The sooner, the better- an adage that fits Raj Mehta, founder and managing director, Raj Electromotives Pvt. Ltd., to the T. Raj Mehta was an early entrant in the electric vehicles space. He was only 12 when he invented a battery-operated bicycle all by himself, marking the first step of his journey to set up a company called Raj Electromotives Pvt. Ltd. Raj Mehta at 14, started Raj Electromotives. At 17, he was the youngest entrepreneur to get an import-export licence.
Fingers crossed; if things go north, they will be! 99% of the global population breathes air that violates WHO air quality standards, putting their health at risk. According to the World Air Quality Report, issued on March 22nd by IQAir, air pollution levels in India deteriorated in 2021 tragically, interrupting a three-year trend of improving air quality. India, the fifth most polluted country in the world, out of 117 countries, regions, and territories evaluated, is in dire need of rectification.
The central ministry committed to transitioning from new ICE (Petrol & Diesel) vehicle sales to 100% plug-in electric car sales to address the air pollution concerns. The government additionally intends to make India a global centre for producing electric automobiles. To that end, many policies have been introduced: National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP), FAME, and many more State EV Policies.
Is the mobility revolution here?
EVs have become a focal point for India’s environmental, energy, and industrial policies. More than half of the transportation industry is estimated to transition to EV by 2040. If you don’t drive an EV already, don’t worry, your child definitely will!
The days of stressing out over not finding a gas station as your gas recedes will soon be a thing of the past. The convergence of power and mobility will occur in the comfort of our homes and offices, thus removing the need to go to a gas station.
Numerous advantages come from electrifying the transportation sector, including enhanced price stability, a more diverse fuel portfolio, and less reliance on fossil fuels. Furthermore, promoting national security, energy independence, and a healthier lifestyle.
After all, it isn’t for no reason that the World Economic Forum has issued the report on Electric Vehicles for Smarter Cities: The Future of Energy and Mobility, making it apparent that we are at the cusp of a revolution in mobility!
The commotion around transitioning transportation to mitigate environmental damage and the momentum it has picked up has brought us to a crossroads:
- The short route – plenty of EVs with little or no planning and management
- The long route – an educated approach to managing this exponential expansion without causing adverse side effects.
The teaching since childhood – slow and steady wins the race – was not futile.
As with any market disruption, the rise of EVs will have detrimental implications for auto dealerships, affecting every component of the business as they revolutionize the face of transportation. To guarantee that this upheaval is addressed without triggering unpalatable side effects, we must keep a few criteria in mind while making decisions.
There’s a lot to think about – from profit pool allocation to implementing new operational procedures. Maintenance personnel will require additional training to maintain high-voltage powertrain systems efficiently and safely. At the same time, frontline salespeople must professionally address customer queries about the new technological features and clinch the sale.
On the bright side, the EV revolution will undoubtedly create many new opportunities. According to the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, the EV industry will produce one crore direct employment by 2030 and around five crore indirect jobs. To meet the significant increase in demand, EV companies will focus more on technical and specialized skills. While competence in artificial intelligence, analytics, and app development would dominate office occupations, the basic manufacturing and industrial setup would necessitate continuous sourcing of blue-collar labour.
Two-wheelers, the industry segment where we operate, forms the backbone of our country’s transportation. The transition of this segment to EV will significantly impact the emission levels and give India the boost it needs to make its mark in the industry globally.
The yearly turnover of two-wheelers in India is 20 million, with scooter sales alone accounting for 6 million. More than twice as many scooters sell as compared to cars!
Electric scooters have a lower cost of ownership than their IC counterparts. As battery prices fall and battery recycling enterprises offer repurchase rates, maintenance costs will further dip. Another promoting advancement for two-wheelers has been the growth of e-commerce and delivery-based start-ups, which have escalated their demand.
Like each coin has two sides, so does the transition to EV. While it will offer numerous new avenues, it also presents barriers for many, requiring them to pivot to ride the wave successfully.
Another thing that EV brings to the fore is the convergence of power and mobility, and the new opportunities it presents, the first that comes to mind is Grid integration with EVs.
India has set the optimistic goal of reaching 100% EV sales, and if the vision comes alive, there will be an EV in every home. We can’t produce EVs at this magnitude sans batteries, and this is where the government’s idea of constructing Tesla-style giga-factories enters. Once these massive production plants are operational, EV manufacturers will have the batteries required to cater to the demand.
This effort requires technological and legislative frameworks that permit EVs, renewable energy producers, and the electrical grid to interact seamlessly, allowing the grid to utilize the decentralized storage space of EVs.
If implemented correctly, EV owners will have the option to give their batteries’ extra capacity to the grid as buffer storage, enabling their EVs to be profitable even while sitting idle.
Since distributed storage eliminates the requirement to develop physical infrastructure for buffer storage, it will save capital expenses. Last but not least, it will make renewable energy projects more appealing since their capability to buffer energy will enable them to resemble traditional energy sources.
Finally, many hands make light labour. Merely a vision will not be enough; it has to be a shared vision.
When technologies, regulations, and culture are knit together, they form the fabric called ‘institution’. The institution, in this case, will be global.
Preparing for the revolution of transportation and energy systems will not only accelerate cities’ capacity to achieve climate targets, optimize grid investments, and allow service and infrastructure innovation while boosting productivity and economic development.
This goal will need the confluence of energy, grid-edge technology, and mobility.
What sets success apart from the failure of this transformation is how we mould and interweave these three critical threads towards the goal. A shared vision will be essential for knitting these threads into a rope to success.