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SEP 12 2018

Govt needs to push charging infrastructure for e-mobility: Pawan Goenka

  • Economic Times, ET Bureau / Hyderabad
  • Created: Wed 12th SEP 2018


Electric vehicles will take off in India as public mobility and OEMs need to go beyond just providing vehicles to providing service, Pawan Goenka, MD, Mahindra & Mahindra, told ETNow.


Edited excerpts:

ET NOW: What are the biggest challenges for electric vehicles market in india?


Pawan Goenka: From where Mahindra is today, we probably need to find another 10-15 per cent price reduction. That means cost reduction of that nature. Second is how do we increase the range from 130-140 kilometres to 170-180 kilometres.


People talk about 300-350 kilometres. That is fine, but I think if we can get to 170-180 kilometres, that will be a good range for most shared mobility application. So, that is the second challenge and these two go opposite because increasing range means increasing cost. But I have to reduce cost. And third one is to make sort of the overall maintenance of these vehicles less expensive than what it is today so that they become affordable on a life cycle basis. That is what we need to do.


What the Government of India needs to do is to facilitate the charging infrastructure so that the range anxiety goes away to some extent and also be an enabler through states facilitating use of electrical vehicles. That is what they need to do. But I think one of the biggest roles in the electrical vehicle story has to be played by service providers because I believe electric vehicles will not take off in India as personal mobility. They will take off as public mobility, shared, fleet, corporate and so on and so forth.


For that, the mobility service providers have to come forward and believe in electric vehicles, do pilots. There will be hiccups, there will be growing pains in the beginning, there will be learning curve but I think if they put their mind to it, it can happen.


And to some extent perhaps, the OEMs need to go beyond just providing vehicles to providing service and in fact, after listening to everything for two days, I am seriously thinking whether Mahindra should be doing more in terms of providing mobility as a service rather than just providing vehicles.


ET Now: Do you clearly have the first mover advantage when it comes to electric mobility in India? How are you leveraging that to become one of the top players within this space and gain more traction and also bring on board cutting edge technology?


Pawan Goenka: So there is no difference in technology of batteries. Where we will probably need to do a little bit more work than what we have today is in motors, electric motors, where perhaps we need to get to the next level of technology which we are in the process of doing right now.


And then there is the whole power electronics that goes into the vehicle. That is pretty much roughly where everybody will be where we have taken a view. That is right view for India. We are not designing vehicles that run 300 kilometres on charge, we are designing vehicles right now that run 150 kilometres.


We would like to go to 170-180 kilometres but not losing sight of the fact that we need to keep our vehicles in fact less costly than what it is today and reduce the price by 10-15 per cent to make it affordable. So technology wise, I do not see any issue. Where I see issue right now is it is a chicken and egg situation. We have a plant with 500 vehicle capacity, right now we are selling 100-150, it is very difficult for me to justify investing in 5,000 though we are investing. We need to start seeing a little bit of more volumes.


Once volume comes, everything falls in place. Suppliers will take us more seriously. The supplier cost will come down. Our prices will come down. Volumes will go up and the virtuous cycle gets started. That is what we need to focus on and we are working on.


United States Power India MAHINDRA

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