Important Developments From The World Of Electric Vehicles [4-10 January]
The Indian electric vehicles market has much to rejoice this week. On the one hand, the first batch of the government’s EV tender is scheduled to be delivered in Delhi next week. On the other, French automobile manufacturer Renault is gearing up to launch Electric Kwid in China, followed by India.
Why is it important, you might be wondering. Well, the development marks an important moment for India as it would be the first time an electric vehicle manufactured domestically will be launched in a developed market like China. Coming to some of the developments that took place over the last seven days, Tata Power has launched two electric vehicle charging stations in Mumbai: one at a mall in Lower Panel and the other at Kurla’s Marketcity.
Government-appointed think tank NITI Aayog has started public consultation on the potential of zero-emission mobility technologies such as electric vehicles, hybrids and fuel cells, among others. In other news, the Union Cabinet has decided that the Aayog will be responsible for framing the policy on electric vehicles and will also act as the coordinator for the implementation of EV policies.
On the international front, South Korean automobile company Kia Motors has announced plans to launch 16 electric vehicles by 2025, including a fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) model in 2020. The Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance is reportedly set to launch a $1 Bn fund for auto tech startup working on electrification, connectivity, artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles.
Given that so much has been happening in the country’s electric vehicle sector, we bring to you the eighth edition of the weekly EV roundups.
Govt. Must Explore A Variety Of Alternative Fuel Sources: NITI Aayog
India’s transportation architecture should be based on a combination of fuel sources, instead of focussing just on electric vehicles, government-run think tank NITI Aayog said recently. Doing that would give much-needed relief to the country’ automobile manufacturers, argued Aayog member V. K. Saraswat argued.
According to Saraswat, relying on just one form of fuel will be more of an impediment to the government’s green mobility push. The NITI Aayog member further stated that switching to 100% electric power is not viable in India due to a number of reasons such as high cost of EV manufacturing and inadequate availability of raw materials needed for the production of lithium-ion batteries.
Incidentally, the government-appointed think tank is currently pitching for methanol as a more efficient alternative to fossil fuels. As per reports, the Aayog, in its recommendations to the government, had stated that vehicles fueled by conventionally-generated electricity are neither sustainable nor cost-effective. According to NITI Aayog’s reasoning, methanol is more easily available, less polluting and has higher electricity mobility than gasoline.
Tata Power Unveils Two More EV Charging Stations In Mumbai
After unveiling its first EV charging infrastructure at Vikhroli in August 2017, Tata Power, a subsidiary of Tata Group, has launched two more electric vehicle charging stations in Mumbai: one at a mall in Lower Panel and the other at Kurla’s Marketcity. As per sources, the company is in the process of setting up two more charging stations in the city of Mumbai.
Commenting on the development, Anil Sardana, MD and CEO of Tata Power said, “With these installations, Tata Power continues to pursue sustainable practices by using technology, thereby providing customer access to energy efficient options with ease. As the nation moves towards clean and affordable power for all, it is our endeavour to provide customers with the best solutions for a greener tomorrow.”
As stated by the company’s spokesperson, each of these stations equipped with advanced EV chargers that can monitor the status of car battery charging status as well as the units consumed during the charging process. Tata Power is planning to install more charging stations across the country for faster adoption of electric vehicles.
NITI Aayog To Frame EV Policies; To Act As Implementation Coordinator
During a recent Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha-chaired meeting, it was decided that NITI Aayog will be responsible for framing the policy on electric vehicles. Furthermore, the implementation of EV policies will be carried out by all concerned ministries. As per reports, the initiative will be spearheaded by a Mission Director, with NITI Aayog acting as a coordinator.
The development puts an end to the long-standing dispute as to which entity should be the implementing agency of the government’s ambitious EV mission. The meeting was reportedly convened by the Cabinet Secretary after several ministries expressed reservations against NITI Aayog being the implementing authority of India’s electric vehicle mission 2030.
In November 2017, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari had said that while the effort to bring all electric vehicle related issues under the same roof was a welcome move, the think tank should not have the power to make the final decision as to who should be implementing the government’s electric vehicle policies.
EESL Prepares For Nationwide Rollout Of 9,500 Electric Vehicles
EESL, the state-run body tasked with the procurement of EVs, is preparing for a nationwide rollout of 9,500 electric vehicles this year. The development comes at a time when the first phase of the government tender is coming to a close. Originally scheduled for November 30, the 500 electric vehicles will reportedly be delivered by Tata Motors and Mahindra in Delhi next week.
The first batch of EVs will be deployed in Delhi-NCR, EESL is looking to deploy the remaining 9,500 electric vehicles across the country. “We are actually planning to make it a pan-India rollout. Many states have evinced interest in our EV programme. Once we start the rollout at the NCR level, more states will follow,” said Saurabh Kumar, MD of EESL.
At present, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra are among the states that have expressed interest in being a part of the second phase. EESL invited tenders for up to 10,000 electric vehicles and 4,000 EV charging stations in September 2017. The tender was eventually awarded to Tata Motors, while Mahindra said it would match Tata Motors’ lowest bid of $15,534 (INR 10.16 Lakh) per vehicle.
Speaking about the second phase of the tender, Kumar added, “Tata Motors will anyway get 60% of the order, (as per the tender conditions). It’s up to Mahindra to match the price or not, because supplying 150 cars and 4,000 cars are two different things.”
The Aayog Calls For Green Number Plates, Free Parking For Electric Vehicles
In its recommendations, the government-appointed think tank NITI Aayog has suggested the use of green number plates to signify electric vehicles. At present, the Indian government allows six types of number plates. Private vehicles, for instance, carry a number plate with black numbers on a white background. Commercial vehicles, on the other hand, have yellow number plates with black text. The opposite, as in black number plates with yellow-coloured characters, represent vehicles on rent for self-drive.
Embassy vehicles bear light blue-coloured number plates with white numbers. Red number plates are currently used by the President of India and governors of states. Military vehicles follow a different numbering system with the first/third character carrying an upward-pointing arrow.
As per the draft policy submitted by the Aayog, EV owners will likely be offered three-year free parking as well as toll waivers. Furthermore, it calls for 10% of all residential, shopping and office complexes to be reserved as parking space for electric vehicles.
Renault To Introduce Electric Kwid In India, After China
French automobile manufacturer Renault is developing an EV version of its SUV-inspired small car, Kwid. As per sources close to the development, the electrified car will first be launched in China, followed by India. The company is currently evaluating the car’s road-worthiness and is also conducting range extension tests.
Renault Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn said, “What sells in China? Low-cost electric cars. So we are putting engineers from the alliance to develop a low-cost (Renault) Kwid EV for China. I just test drove the car in China. It will be a very well engineered car at a very low cost. And once it works in China, there’s no reason you’re not going to export the car to India, to Brazil, to the Middle East.”
The move is in line with Renault’s “Drive the Future” plan for 2017-22, according to which at least one EV will be introduced in India by 2022. By then, the carmaker aims to launch electric variants of up to 60% of its offering globally. The latest development marks an important moment for India as it would be the first time an electric vehicle manufactured in India will be launched in a developed market like China.
NITI Aayog Seeks Public Consultation On Zero Emission Mobility
To expedite the adoption of eco-friendly energy sources and reduce India’s dependence on conventional fossil fuels, NITI Aayog has started public consultation on the potential of zero-emission mobility technologies such as electric vehicles, hybrids and fuel cells, among others.
In its draft policy – Future of Mobility – the think tank has sought comments about the different ways in which zero emission technologies can be adopted for all classes of vehicles including cars, buses, three-wheelers, scooters, trucks and auto rickshaws. The draft policy also contains a 12-point agenda pertaining to automobile manufacturing, regulatory amendments, integration of renewable energy, recycling, skills development as well as energy requirements of electric mobility.
Over the last few months, the Aayog has invited various ministries of the central government to offer their suggestions and comments on the draft Electric Vehicle Policy. In the second week of November 2017, the think tank also released a proposal for a quick pilot to develop EV infrastructure in collaboration with Finland-based clean energy solutions provider AC2SG.
Developments From Around The World
South Korea-based Kia Motors To Launch 16 EV Models Globally By 2025
South Korean automobile company Kia Motors is eyeing to enter the Indian EV market by 2019. Globally, the company is gearing up to launch 16 electric vehicles by 2025, including a fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) model in 2020. Additionally, Kia Motors is set to operate a large-scale test fleet of autonomous vehicles next year.
Speaking about the company’s future plans, Kia Motors Vice Chairman and Head of R&D Centre Woong-Chul Yang said recently, “By 2025, we will offer a total of 16 advanced powertrain vehicles, with five new hybrids and plug-in hybrids, five new battery EVs, and an all-new mass market FCEV.”
“Kia aims to commercialise Level 4 autonomous vehicles in smart cities from 2021 with a new Smart City pilot project,” Yang added. Last year, Kia Motors committed to invest $1.1 Bn to set up a manufacturing unit in Andhra Pradesh. The facility will have a capacity to produce over 300K cars every year.
Toyota To Introduce EV Versions Of All Its Cars By 2025
Japanese automotive giant Toyota has announced plans to electrify all of its cars, including the models part of its luxury division Lexus, by 2025. “Today, Toyota offers 37 electrified vehicle models in over 90 countries. By the early 2020s, we will have more than 10 battery-electric vehicles available worldwide. By 2025, every model in the Toyota and Lexus line-up will either be electric or have electrified options,” the company said recently at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
According to President Akio Toyoda, the aim is to transform Toyota from an automobile company to a mobility company. He said, “We want the car to be a seamless extension of their phones and computers — a kind of personal assistant on wheels, able to anticipate your needs through predictive artificial intelligence.”
The Japanese company had earlier announced plans to launch more than 10 models of battery-powered electric vehicles by the early 2020s. Keeping its eyes set on capturing emerging EVs markets across the globe, it is gearing up to introduce these new models in China and India, along with the US, Europe and Japan. Toyota aims to sell more than 5.5 Mn electric vehicles, including over 1 Mn zero-emission vehicles, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) by 2030.
Nissan-Renault To Launch $1 Bn Fund Auto Tech Startups
Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance, a Franco-Japanese strategic partnership between automobile manufacturers Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, is reportedly set to launch a $1 Bn fund for auto tech startup across the globe. Dubbed as Alliance Ventures, the fund will be used to back promising mobility startups that are working on innovation solutions over the next five years.
As per reports, the three companies will invest around $200 Mn during the VC fund’s first year. Some of the key areas that the fund will focus on are electrification, connectivity, artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles.
The development comes just a few months after the Franco-Japanese alliance announced plans to introduce 12 EV models 2022, while also electrifying the existing car models of all three companies as well as working to lower battery costs.
With the first phase of EV government tender set to be completed by next week, the Indian government is doubling down to meet its target of switching to 100% electric vehicles by 2030. While on the one hand NITI Aayog is working to finalise a policy on electric vehicles and has also started seeking public consultation on zero-emission mobility, EESL is planning to roll out 9,500 electric vehicles across the country this year, as part of phase 2 of the government tender. If successful, the shift to shared, electric and connected mobility could potentially help India save up to $300 Bn (INR 20 Lakh Cr) in oil imports and nearly 1 gigatonne of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, as per a recent report by FICCI and Rocky Mountain Institute.
Until then, stay tuned for the next edition of our weekly series of Electric Vehicles Roundup!