How is Indian Oil playing its part in ensuring EV fast-tracking in India?

Of the many vital support systems and nutrients that the human body needs is water. Without it, no life is possible and none can be sustained. You’ve heard this a hundred thousand times across your life. Probably, it’s such a basic human fact that we may soon see memes being made out of it someday for such is the depravity of the human mind in this social media obsessing meme-making age. Right?

Similarly, without the tree, the big banyan tree, it is not possible to imagine there being any shade to guard the passerby or the exhausted from the blaring or screeching sunlight. In essence, that’s pretty much the role being played by the EV chargers in the life of the EV, i.e., the electric cars.

Without the charger, just what would the car do. When the human battery can phase out and tire us into exhaustion sans any rest, electric cars still are, power-driven beings. Their fuel is one that essentially fights ‘the’ fuel if you come to think of it. Right?

And in a bold and big way to step up the ante of fast-tracking EV adoption in India, one of Motherland’s famous homegrown creations, Indian Oil Corporation has come forward to do its bit. And this bit is actually a massive shot in the right direction. The direction is called the green mile.

So, what did the Indian Oil Corporation really do?

In making a formal announcement made recently by the famous energy sector player in the country that also happens to be a dominant player on the global stage, Indian Oil assured the nation that it would be setting up 10,000 EV charging stations all over India.

At this time, the need to mobilize a fuel-free, non-dependent-on-fuel future of India is vital. Old clichés to be conservative in one’s outlook where it comes to vehicles are redundant. They’ve waned out. Never previously before has India seen such alarming numbers where it comes to deaths being caused on account of pollution. The figures are ghastly and their aftermath, terrible realities of life.

Households have multiple cars. Cars are being sought and hence, being put to use for every small step. Nothing’s too rational. Impulse often seems to drive our decisions regarding car purchases.

In these times, efforts have to be made to be more conscientious about the world we cohabit, the world we inhabit, and rely on every single day for as long as we are.

Therefore, there’s an even greater need to push the EV agenda, and implicit in making this right call is to put charging stations out there. More beautiful and

impactful is that scenario where some leading entity well known to the wider ecosystem steps forward to espouse the big, bright cause. This is what Indian Oil has done. And hey, it must be lauded.

Honorable Mr. SM Vaidya, the current chairman had happened to share the following, “We need to give that extra fillip to the ambitions of the Prime Minister and the commitment that the country has made. So, this electric charging station is a small step for Indian Oil but it will be a giant leap for the EV system.”

Now that a leading, mainstream player in the energy cosmos has stepped forward, the key question is, can the others follow suit and help create an India that places the “Environment Quotient” at the heart of things?

Big step taken in December by Government toward fast-charging EV adoption!

Cricket match! And it’s eventuality- 2 teams, 22 players, wickets and runs, and eventually, the fate of the contest.

Gala dinner at a fancy restaurant! And it’s eventuality- a big meal, lots of snacks, cheese and wine, scrumptious delightful food, and in the end, delighted eaters and their gala time.

In a similar vein, come to think of an electric car- a charging facility, lots of money saved on there being no fuel or its need, and importantly- a reliable charger.

You need each one of the above to make an event or finality happen. Can’t do with one missing piece in the jigsaw.

And where it stands at present, then it’s that reliable charging facility, one of the most important constituents of the EV ecosystem, that’s creating wide buzz and perhaps rightly so.

Nothing more is ever needed by a country so incessantly marred by pollution and the rising toxicity than electric cars, rather more and more of its public to move about in EV(s).

The time to make the right decision has come. And there’s nothing to be gained by delaying the right call and its adoption. But gladly, in 2021, the government took vital decisions to fast-track EV adoption in the country.

So what was it?

In a major first, leading oil corporations such as the noted Indian Oil Corporation as well as the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited pledged to use their outlets by way of installing EV charging stations.

In that regard, what used to be an oil pump- should eventually- turn into a buzzword on the lips of the consumer: a charging station.

From the oil pump to the charging station, the big journey that promises a massive turnaround must succeed. India must hope for that actually. As many as 17,000 charging stations will be coming up in the course of the next few years at various outlets under Indian Oil and BPCL’s brands.

The fact that fast-tracking of charging infrastructure can only when the government installs various chargers at different points across the country is simple math. No rocket science in this.

In that regard, what’s important to note is that the center is planning to install as many as 70,000 EV chargers across the country. Meanwhile, here’s what a recent report in the Hindustan Times had to say: The Centre said that it aims to set up at least 22,000 EV charging stations, using the facility of 70,000 petrol pumps across the country.

What are Honda’s plans with EVs in the Indian market?

When you think of Honda, you immediately think of massively popular vehicle offerings into the Sedan and SUV space; names that have, over the course of the past few years become vital movers and shakers of a Japanese car brand built on the principles of trust, integrity, and ultimately- value for money.

Names like Honda Civic, City (modeled again and again on versatility and ever-evolving car design) that didn’t take long to become household names in India.

Today, frankly speaking, when one thinks of classic sedans that zipped in the urban clutter of India, you tend to get nostalgic by remembering the classic City model that dominated the roads in the 2000s.

Over the years, Honda has gone on to offer runaway successes in the Indian market with the likes of Accord, Civic, City, and Jazz.

But that’s not all!

Then Honda’s been ever so big in the two-wheeler space, with one of the biggest market updates from of this soon-to-draw-to-a-close 2021 suggesting that Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, sold no fewer than 2.64 million units as of  March this year. With this, the Indian market became number 1 again for the trust Japanese automaker in the Oceania region.

But against that narrative, a question that has often beckoned one’s attention is one pertaining to the future of the brand in India’s EV space. Just where does the EV factor weigh in Honda’s plans for India.

For starters, it helps to know that Honda’s futuristic plans for getting into the EV space in India are essential, at this moment, tied to a few key areas. One is a new facility in the realm of battery sharing and the other, a dependable electric scooter that is yet to be launched in India.

But having said that, let’s first understand some of the former. For now, it helps to know that as of December 1, 2021, Honda set up a purely brand new subsidiary by the name of Honda Power Pack Energy India Pvt Ltd, which besides offering a massive support system to the OEMs operating in the EV sphere will also help in carbon neutrality, such a huge aim for companies in India.

To understand what Honda’s first-of-its-kind battery sharing subsidiary’s offering in India, it helps to note what the revered Economic Times had to say:

“It is planned to start battery sharing service for electric auto-rickshaws (E-auto) from the first half of 2022 in Bengaluru, Karnataka and expand operations in other Indian cities in a phased manner,” the statement said.

In addition to the battery sharing service, the new company will closely work with multiple vehicle OEMs- those that aim to integrate Honda’s battery pack into their vehicles.”

So how will this pan out for those in the vehicle OEM space? How do they stand to be benefitted from Honda?

By expanding vehicle OEMs, applications, and service areas, it aims to onboard more drivers, which will further enhance service convenience, so shared the company’s sources in the country.

However, having said that, the next big step for the EV space in India sees Honda working ceaselessly to launch an electric scooter, which will be ready not before the next fiscal year.

While models like Honda Activa and Shine have already found a sweet spot among the Indian consumers, the yet-to-be-launched electric scooter, one reckons, will find focus soon as the firm is ready to roll out its EV magic on two wheels.

As a matter of fact, at the conclusion of the festive season of India in 2021, Honda was already working with its dealer partners to understand the feasibility run of the said scooter, which in layman terms refers to a test or trial run that helps cover divergent areas associated with the manufacturing and design- technology, among the salient features.

Atsushi Sogata, meanwhile, from the Honda stable further cemented the company’s stance on the product yet to arrive in the Indian market: In-depth details are yet to be finalized but “we have made a commitment to launch (EV product) within the next financial year”, he noted.

These are interesting times to be in the EV space in India

Pravaig Dynamics

These are both challenging and interesting times to be in the space of electric vehicles, more specifically if you are a carmaker based in a country like India.

Challenging for the simple reason that tasked with a massive reality of air pollution with overcrowded urban cities nearly strangulated by toxic fumes and health hazards, India is on the edge in some ways.

And interesting times because any sustainable or green solution for the long run can prove to be such a boon in these times for a developing and growing economy like India.

That there still exists very much a vacuum in the mainstream adoption of EVs in our everyday life opens the door of opportunities to a market on the cusp of change. A market that despite ifs and butts and existential realities such as – when will proper charging infrastructure come up and how long can an EV go for me in the city- is at least, receptive to the concept.

A concept whose time has come simply down to the massive gains that we all stand to achieve if and when EVs become mainstream.

For a clean green resume, India with its ambitious plans to walk the path toward carbon neutrality realizes the massive gains that are tied to walking down the EV way.

This also essentially means refraining the ICE way and adopting a greener, more scientific method to address the everyday conundrum: transport and commutation.

That there’s sizeable growth in this sphere in the country can be simply understood by a figure that a recent study conducted by RBSA advisors provides. So what is it?

Pravaig MK1

By 2030, the EV market in the country is expected to grow by $150 billion.

Now for a country whose total, EV sales as of 2020-21 accounted for just a little over 1 percent of the car sales (overall), there could be nothing more encouraging as this number- right?

In here, by the way, also rests a challenge, rather a need of the hour.

India needs to open its mind and arms to the concept of shared electric mobility, in order to embrace a promising future that is about connected (EV) mobility.

Only this can save the country worth one gigatonne of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. While carmakers and popular EV flagbearers are coming forward to make the country take the next big plunge, what will be brilliant will be to see the country make the shift, one whose time has come! 

Honda takes a big vital step toward the EV ecosystem in India

As a carmaker, honestly speaking, Honda needs no introduction. To most, it’s one of the most competent and sturdiest of all carmakers in the whole wide world. Its machines are, general view and feeling substantiate, the ones that go the long distance.

When you take a Honda home, you don’t just take back a four-wheel experience, you align yourself with a certain degree of assurance that’s hard to find. The Japanese, known for their penchant for discipline and dedication, have extended this very working DNA into their cars.

But what also generates a fair amount of curiosity is whether Honda will eventually penetrate the EV market with rich aplomb.

And while there’s no fixed date pertaining to the above question, what’s certainly known as on date is that Honda has, after all, taken a big necessary step in the realm of EVs.

And that too in the market that’s buzzing with an incessant drive for EV adoption and an EV-enabled future: Asia! One of the most widely known pieces of news in these days of early December is that Honda has already set up a battery sharing subsidiary in India that has a total invested sum of no fewer than 135 crores

This new subsidiary, Honda Power Pack Energy India Pvt Ltd, will look to offer the provision of battery sharing in the space of small mobility.

The buzz surrounding the setup of Honda Power Pack Energy India Pvt ltd also stems from the fact that the newly set-up subsidiary will also provide technical support to OEM manufacturers in the auto space.

When you are a carmaker or an OEM in the EV space, there are plenty of areas that warrant one’s attention. Take things like – issues related to limited range, the challenge of offering a bigger range than one currently on offer, the aspect of the high cost of batteries, things like long-term charging. Now Honda Power Pack Energy India Pvt ltd will address all of these various aspects intricately connected to the sphere of EVs.

A media statement aimed to explain the larger context of Honda’s brand new facility in India offered the following insight:

“It is planned to start battery sharing service for electric auto-rickshaws (E-auto) from the first half of 2022 in Bengaluru, Karnataka and expand operations in other Indian cities in a phased manner.”

The immediate future of Bolt EV of General Motors

Among the most renowned carmakers in the world, General Motors of the United States has hit a snag where it comes to the production of the Bolt EV.

But in order to understand the existential and immediate future of a popular offering in the hatchback space from Chevrolet, one needs to take stock of its immediate past.

In what turned out to be a huge letdown for the massive carmaker, GM had already recalled the Bolt EVs at the back of an issue of battery fires in these cars.

A series of fires in the car definitely meant that something related to the battery modules had to be attended to and so it was done. The cars were recalled and a major process of replacing the existing battery modules began at GM.

Though for any carmaker a step backward in just one car variant is a huge downer, let alone GM, one of the best offerings from the land of Detroit to a global automotive landscape.

The development reported to be down to a manufacturing defect in the battery cells of the Bolt EV made massive news. And not to forget- disparaging one at that!

All eyes, with much keenness, focused attention on what lay ahead. And now, GM has finally made an announcement in the context of the imminent future of its EV bolt.

It appears that the halt in production of the Bolt EV will continue and a restart is expected not before the third week of January 2022, as it turns out.

While the scenes back in August of 2021 weren’t any inspiring with no fewer than 1,40,000 car models recalled, a reprieve is expected to be achieved come the new year.

One is really forward to seeing what the car with a battery pack of 60- Kwh can do in the near future in terms of driving sales for GM. Watch this space for more developments with regards to the Bolt EV!

Elon Musk and December 3 and the social media poll on Tesla shares

One of the world’s most enduring enigmas and genius inventors of its modern history, Elon Musk continues to be the shining star and subject of massive envy that he is.

For someone who is a self-taught inventor and a massive promoter of the idea, the philosophy and the tectonic shift that mankind is gradually making- one known as EV- Elon Musk inspires as much as he collects accolades.

Had he not been there then perhaps it’s only fair to say that the phrase Tesla would only have remained in the history books for being the great definition of a one-of-a-kind Croatian mind- second to none- whose creations are a gift for all of mankind!

But on December 3, the man behind the famous Model S and Model 3 has done something so humungous, if it must be said so, that he has, once again, begun to dominate the discussion and become a popular social media trend.

According to news updates and reports, as of December 3, 2021, Elon Musk sold shares worth $10.9 billion of none other than Telsa.

To help understand why this was done, here’s what a popular news channel based in India had to say:

In early November, the world’s richest person tweeted that he would sell 10 percent of his stock if users of the social media platform approved. A majority of them had agreed with the sale on the Twitter following which he sold the shares. However, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Musk was facing a $3.5 billion tax bill on his options at the time. This would have amounted to more if Tesla stock did not plunge following the Twitter poll — which actually saved him $480 million.

Following a flurry of options exercise, Musk still has an option to buy about 10 million more shares at $6.24 each, according to Reuters.  Musk’s option expires in August next year, which is a reason why he has gone on a share selling spree.

Tesla shares, though dropping after Musk’s Twitter poll, held to the $1 trillion market cap to become the most valuable car-making company in the world. on Friday, Tesla share was selling at $1,084 apiece.

Now, all of that said, even though this is a massive transaction and according to some experts, a big business deal for the great Musk, he will still, as it’s known, pay taxes from 2012 to 2021 at a rate of 50 percent.

And as of Friday, the following is known about Musk: If Musk goes by his promise in the Twitter poll, he has to sell around 17 million shares. This means that he has to say goodbye to another 10 million shares to fulfill his target.

Does the range of electric cars drop in winters?

Does the “range” of Electric Cars drop during winters? 

If today there’s a massive misconception concerning electric cars, one that has actually birthed a premeditated mindset against their adoption then it’s the thinking that since charging infrastructure is still to come up- there’s no point in buying an EV.

Yet, in reality, something else beckons one’s attention: no country, practically speaking would have ever come up with a mere thought to sell EVs had the groundwork regarding laying necessary EV charging infrastructure not come up. Isn’t it?

And yet, we all persist and live with our biases and misconceptions.

But, is the above the only doubt that withers away the thinking that it is high time one must drive an EV or at least, consider buying the next vehicle for one’s use (or for that of the family’s) that is an EV?

Could it be that something else, a point more strongly argued than the misconception above, or something completely different be leading to a slowdown in the purchase of EVs as one notes?

Yes, as it turns out.

Apparently, there’s this feeling that during the winters, the electric cars do not perform as well as one would like them to.

So if at all this is true- what might be the possible reasons for this inconvenient truth, provided one could call it so?

For starters, there’s no conclusive evidence or precise presentation of statistics- accepted globally- that could prove the fact that during winter months, the performance levels of EVs drop or something of that sort.

A dip in performance, here and there, has certainly been talked about and user experiences shared on online hubs and car communities. But nothing scathing and untoward in the realm of EV performance has come through or made troubling headlines.

What one does know, however, is that there already exist concerning theories that point to the same or allude to this line of thinking, which again may or may not be “Entirely” true.

No carmaker anywhere in the world operating in the EV ecosystem has come out with a “specific-to-winter-testing- EV machine, one that’s more about performance than anything else.

Probably, in hindsight, you wonder where it’s a terrible idea?

Nonetheless, the lack of familiarity with the subject has, unfortunately speaking, fuelled discussions in India where many have begun saying the following:

“If you are to travel for a distance that’s up to 100 km, then ensure the range of your electric vehicle is actually 200 km- not less!”

Want more?

Luckily, in India, thanks to the generally existing warm weather, much of which is common for the entirety of the country, one doesn’t really have to worry about the performance drop of EVs during the winter months.

But wait- it’s not done as yet. Due to there being too much heat, generally speaking, all throughout the year, one can be sure that the batteries start getting affected much too quickly.

Now, interestingly while the above cannot – and must not- be doubted or be treated as a reason to be (utterly) stunned, for it’s what most people say and admits to having faced, none of the issues discussed so far have caused a painful detriment to any existing EVs currently out on the Indian roads.

Nor have we, at the same time, heard of any weather-defying driving performances that have completely snubbed any of these speculations, assertions, and realities, if one could call it that.

So the thing that must be mentioned, in no uncertain terms, is to do your research and have your doubts clearly assessed and cleared firsthand instead of having for theories (often vaguely constructed) whilst making an EV purchase.

How is the market for E rickshaws in India at this time

You could be a start-up entrepreneur buzzing with an idea but harangued with a shoestring budget and hence minus a car finding his way in the old bylanes of a cluttered Delhi. You could be out there to pick up some vital office stationery from a known shop where no car can ever reach.

Or you could be a homemaker having to change two metro stations on way to a cooking class that you must somehow not miss.

In another case, you could be an HR staffer in Dadar, Mumbai who needs to reach Prabhadevi at any cost for a scheduled assignment within an hour with no personal mode of convenience.

The role, honestly speaking, played by an E-rickshaw or as some sophisticated minds say, e-three wheeler, in each of these scenarios is big. It’s unique and it’s an apt fit.

Whether you need to reach the metro station or need to catch hold of that market where no car even ventures, what you need, just like an umbrella on a wet day, is an autorickshaw that can get the job done.

And in this part of the 21st century that is, ever so often, finding an E vehicle in its path, then the role of that Autorickshaw ride becomes ever so crucial. To a terribly cluttered mega-city, think New Delhi, Bangalore, or Mumbai, and to urban spaces that are left defunct by the noisy hell car horns create, an E rickshaw silences the morose and makes a smooth entry on the same old passages with a clear, fresh vibe.

And having said that, it’s rather interesting and exciting to note where the e rickshaw market stands in India as we speak.

  • In what can be called one of the finest updates pertaining to the E vehicles market and the wide gamut of product offerings in India, it’s a fine update to note that as of April 2020, there already were no fewer than 1.5 million battery-powered three wheelers in the country.
  • The aim of the industry operating E rickshaws in the country from April 2020 onwards, market studies confirmed, was to sell not less than 1,00,000 units on a monthly basis at a pan-India level.
  • Names like Mahindra and Piaggio have so far, dominated the shared mobility space in the country and brightly so.

Further to the above, the most fascinating update from this market space dominated by unorganized players is that during the peak pandemic, this was the only space that was growing amid a backdrop of an industry-wide slowdown in India.

Premier business and economic publication The Economic Times even noted the massive means of financial support that the e-Rickshaw market offers its operators; those entrusted with the task of running e-rickshaw rides in the country, “The daily rental for an e-rickshaw command a premium of around Rs 300 by fleet operators, which is also giving a fillip to its market demand.”

What also augurs well for e-rickshaw owners and operators of their fleet is that, when compared to the IC engine, then the cost of maintenance of an e Rickshaw is anything but steep, and is, in fact, reduced by 80 percent.

On another fresh note of optimism, there already are companies in India that are producing up to 300 electric rickshaws, i.e., vehicles per day. Think Mayuri for example! Moreover, the demand for lithium batteries in the e-Rickshaw space is only picking up. On that note, it’s pertinent to note that India, as its workforce continues to shift from the tier-II and tier-III cities into the mainstream big cities, will continue to rely on this mass mover and transporter of people in the times to come.

Maruti Suzuki, the EV space, and the point about subsidies

Maruti Suzuki: Impetus must be to reduce acquisition costs associated with EVs!

In a statement that is anything but disparaging and in fact, helps one understand the EV space in India better, Maruti Suzuki has started something interesting.

The famous carmaker has shared that efforts must be put into understanding how can the acquisition costs associated with EVs be brought down in the country. For that is the key from where Maruti sees the scenario.

For many existing players in a vastly competitive car space in the country, the focal point of attention, more or less, remains on subsidies where it comes to the electric vehicle space.

Things like what subsidies can the government offer- whether on the central or the state level- reflect the current mood or trend where the EV space is concerned.

It’s not hard to understand that too, truth be known. A lot, after all, goes into car making and the journey of the idea behind the conception of a car to the point where it actually physically reaches the roads is an onerous challenge, requiring ever so much on the part of the actual carmaker!

But is that all?

Maruti Suzuki, given that it simply hasn’t entered a vastly changing specter where one sees the car market today, seems to be apprehensive.

While the company has never said anything much too alarming about what India’s plans in the EV space may be, it has definitely alluded to the fact that it isn’t willing to enter the space just as yet.

A similar sentiment came to the fore in what the ED, marketing, and sales, Mr. Shashank Srivastava had to say very recently, “We can’t completely depend on government subsidies. The moment that subsidy moves out, EVs become expensive. We need to reduce the cost of acquisition by reducing the battery cost.”