What will be the role of e-vehicles in mobility as a service?
As a trend in the mobility industry, people are increasingly moving from ownership to shared services. The recent NITI Aayog report also brings out – shared, connected and electric – as three important elements that will create the next era of mobility for India.
Mahindra Electric has been working with various stakeholders to bring electric mobility to this shared space. Some of our recent projects include partnerships with the likes of Lithium Urban Technology, Ola, Zoom, etc., exploring newer formats of mobility. With Ola and Lithium, we have proved that EVs not only make environmental sense but also economic sense for businesses. The more these vehicles run, the more cost effective they are for the business. With Zoom, we have partnered for a unique program and brought EVs as a service. The ZAP program brings down the initial cost of ownership for a customer. Owners can list their vehicle on the program and earn from it while it is not being used by them. Such innovative programs make it easier and more affordable for people to adopt the EV technology.
Having sufficient charging stations all over the country is going to be a huge challenge (as the e-vehicle owner will travel to places other than the city he has bought it in). How well are you equipped to handle it?
In our view it is important that first our cities are equipped with a robust charging network, making it easier for people in urban cities to adopt EVs. And this should be followed by charging stations between cities to drive intercity travelling.
The government is already working with various stakeholders to develop Bharat Standards for charging and we are expecting a huge influx of effort towards developing this infrastructure as soon as the standards are rolled out. This certainly is going to play a key role in driving EV adoption. The government is working with various public and private stakeholders to create a robust network of charge stations.
While India moves towards this reality of a strong charging network, we have ensured that our vehicles can be charged through 16amp sockets easily available at home. The adoption of EVs must continue in a parallel manner with the charging infrastructure development. What would be great right now is to explore new business models based on charging, innovative ideas like overnight charge stations with regular charging, etc. Public private partnerships in this space can bring about some great results.
Electric vehicle scene in India is rather slow. What are your expectations from the government?
The stage is set for favourable policies as well as an active push for adoption of EVs coming from the government. We believe that this is going to make India one of the leading players in the global EV mobility space. The FAME scheme has been in place for a few years and has helped drive adoption till date. This has been supported by state level policies, like the one at Delhi which offers an additional subsidy of INR 1.5 lakh over and above the FAME benefit. We are expecting this push to get even more aggressive and bring with it a new era of Indian mobility. The recent launch of the electric fleet in Nagpur, a joint project between the Mahindra Electric, Government of India and Ola; is a great example of this.
Apart from financial support, the government is actively working on developing the Bharat Charging standards for the country, which will cater to both low and high voltage charging systems. We are hopeful that as soon as the government rolls out these standards, there will be a substantial addition to the momentum with which the development of charging infrastructure will go forward.