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Electric Vehicles: A Ride for Better Tomorrow!

26 July 2019

Electric vehicles are gradually gaining the attention of automobile enthusiasts, environmentalists, and policy makers around the world. With companies like Tesla having already launched their version of the e-vehicles long ago, companies such as Hyundai, Mahindra and TATA are also planning to jump on board and focus on innovations. A slow but eminent change is happening in the country’s automobile industry which is expanding with each passing year in leaps and bounds. The implications of these changes will be seen on the environment, our lifestyle, technology, and the automobile market.

According to sources, the Indian automobile industry is the largest growing markets and contributes highly in the country’s manufacturing facilities. The automotive industry in India is further expected to pull up the share of manufacturing in India’s GDP to 25% by 2022. As vehicles have become the phantom in human life, its design, development and existence play a substantial role in present generation.

Our Oil Needs and Their Concern

We all know about the depleting status of the world’s natural resources. According to Ecotricity, we may run out of oil in a short span of 53 years! This rate is alarming and throws light on the need to switch to green energy and opt for renewable sources.

India depends on imports for over 80% of its oil needs. In the year 2017-2018 India imported 220.43 million tonne of crude oil and spend a staggering Rs 5.65 lakh crore on the same. For the year 2018-2019 the imports are pegged at 227 million tonne. The crude oil import bill is estimated to be around Rs 7.02 lakh crore. This is a staggering amount, if we reduce the dependency on crude oil derivatives such as petrol and diesel, we will reduce our dependency which will result in easing this financial burden.

The Environmental Challenge

The effect of global warming on the air quality and pollution levels of the country keep making the headlines often. India is the 4th largest emitter of CO2 according to a study. There are a lot of factors which have led to this hazardous rise in the level of carbon emissions. Emissions from conventional vehicles have a major contribution to it as well.

The Proposed Solutions

The government of India had launched the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 in 2013 with the objective of achieving national fuel security by promoting electric and hybrid vehicles. The target is to achieve sales of 6 – 7 million in the hybrid and electric vehicles sector from 2020. The government has also brought forward Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) scheme which provides subsidies to the first mover customers who buy electronic vehicles.

Current Market Scenario

In India, currently, Mahindra Electric Mobility Limited and Tata Motors Limited are the market leaders when we talk about fully electric cars in India. The industry is still in its nascent stage and continues to grow.

Mahindra Electric is an India company based in Bangalore. They design and manufacture compact electric vehicles. Interestingly, Mahindra Electric has been in the EV market since 2001. Mahindra Electric was formerly known as Reva electric Car Company.

Finnish state-controlled energy utility Fortum has plans to develop EV charging infrastructure in India. Along the same lines, JSW Group, headed by billionaire Sajjan Jindal is exploring a partnership with China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. to make EVs, the list of investors drawn to India's EV sector is quite long.

Challenges That the Industry Faces

The industry faces a few challenges in the cost and performance categories. The cost of EV’s are high due to costs of lithium ion batteries. To a large extent, the challenges are technology-based, revolving around batteries and battery charging. The exception is the EV charging infrastructure, which is more of a cost and infrastructural challenge than a technology challenge. There are around 15 companies who supply EV chargers in India. These firms are mostly Power Electronics firms who have ventures into the EV market.

How the Industry Plans to Overcome These Challenges

Trendsin The Battery Industry (Source - Value Research)

The shift from lead to lithium batteries is evident as shown in the graph. It is projected that by the year 2021-2022 we shall be using more lithium batteries than lead batteries.

With the betterment in technology and certain innovations, the price of the lithium-ion batteries has been brought down considerably. This in turn means that with such progress in bringing down the price of the battery, we will soon be able to make them available to an even larger segment of our population.  

Interestingly, for batteries, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) is in conversation with ISRO. A foreign agency is also involved with the company for technology tie-up. They have started manufacturing electric motors for Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors for their electric vehicles. Going further, they have accordingly formed an internal committee to understand the market and demand for batteries. Many more big players have entered the EV battery, charging and vehicle scape.

Latest Development in EV Industry in India

Different state governments have also come forward and included electric busses in state transport buss fleets to promote EV’s. The Uttar Pradesh government has proposed incorporation 630 electric busses into the transport fleet in 11 cities including Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Agra, Ghaziabad, Varanasi, Mathura-Vrindavan, Aligarh, Moradabad, Saharanpur and Bareilly. In another development, The Rajasthan state government has planned to buy 300 electric busses as well.

The Union Budget 2019 proposes to offer additional income tax exemption of Rs 1.5 lakh on interest paid on loans taken to purchase electric vehicle to buyers. To further help bring down the prices of electric vehicles and make them affordable to a larger segment of the population, the government has moved the GST Council to lower the rate on electric vehicles from 12% to 5%. The Union Budget also proposes that customs duty be exempted on certain parts of electric vehicles, including e-drive assembly and on-board charger, to further incentivize e-mobility.

Conclusion

With the government encouraging EV’s and continuous development in the charging infrastructure, the EV market in India has picked up pace. The environmental issues that we deal with require immediate attention and electric vehicles have the potential to address them for good. With the increase in awareness, the prospects only get better from here. The stocks of companies which are and can be a part of the EV industry are exciting and have great potential to perform and grow. There are specialized products in the market that are focused on the EV industry and thus provide unparalleled value to investor looking to invest in the Electric Vehicle industry.

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