What Investors Have to Say About The Indian EV Industry As the electric vehicle space takes flight in the country, investors talk about the need for price parity and vertical integration as the way to grow

By Debroop Roy

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One of the key takeaways from an investor-focused panel at the EVConIndia conference was "investors must wait for a longer timeframe before asking for returns in the electric vehicle (EV) space'.

The conference discussed the problems faced by the EV industry in India and the possible solutions.

According to Anant Nahata, managing director of Exicom Group, those investing in the space at the moment need to be comfortable with some uncertainty if they expect to create companies of the future. Sohinder Gill, chief executive officer of Hero Electric, said investors at Hero had largely been pragmatic so far, understanding that they are in it for the long game.

Hero Electric is one of India's oldest electric two-wheeler makers while Exicom provides charging solutions to the EV space.

Vibrancy of Ideas

Lightstone Aspada, an impact investment platform, is willing to bet on just the sheer vibrancy of ideas and talent coming out from various parts of the country, said Vignesh Nandakumar, partner at the fund. India has gone from matching new technologies to creating them, he said, adding ideas coming out of the country are currently at par with the rest of the world.

Price Parity Still A Factor

The price parity between EVs and those that rely on traditional internal combustion engines (ICE) is yet to be reached, according to Rajesh Ramaiah of Premji Invest. Ramaiah said investors, including him, were closely looking at how the price problem is resolved and it was still going to take at least 18-24 months more before they invest significant amount of capital in the EV space.

Integration the Future

Nandakumar, commenting on the future of the industry, said different companies would need to think about integrating their offerings if they were to move up the ladder. Vertically integrated firms would succeed more than those focused on only one part of the ecosystem, he said.

Hero Electric's Gill also talked about how it would become imperative for smaller companies dealing in different technologies relating to the EV space to come together and merge to provide integrated services to compete with bigger rivals.

While for bigger companies, Gill said, it is a necessity to create a separate unit that solely focuses on EVs if they want to get ahead in the game.

Debroop Roy

Former Correspondent

Covering the start-up ecosystem in and around Bangalore. Formerly an energy reporter at Reuters. A film, cricket buff who also writes fiction on weekends.

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