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Electric Vehicles In India: Challenges

E-mobility has arrived in India and the ecosystem is buzzing with several start-ups making their presence felt in the segment with innovative offerings writes Kunwer Sachdev, Founder, Su-Kam.

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The automobile industry is currently undergoing a paradigm shift and efforts are being made to switch to less energy-intensive options. India too is riding on this change and is investing in the electric mobility shift. The Electronic Vehicle (EV) technology in India is highly dependent on innovation and on Government initiatives and we are seeing the interest of the consumers in this category.  The government on its part is working towards making India a hub for EV manufacturing too. The initiation of FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) and PLI (Performance Linked Incentives) schemes are paving the way for a better and stronger EV ecosystem in the country.

E-mobility has arrived in India and the ecosystem is buzzing with several start-ups making their presence felt in the segment with innovative offerings and technology giving a worthy competition to ICE vehicle manufacturers. 

While there is this general buzz and activity in the favour of EVs in India, the adoption and thereby the penetration is way behind what was expected. The high cost of ownership, lack of confidence in the performance of an EV, comparatively limited supply is making the adoption slow. Additionally, certain teething issues plague EV owners that manufacturers need to address sooner than later.

Lack of standardisation and infrastructure

Standardisation is key in creating adoption for any new technology. If a customer cannot charge the EV whenever and wherever necessary, then trust and confidence in the vehicle will be a challenge. While charging infrastructure is an issue, there are also various versions of charger and connector types (just like in the case of mobile phones) i.e. no two EV chargers are the same therefore challenges galore. We do not know which charging technologies will eventually be established as the industry standards hence, uncertainty about charging equipment for EVs which may need upgradation in the near future.  

Lack of trained staff

The lack of skilled personnel, engineers is another significant challenge that must be managed in the long run. The EV industry in India is at a very nascent stage, and the automobile sector will face a challenge in talent procurement. Also, for EV we need trained engineers in Power electronics and there is a shortage in this field.

Manufacturing problems of battery 

In India, the EV battery supply chain is still a concern as we are import-dependent to a large extent. Now, most of the EVs are using Lithium-based batteries and the major challenge is the BMS which is the main controller of battery control. Most of the BMS is coming from China and its functionality is a question mark. 

The various components especially the motor battery and controller need IP67or relevant certification for water and dustproof. Right now, in India, two agencies are there for approval of EV-related products and if you visit their website, we hardly find any clarity in terms of detailed specification and the test being performed by them for giving approvals. 

Examination of the equipment 

Over and above this, the testing equipment for key components like the chargers, motors, main electronic controllers, and batteries makes for a big concern at the moment. There is still a lack of specific instruments/equipment that help check the malfunctioning and repairs of these components. Also, parameters like efficiency, THD, overload, short circuit, et al will need testing – a very basic need for an EV.

In the mid-term, I see an immense opportunity for Indian manufacturers to create EV testing equipment right here in the country when we are in the midst of setting the tone for the future of mobility. Once we get there, we will also have to create solutions for all different varieties of EVs as there is no standardization in terms of controllers, motors, or even batteries. However, that is a phase 2 issue for now. 

For now, let us celebrate what we have accomplished already and take a step back to see if we can solve the problems of tomorrow, right now.

The author of the article is Kunwer Sachdev, Founder - Su-Kam.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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electric vehicles india challenges

Kunwer Sachdev

Founder, Su-Kam

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