to approach India's commercial vehicle mobility.
Collaborations and partnerships have also brought in new approaches in the market. Foreign collaborations allow for new technologies to come in faster in the market.
Anil Baliga, President, Eka Mobility says the kind of meticulousness to get the quality right is still missing in India.
As an example, he says Volvo set up its first engine plant in Pitampura outside of Sweden. But they took nearly a year to get the quality right.
Indian manufacturers are now beginning to look at aesthetics. This was missing earlier. Quality was never top priority, compared to the mindset in overseas markets.
Dr S.S. Thipse, senior deputy director, ARAI says from the government side with the huge building of infrastructure in roads, there is huge potential, even more than railways and sea. India's regulations are among the most stringent in the world he adds.
He says that BS7 and Euro7 norms may come in together at the same time, as India is evolving very fast in adopting new technologies. This is keeping the regulators on their toes!
Ramesh Palagiri, MD, Wirtgen India, says with the infrastructure boom in the last few years, Indian OEMs are now already manufacturing nearly 20-50% of construction equipment for the world. OEMs globally have recognised that we can produce world class quality in India. India is cost competitive, even compared to China. As long as India continues to focus on quality, there is huge potential for India to be a manufacturing hub for the world.
On the R&D front, India has a huge potential too. He cited an example that nearly 25% of John Deere's R&D happens in India.
Sulajja Firodia Motwani, founder and CEO, Kinetic Green says light mobility using EV will revolutionise commercial vehicles in the last mile. She says India has a huge opportunity to become a global manufacturing hub in the small form factor space – three-wheelers, quadricycles and two-wheelers in the commercial space. India can be a global hub for design and manufacturing. It can be a supplier of components and vehicles for the last mile especially in light mobility.
The second panel discussion on the topic Making India a Global Manufacturing Hub consists of Sulajja Firodia Motwani, Founder & CEO, Kinetic Green, Dr. S.S. Thipse, Senior Deputy Director, ARAI, Anil Baliga, President, Eka Mobility, and Ramesh Palagiri, MD, Wirtgen India. The panel is being moderated by Sumana Sarkar, Assistant Editor Desk Lead- Mobility, Infra & Defence, FinancialExpress.com
The second panel discussion for the day is on making India a global manufacturing hub for commercial vehicles. The panel comprises:
The panel is being moderated by Sumana Sarkar, Assistant Editor, FinancialExpress.com.
– Ashok Leyland's Avatar Modular Platform helps cater to different fuel options
– Expect market share and adoption of cleaner fuel tech will increase by 2030
– Diesel usage set to decline but will not go away in a hurry; expect larger shift out of Diesel by 2025
TCO governed by the fuel efficiency, better fuel economy, and options that are stable and safe will be popular choice, says Aniruddha Kulkarni of Tata Motors. V Ramanathan of ZF Group says “By 2025 expect TCO of electric engines to be at par with IC engines and by 2030 expect TCO of fuel cells to better than ICEs.
By 2030 India will see faster shift towards fuel of future, electrification and green hydrogen; fuel alternatives may co-exist for a while but eventually it will all shift towards sustainable fuel.
The first of the many panel discussions for the day begins. Topic: Energy Mix for the Future. On the stage we have Aniruddha Kulkarni, VP and Head, CV engineering, Tata Motors, Alok Verma, Head Corporate Strategy & ESG, Ashok Leyland, V Ramanathan, Head – OE Business – CV Solutions Division, ZF Group, and Nitin Chamaria, CFO, Blue Energy. Moderating the session is Roshun Povaiah, Editor, FinancialExpress.com.
Minutes into the 2023 FE Commercial Vehicle Conclave and it's almost a full house. Audience, stakeholders, and suppliers eager to know the future of the commercial vehicle industry in India and what locally-developed solutions can help global markets.
And the FE Commercial Vehicle Conclave begins. Sumana Sarkar, Assistant Editor Desk Lead -Mobility, Infra & Defence, FinancialExpress.com starts the event with the welcome note.
The 2023 FE Commercial Vehicle Conclave will see industry experts and policymakers on one stage, discussing the future of the industry. From technology to alternate fuels, all the important topics discussed in this day-long event.
Good morning everyone. The stage is set for the FE Commercial Vehicle Conclave. Registrations are underway and the event will begin shortly.