Renault Worried over India's EV Infrastructure, Homegrown Giants Say 'Main Hoon Na!'

Renault believes launching EV cars now in India is halo. Is it really?

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The Indian government is pushing for e-mobility to take the driving position in the automobile industry. From the likes of Mahindra and Hero to international auto giants, all are transitioning their fleet into electric but the French auto major Renault refuses to bow down under pressure. They have clarified that they will not bring electric vehicles into India until 2022.

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Renault's Worry

Renault's India Operations CEO and MD, Venkatram Mamillapalle told reporters in Delhi that India is still not equipped with the ecosystem for EVs which is why launching the said vehicles now and "having the cars in the garages makes no sense". He clarified those giving wrong promises that of launching an EV for India tomorrow won't be right.

"We are venturing into EV space. You will definitely see something coming up by 2022, but before I say that we want to enter into the EV segment, the most important thing is the ecosystem," he said, stressing that the government need to aggressively work on developing a proper ecosystem for e-mobility before forcing the auto companies to launch in the country.

Infrastructure Solution

The recent slump in auto sales which affected nearly 3.5 lac jobs in the sector can also be deduced from the rising confusion among Indian customers about buying Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles or Electric Vehicles. Good thing that the homegrown giants and Public Sector Units (PSUs) have now taken it upon themselves to better the EV infrastructure in the country.

The state-run fossil fuel giant, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) is already setting up electric vehicle (EV) chargers at its fuel stations and now, is planning to set up a 1 Giga Watt (GW) plant to make batteries used for running electric vehicles (EVs) in partnership with an overseas start-up using a non-lithium ion raw material that is locally available.

Market Support

Another state-run organization, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), which was tasked with procuring 10,000 electric cars for government use, has said that it could procure and deploy only 1,500 cars largely because of the lack of charging stations. The company now plans to address this issue by setting up nearly 1,000 charging stations, post which it will be able to deploy around 5,000 cars for various government departments by next year.

According to a report by Network18, even Tata Power is planning to set up 500 EV Charging Stations in India by 2020. At present, the company has 85 charging stations in 15 cities across 9 states. Globally, transportation is beginning to shift towards cleaner alternatives. India is yet to catch hold of the paradigm shift. Last financial year (FY18) of the 25 million new vehicles that hit the Indian roads, less than 0.3 per cent was EVs (around 56,000).

EV - A Challenge & an Opportunity

There has been a commotion among the customers with regards to Electric Vehicles. While speaking at a seminar organized by MCCIA on "Emerging trends in electric mobility', Rashmi Urdhwareshe, the Director of Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) stated that one has to be mindful of the consumer readiness and reliability must be ensured in terms of electric vehicles.

If all these (factors) including cost are thought of, then there are definitely a lot of opportunities in this sector, she stressed. If the recent statement by NITI Aayog CEO, Amitabh Kant is to go by, the cost of electric vehicles will almost become at par with combustion engine cars in the next 3-4 years, largely owing to decline in battery price and India should be ready for this transition.