Traffic jams, expensive parking and polluted air is definitely not the future we envisage. In the recent times, electric vehicles (EVs) have come to the mainstream prominence. While unveiling the Interim Budget, the finance minister shared the vision of having 30% EVs in the mobility mix by 2030. Taking a cue from the same and coming up with key steps to help promote the growth of EVs, the Delhi government allocated Rs 100 crore to the state electric vehicle fund in its 2019-20 budget. The budget will usher the Capital, especially its public transport, into electric mobility.
While the government is warming up to the importance of electric mobility and introducing favourable policies and provisions, it is the tech-driven start-ups of the country that are taking the field forward. Here’s how start-ups are utilising technology to power up India’s EV revolution:
Boosting the nation’s manufacturing prowess: For India to emerge as an EV powerhouse, we have to boost its manufacturing muscle. Recently, the Centre formed the National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage to localise production of EVs and components, by finalising the framework for a phased manufacturing programme.
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However, the real potential for domestic manufacturing can be seen in the nascent ventures. With the help of tech-enabled start-ups, India has begun to produce EVs indigenously, right from design to manufacturing. The ventures have attracted the interest of government officials and industry’s top investors and start-up evangelists alike. As more such ventures sprout up, backed by automobile manufacturing giants, favourable government schemes and more, India’s EV manufacturing potential will only grow in leaps and bounds.
Battery production: India has been lagging behind in battery production, and the nation has depended on imports. However, several tech ventures have been developing lithium-ion batteries in-house, which not only are an eco-friendly alternative, but also offer better efficiencies. As these batteries are detachable, these can be charged conveniently, instead of having to wait at charging stations.
In this year’s Budget, the import duty on the Li-ion batteries has been increased from 5% to 15%. The same would either force manufacturers to increase prices of EVs, thus reducing their lustre, or it can inspire manufacturers to start producing batteries indigenously, thus having a better control on prices. Also, the biggest way to forge indigenisation of EVs is by sourcing batteries within the country.
Smart, shared mobility solutions: Much like the Delhi government planning to usher the city into electric mobility through public transportation, start-ups are growing the adoption of electric bikes and e-scooters via smart, shared mobility solutions. Dock-less electric scooters have been hitting the city roads and can be hired remotely via an app and unlocked simply by scanning a QR code. On the completion of a short trip, like from a metro station to an office or college, the e-bikes can be parked in the vicinity, with the only exception of private compounds or gated communities.
Within the app, one can also see important information regarding e-scooters, e-bikes, such as the remaining power of the battery, the distance it can cover and more, thus helping every day commuters make an informed and eco-friendly choice of a commute. In addition to helping India transition to electric mobility as a mainstream mode of commute, these tech-enabled ventures can solve the hassle of short-mile connectivity in the country, which is actually 66% of all of Indian daily commute landscape.
As the EV sector gradually grows, more such tech-enabled ventures will find enough impetus in the market for their products and services. Driven by sustainability, and with the help of smoother government policies and support from industry leaders, tech ventures will be poised to achieve the EV dream in India. The consumer shift and resource allocation towards electric and sustainable will only increase over time as investors flood the space, unlocking valuable opportunities in the EV industry.
The author is co-founder and CEO, Mobycy, the electric bike sharing platform. Views are personal