Important Developments From The World Of Electric Vehicles [15-21 February]
India is slowly witnessing a growth in the acceptance of electric vehicles, as was evident from the phenomenal response received by the Auto Expo 2018 earlier this month. The chatter around EVs has continued this week, with Mahindra announcing plans to invest $139 Mn in electric vehicles over the next four years.
To expedite the adoption of EVs, the railway ministry is reportedly looking to set up charging stations for electric vehicles at the parking lots of train stations. Along similar lines, EESL is set to float a global tender for another 10,000 electric vehicles.
In other news, lobby group Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) is set to meet top government officials such as Amitabh Kant of NITI Aayog to seek clarity on the government’s position on EV policy in India.
Coming to international development, Toyota is reportedly working on a cheaper electric motor that uses 50% less rare earth metals. Austrian startup Easelink has developed an innovative technology that promises faster charging of electric vehicles through pads secured to the ground.
Given that so much has been happening in the country’s electric vehicle sector, we bring to you the 13th edition of the weekly EV roundups.
Mahindra Group To Invest $139 Mn In EVs
The country’s first EV manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra Mahindra Group has announced a $139 Mn investment in EVs over the next four years.
The company plans to invest $61.9 Mn (INR 400 Cr) in Karnataka and $77.4 Mn (INR 500 Cr) in Maharashtra. The Mumbai-headquartered automaker has already invested $92.9 Mn (INR 600 Cr) in EVs in the last five to six years.
Addressing the media during Magnetic Maharashtra, Pawan Goenka, MD of Mahindra Group, said, “We are not waiting for any policy to move forward. To be a pioneer, you have to create the road and we have to move forward.”
No Separate Policy On Electric Vehicles: Nitin Gadkari
Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari announced earlier this week that the government would not be framing any separate policy on electric vehicles. Instead, the plan is to just frame the rules for the category.
“There is no need for any policy now. The electric vehicle standards finalised by NITI Aayog will be used as final benchmark,” the minister said.
In a related development, Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Sector Enterprises Anant Geete has said that the government has not set any time-frame for switching to 100% electric vehicles. He added that the government is looking to promote the adoption of EVs by changing the mindsets of people about electric mobility.
Auto Makers Reach Out To NITI Aayog For Clarity On EV Policy
A plan has been materialised by lobby group Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) to meet top government officials such as Amitabh Kant of NITI Aayog to seek clarity on the government’s position on EV policy in India.
The meeting has been chalked out in response to Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari’s recent statement that said there was no need for an EV policy.
“We have sought a meeting with Anant Geete and Amitabh Kant in the coming week to understand the government’s position on electric vehicles. Globally, a policy direction has been given by governments in order to make these vehicles affordable and sustainable for customers,” a source said requesting anonymity.
EV Charging Stations To Be Set Up At Railway Stations
The country’s Railway Ministry is reportedly planning to set up charging stations for electric vehicles at the parking lots of train stations. As per sources close to the development, so far, the parking lots at the New Delhi and Nizamuddin railway stations have been identified for the establishment of EV charging points.
According to a railway official, each charging station will include five fast-charging DC points, capable of charging 10 cars simultaneously. The charging points at the two stations will be built by BSES – Rajdhani Power Ltd (BRPL) and will cost around $23,059 (INR 15 Lakh) at each station parking lot, which comes to $4,611.6 (INR 3 Lakh) per charging point.
“An effective charging infrastructure is required for creating the ecosystem for EVs to operate smoothly. And the lack of charging facilities inhibits the growth of e-vehicles in the city,” said the official.
Vikas Group To Foray Into EV Manufacturing
Faridabad-based automotive company Vikas Group has announced plans to manufacture electric vehicles. Worth over $307.4 Mn (INR 2,000 Cr), the company is looking to allocate around 30% of its total capex of $76.8 Mn (INR 500 Cr) for the development of electric and hybrid vehicle solutions.
Praveen Agarwal, the Chairman of Vikas Group said, “We are not only investing in capacity, but we are focussing on capability building too. We are likely to invest $23 Mn (INR 150 Cr) in the coming years which will be towards setting up of plant for solutions for electric vehicles.”
As stated by Praveen, the company is also going to allocate a portion of its resources towards R&D, with the aim of developing innovative solutions that can help bring the cost of electric vehicles down.
Lithion Power Commits $1 Bn To Create Battery Swap Ecosystem
Delhi-based Lithion Power has committed to invest over $1 Bn towards building a battery swap infrastructure along with its partners. The company currently offers battery as a service for electric vehicles. Ultimately, the goal is to create an ecosystem, where electric vehicle owners will be able to swap batteries on rental or daily lease.
Commenting on the development, Lithion Power Director Piyush Gupta said, “This is an emerging market-based model that we have created, and we are targeting shared mobility, which has high asset utilisation, with our product.”
As stated by Gupta, the $1 Bn (INR 6,410 Cr) investment will be made by Lithion Power along with its partners over the course of the next two to three years.
EESL To Float Global Tender For 10,000 Electric Vehicles
Government-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd. (EESL) is reportedly in the process of floating another global tender for 10,000 electric vehicles, which will be deployed across the country upon procurement by the government.
As per reports, EESL, which is a joint venture of PSUs under the power ministry, will also sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government of Andhra Pradesh, as part of which it would be supplying 10,000 electric vehicles to the state.
Commenting on the development, Saurabh Kumar, Managing Director of EESL said,“There is interest in our electric vehicle programme from virtually all parts of the country, and it’s because we have been able to provide a value proposition like no other.”
Developments From Around The World
Toyota Working On Cheaper Electric Motor That Uses 50% Less Rare Earth
Japanese-headquartered automotive giant Toyota is reportedly working on a cheaper electric motor that uses 50% less rare earth metals. As per reports, the company has developed a magnet for the motors that runs without rare earth resources like terbium and dysprosium, while also halving the use of neodymium.
Instead, Toyota is using other rare earth metals like lanthanum and cerium, which are 20 times cheaper than neodymium. The company is currently looking to work with suppliers to manufacture these magnets.
“An increase in electric car production will raise the need for motors, which will result in higher demand for neodymium down the line,” Akira Kato, General Project Manager at Toyota’s advanced R&D and engineering branch said recently.
Easelink Build New Charging Technology For EVs
Austrian startup Easelink has developed an innovative technology that promises faster charging of electric vehicles through pads secured to the ground. Through the technology, called Matrix Charging, EVs can be charged anywhere from underground garages to drive-ins.
The newly-built technology functions without the need for cable, charging column or non-standardised plugs. The company’s aim is to develop solutions that can help automate the charging process of EVs.
“With Matrix Charging, electric vehicles are charged automatically and without cables – this smart technology operates itself without user intervention,” stated Easelink founder Hermann Stockinger.
With giants like Mahindra and Mahindra earmarking major investments for the development of electric vehicles, the growing interest in EVs is slowly becoming evident in India. If successful, the shift to electric vehicles 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.
Stay tuned for the next edition of our weekly series of Electric Vehicles Roundup!