First & Last Mile Mobility Conclave: Battery swapping to be disruptor to drive electric two- and three-wheeler space

To understand the road to climate conscious delivery better, Financial Express’ First & Last Mile Mobility Conclave 2022 organised a panel discussion. The eminent panellists included Mr Anant Nahata, MD, Exicom Tete-Systems; Dr Karuna Shankar Pande, Director – Last Mile Operations, Amazon India; Mr Prasad Sreeram, CEO, Cogos Technologies; Mr Rajit Arya, Co-Founder & CEO, Dispatch Vehicles. The session was moderated by Mr Som Kapoor, Partner – Automotive, EY.

The automotive industry is currently undergoing a major transition from ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles to battery-powered electric vehicles, not just in India but all across the world. While both of them have their fair share of positive and negative aspects, the pros of EVs far outweigh the challenges associated with them and so the world is transforming towards it.

One of the major reasons for the EV push can be also attributed to the fact that the world is now changing and moving towards sustainability. People have started considering switching to green mobility for environmental benefits as well. Moreover, even the big organisations are cutting down on their fossil fuel consumption and adapting themselves to reduce their overall carbon footprint. 

To understand the road to climate conscious delivery better, Financial Express’ First & Last Mile Mobility Conclave 2022 organised a panel discussion. The eminent panellists included Mr Anant Nahata, MD, Exicom Tete-Systems; Dr Karuna Shankar Pande, Director – Last Mile Operations, Amazon India; Mr Prasad Sreeram, CEO, Cogos Technologies; Mr Rajit Arya, Co-Founder & CEO, Dispatch Vehicles. The session was moderated by Mr Som Kapoor, Partner – Automotive, EY.

On being asked about how the industry is working to bring the total cost of ownership down for last-mile logistics, Nahata said that Exicom is working on batteries which can offer longer range, safety, and charging efficiency. “Within 2-3 years, batteries will be a digital game and they will show real-time statistics, thanks to software technologies.” He believes that while the prices will come down gradually, it’s a high commodity game and a lot of things depend on the raw commodity costs which have gone up in recent times.   

Dispatch Vehicles’ Arya said that the last-mile logistics have not been able to take off in the e-two-wheeler segment as the fleet operators are using vehicles originally designed for personal mobility. 

Amazon India’s Dr Pande agrees and said that they are looking to collaborate with OEMs in this space. Moreover, Amazon has set an ambitious target to have 50 per cent of its operations be net carbon zero across the world and 100 per cent by 2040.

EVs are considered an important attribute in the game of sustainability. Dr Pande said that by 2030, Amazon will have 1 lakh EVs across the world. Talking about the Indian market, he adds that Amazon India will have 10,000 electric three- and four-wheelers by 2025. 

Kapoor believes that electrification will happen the highest in the first- and last-mile mobility segment because of two main factors. They include circulation of movement in a specific geographical area and the asset spread. 

Cogos’ Sreeram said that the adoption of EVs can happen the fastest in the first- & last-mile mobility segment as the movement and costs are pretty high in this space. 

Talking about battery charging and battery swapping technology, Nahata added that both these models can co-exist together to boost the electric mobility segment in the country. Moreover, he believes that battery charging stations should be largely placed in secluded areas and not petrol pumps. 

Dr Pande shared that Amazon India has partnered Sun Mobility for the battery swapping and charging infrastructure. The company plans to deploy light CVs that are compatible with Sun Mobility’s battery swapping tech to boost economies and scale. 

Arya mentioned that Dispatch is building personalised electric two-wheelers, especially for the first & last-mile mobility segment along with light CVs. When asked about swapping versus charging tech in the near future, he believes that swapping technology will dominate the logistics sector unless the charging time of EVs comes down to as low as 15-20 minutes. 

Talking about new-age hydrogen-powered vehicles, Dr Pande stated that it’s an interesting technology and they want to remain invested in the same from the very beginning. However, he believes that currently EVs are a viable option and they are working to double down on them while remaining open to upcoming technologies. The other panellists also agreed with the same and EVs are the way going forward for climate conscious delivery.

Watch the full video of this insightful discussion and know more details about The Financial Express’ First & Last Mile Mobility Conclave 2022 by clicking HERE.

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