Girish Nagpal is a serial entrepreneur focused on impact. He is the CEO & Co-founder of Electric mobility startup MetroRide. He chose to become an entrepreneur after a successful stint of leadership positions in the corporate sector. Girish is a management graduate from the prestigious institute MDI, Gurgaon. Girish is a recipient of the “Distinguished Toastmaster Award”, the highest individual education award by Toastmasters International, a global nonprofit organization in the field of public speaking & leadership development. He is a cricket buff, a passionate teacher and an amateur Scrabble player.
A few years back if someone would have uttered the term ‘electric mobility’ or ‘e-mobility’ in India, it was either an NRI, a futuristic entrepreneur or an electric vehicle salesperson. The chances of the latter advocating e-mobility are lower because people barely went to electric vehicle showrooms.
But a lot has changed in the last decade or so, today EVs are one of the hottest topics around. Be it be cab-hailing, last-mile commute/deliveries or even Metro rails. More and more people are looking at switching to sustainable transportation for more reasons than one. In India, a major chunk of daily commuters prefers metros over other options. In Namma Bengaluru itself, around five lakh people were using the metro for their daily commute in 2019.
A discussion that often pops up in various professional forums, cafeteria chit chats or even political scenarios – Are we ready for electric mobility? And more so after the COVID setback since we have all become environmentally aware after gasping for clean air inside hospitals.
Why the need for electricity-powered vehicles all of a sudden, you ask? Well, let’s look into some of the many advantages electric vehicles have over the traditional Internal Combustion Engines (ICE for short) cool name, only literally though :P:
- Lower run costs: With the ever-increasing fuel prices, electric vehicles offer a low-cost per KM option.
- Lower Maintenance: The maintenance of EVs is much lower due to minimal moving parts in the vehicle, unlike an ICE Engine which has numerous parts which need regular service & upkeep.
- Reduced Pollution: No more noise pollution & tailpipe emissions.
Imagine an Indian road in all its glory during rush hour. Only this time, it is with electric vehicles. No engines revving, no annoying ignition sounds or emissions, no loud honks. Such a relief as if someone pressed a mute button to a loud & irritating AV.
What’s stopping EV adoption?
As Indians, when we buy a car, we are making an investment and we want a quick return. “Kitna Deti Hai” mindset ensures the quicker return a vehicle gives, the more inclined we are towards buying it. But an electric vehicle has a much higher payback period than its ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) counterpart due to higher initial capital cost. This has been one of the major reasons why Indians have not yet come around to the idea of owning an electric vehicle.
Lack of charging infrastructure is another issue that has caused many of us to step back from purchasing an EV and settling for the ones run by fossil fuels. Lack of clarity amongst the RWAs, Corporates w.r.t. charging infra has led to many of our residents as well as corporate parking not being ready for charging points. Extensively spread charging stations can be an important driving force among people looking to make the switch to EVs. The good news is this is changing at a fast pace.
Range anxiety is yet another issue that has been delaying EV adoption. Consumers still don’t have the confidence on will they be able to get the required mileage or would be stranded on the roads if they are not able to find the charging point when needed.
Most of these issues are very obvious which any newer technology faces and I am sure it’s just about the question of “when” rather than “if” we will see mass adoption of EVs. Here are a few reasons why I see that change coming in and coming in very soon.
The Brighter Side:
- Government Policies and Schemes:
Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles or FAME, an initiative by the government that jumped to its second phase this year and became FAME II, is working to make electric vehicles more affordable and accessible to all. India’s National E-mobility Programme & Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Schemes aim to provide an impetus to the entire e-mobility ecosystem. Our Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Sh. Nitin Gadkari launched the “Go Electric” campaign to spread awareness of the advantages of e-mobility.
- Fossil fuels becoming dearer:
Petrol & Diesel prices have always been going northwards it being a limited resource. It’s just about time that we directly will start noticing their scarcity in our daily lives.
- The Opex Advantage:
The Per KM running cost of an EV is about 80% lesser than that of an ICE vehicle. Even maintenance costs are way lesser, thanks to minimal moving parts in an electric vehicle against thousands in an ICE vehicle.
- Improved Charging Infrastructure:
Both the govt as well as the private sector are investing strategically on setting up the required charging infrastructure. With a lot of R&D in place, various alternate options like swap battery systems, fast charging etc are being introduced. With such advancements coming at a brisk pace, it is a no brainer that EVs are bound to become mainstream very soon.
The way ahead:
The segment of EVs for B2B is growing with each passing day. Be it the government scheme and subsidy, lower operational costs or higher utilization rate, the commercial usage of electric vehicles is taking strides in India. Especially the last-mile segment for commute or for deliveries of goods for e-commerce, food or grocery. The last-mile use case, especially for 2 wheelers and 3 Wheelers, is an ideal fit for EVs and this segment is flourishing at a rapid pace.
The International Energy Agency is on top of this situation and it has reasons to claim that electric vehicles will have captured 30% of the total market share by the year 2030.
KPMG India also issued a similar report stating that by the year 2030, the Indian market will see an increase in electric vehicles as such:
- E-scooter usage for the B2B segment will have escalated between 60% to 80%
- E-scooter usage for the B2C segment will have escalated between 40% to 60%
- Three-wheelers, mostly used for commercial purposes, will have escalated and reached between 65% to 75%
- Personal use of electric cars will have escalated and reached between 20% to 30%
- Electric buses will have reached between 25% to 40%
We have accepted electric cabs, 3Ws, buses and electric bikes but when it comes to buying a car for personal use, we are still sceptical about our primary vehicle being an electric one. For now, it is safe to say that India is ready for the electric mobility revolution and we’ll see a phased adoption led by B2B use cases followed by personal mobility. Looking forward to exciting times ahead.