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“You have to match the convenience of the gasoline car in order for people to buy an electric car,” opines Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk, the “Iron Man” of the tech world. The significance of this statement lies in the fact that it perfectly explains why electric vehicles have not yet become mainstream, despite the unrelenting efforts of governments the world over.

In India, while the government is racing to switch to all-electric cars by 2030, a newly-released white paper by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) predicts that it might not be possible before 2047.

Coming to some of the developments that took place over the last seven days, homegrown automobile marketplace Droom has announced plans to enter the country’s electric vehicles segment. Okinawa Autotech has launched its second electric two-wheeler Praise and is gearing up to introduce an electric motorcycle soon. Toyota is all set to launch 10 EV models in emerging markets like India and China by early 2020s.

Germany startup Magnum Pirex is reportedly looking to pump a $15.5 Mn investment to bolster its entry into the Indian electric vehicles market. On the other hand, Mercedes-Benz has once again urged the government to offer tax relief on EV imports.

On the international front, BMW has joined hands with US-based Solid Power to develop solid-state battery technology for electric vehicles. And United Parcel Services (UPS) has beaten Pepsico to make the largest order of Tesla’s all-electric Semi truck.

Given that so much has been happening in the country’s electric vehicle sector, we bring to you the fifth edition of the weekly EV roundups.

Automobile Marketplace Droom To Enter The Electric Vehicles Segment Soon

Sandeep Aggarwal-led automobile marketplace Droom has announced its entry into the electric vehicles segment. To that end, the company has tied up with players like Mahindra, Hero Electric, Okinawa Scooters and Yobykes to offer a wide range of electric vehicles to its users. As part of its promotional strategy, Droom will be offering 100% cashback on the booking amount for all new bookings of electric vehicles.

It has also announced the price range for electric scooters, which is expected to be from $310 (INR 20K) to $660 (INR 42K). Electric cars, on the other hand, will be priced in the range of $125K (INR 8 Lakh) to $203K (INR 13 Lakh).

Commenting on the development, Sandeep Aggarwal, Founder and CEO, Droom said, “The automobile industry in India is on the throes of disruption with the focus on electric vehicles and the increased use of artificial intelligence. At Droom, our vision is to be the transaction platform for everything on motor and wheels and make their transactions easy, quick and trustworthy.”

German EV Startup Magnum Pirex To Invest $15.5 Mn To Bolster India Entry

German startup Magnum Pirex is eyeing to enter the Indian EV market, with plans to set up a manufacturing base in Andhra Pradesh at an investment of around $15.5 Mn (INR 100 Cr). As per sources, the startup has proposed to supply battery-powered sports cars, family cars and small trucks below the $15,590 (INR 10 Lakh) price range.

Magnum Pirex CEO Hubert Maencher recently met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to discuss the company’s plans to set up a manufacturing facility in the state. During the meeting, Naidu reportedly asked the startup to submit a detailed project proposal on the same.

As stated by Maencher, Magnum Pirex will be producing 12,000-15,000 electric cars per annum initially. The ultimate goal is to manufacture up to 100K units every year in India. The German startup is currently seeking 22 acres of land in Andhra Pradesh, preferably close to the port for easier imports and exports.

India To Have 100% Electric Vehicles By 2047: SIAM

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has released a white paper on electric vehicles, according to which at least 40% of all of the country’s vehicles will likely be electric by 2030. In the paper, the industry lobby has also predicted that, given the current rate of production and sales of EVs, 100% of the vehicles plying on Indian roads will be electrically-powered by 2047.

In its proposal, SIAM has also suggested a transition to all-electric public transport by 2030. As per reports, the paper has been sent to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

Speaking about the report, a SIAM official requesting anonymity said, “We were asked by the ministry to prepare a document on electric vehicles based on our proposals. SIAM has suggested that on the occasion of 100 years of independence the industry will be ready to shift to 100% electric vehicles. Other than that we have proposed to comply with the recommendations of the NITI Aayog.”

Okinawa Launches Electric Scooter In India; To Launch Electric Bike Soon

Electric two-wheeler manufacturer Okinawa Autotech has launched its second electric scooter, Praise. Priced at $934.4 (INR 59,889), the scooter follows the company’s first electrically-powered two-wheeler Pride, which was launched in January 2017.

With Praise, Okinawa has set a target of selling 5,000 units by the next fiscal year. As per reports, the company is also planning to introduce an electric motorcycle within the next two months. The move is aimed at increasing its annual sales to 50,000 units.

To that end, the company is preparing to set up a new manufacturing facility over the next few years. Its current plant is located at Bhiwadi, Rajasthan, and has a production capacity of 90,000 units per annum. Okinawa Autotech MD Jeetender Sharma added, “We have tentatively shortlisted some locations and depending upon the market we plan to establish a second plant.”

Toyota To Launch 10 New EV Models By 2020s; Remains Focussed On Indian Market

Japanese automotive giant Toyota has 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, the company 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. The company plans to electrify all vehicles across its Toyota and Lexus line-ups.

It said in a statement, “Toyota will accelerate the popularisation of BEVs with more than 10 BEV models to be available worldwide by the early 2020s, starting in China, before entering other markets – the gradual introduction to Japan, India, the United States and Europe is expected.”

In India, Toyota has partnered with another Japanese automaker Suzuki to introduce electric vehicles by 2020. The duo is planning to set up a battery manufacturing factory in the country, in collaboration with Denso.

Yamaha Looking To Sell Electric Two Wheelers In India

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After Toyota Honda, Suzuki and Nissan, Yahama is the latest Japanese automobile company to be eyeing an entry in the Indian electric vehicles market. According to sources, Yamaha is currently evaluating the feasibility of launching electric two-wheelers in India. The automotive firm is also looking to invest in power units and batteries for electric vehicles.

Commenting on the development, Yamaha Motor Research and Development India MD Yasuo Ishihara stated, “We are at present conducting a feasibility study in this area (electric two-wheelers). Yamaha has an edge in this segment as we already have such products in other countries. Transferring such products to India, it is not so difficult.”

As explained by Ishihara, through the feasibility study, Yamaha is trying to determine if electric vehicles could completely replace internal combustion engine-powered counterparts. On investments in the EV sector, he added, “Investment shall mainly be for power units and batteries. Infrastructure development in collaboration with some partners may be another area where we would look forward to make our investments”

Transport Ministry To Seek $780.1 Mn To Procure Electric Buses

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is reportedly seeking $780.1 Mn (INR 5,000 Cr) budgetary allocation to introduce 5,000 electric bus fleets for intra-city transportation by next fiscal.

According to Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, the ministry is gearing up to set up special purpose vehicles with state governments and road transport corporations, under which it will provide funding for the procurement of electric buses and futuristic public transport systems.

Gadkari stated during a recent media interaction, “State transportation corporations should phase out the cost-intensive diesel buses and must induct e-buses to bring down their losses. With the scale, their cost of operations would fall by almost 50% making them profitable. We can also have private sector-run e-buses by providing them subsidy and incentives.

Government To Offer Incentives On Manufacturing And Selling Of EVs

As part of yet another push to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles, the Indian government has announced that it will be supporting manufacturing and selling of EVs through incentives like lower road taxes. The announcement was made recently by Amitabh Kant, the CEO of government-run think tank NITI Aayog.

In order to be able to reduce pollution levels, the government will have to focus on becoming a major manufacturer of sustainable automobiles, batteries and interoperable charging stations.

During an event organised by Asshocam, Kant averred, “We would like to support electric vehicles by providing vast range of initiatives such as lower road taxes.And the government will act as a catalyst so that automobile sector continues to play a major role in India’s GDP and job creation as well as in exports.”

Mercedes-Benz Seeks Tax Exemption On Electric Vehicles, Once Again

After urging the government to offer incentives on electric car manufacturing in July this year, Mercedes Benz Managing Director for India, Roland Folger, has once again petitioned for tax relief on EVs imports, in a bid to build a sustainable business model in the country.

In a recent media interaction, Folger said that the Germany-headquartered company would like to commence manufacturing of electric vehicles domestically, once it touches the 400 mark in annual EV sales in India. During the interview, Folger also criticised the government’s “arbitrary” tax policy on luxury cars.

He added, “We need to wait for government policy to see how the pricing of our EVs works out. The government should consider tax breaks to CBUs for one to two years.”

Rico Auto Partners With Singapore’s Fairwood To Build Autonomous EVs

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Gurugram-headquartered auto components maker Rico Auto Industries has announced a joint venture with Singapore-based Fairwood to build autonomous electric vehicles that can run on specially-designed tracks.

As per reports, the two companies will have equal shareholding in the joint venture. As per Rico’s regulatory filings, both will invest in 50:50 ratio in the combined entity.

Developments From Around Of The World

BMW Joins Hands With Solid Power To Develop Solid State Batteries For EVs

US-based solid state rechargeable battery manufacturer, Solid Power, has inked a partnership deal with German automobile giant BMW. The collaboration, sources have revealed, is geared towards building the next generation of EV batteries.

As per the terms of the deal, BMW will offer its expertise to further improve Solid Power’s technology, with the aim of achieving performance levels required for high-performance electric cars.

Solid-state battery technology boasts a number of benefits over conventional counterparts. In addition to being a high-capacity energy story device, this type of battery also promises more safety. The initiative is in line with BMW’s goal to exceed this year’s EV sales record of 100K vehicles by a medium double-digit percentage in 2018.

Suzuki Motor Could Forge EV Battery Supply Deal With Toyota And Panasonic

According to Toshihiro Suzuki, the President of Suzuki Motor Corp, a deal with Toyota and Panasonic to develop batteries for electric vehicles might not be possible at the moment. However, the Japanese company could join forces with the two to supply EV batteries.

Interestingly, the Andhra Pradesh government’s IT Minister N. Lokesh is also reportedly holding discussions with Panasonic India to launch EVs in the state.

At present, both Toyota and Suzuki are working together to introduce electric cars in India by 2020. As part of the partnership, the two companies have agreed to trade expertise in areas of parts supplies and research and development.

UPS Beats PepsiCo To Make Largest Order Of Tesla Semis

Just last week, New York-headquartered food, snack and beverage company PepsiCo made headlines for reserving 100 Tesla Semis, which are heavy-duty all-electric trucks. The order, which was touted as the largest ever made, is in line with PepsiCo’s aim to reduce fuel costs and fleet emissions by adopting cleaner alternatives.

This week, however, United Parcel Services has announced that it will be procuring 125 units of Tesla’s all-electric semi-trailer trucks. These big rigs are expected to be priced at around $200,000 each, for a total order of about $25 Mn.

Other companies that have also ordered Tesla Semis in the last couple of months are Walmart, fleet operator J.B. Hunt Transport Services and Texas-headquartered foodservice distribution company Sysco Corp.

Manufacturing electric vehicles domestically, for instance, comes with the hurdle of high costs. Similarly, the production of batteries is largely an expensive affair. To be able to mitigate these challenges, the Indian government will have to focus its efforts on facilitating technological disruption through incentives and tax exemptions. Going by the predictions of SIAM, for India to become an all-electric-car nation by 2047, the government needs to double down in its efforts to create a sustainable ecosystem around electric vehicles.

Until then, stay tuned for the next edition of our weekly series of Electric Vehicles Roundup!

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