With the increasing growth of the electric vehicle (EV) market in India, the demand for suitable charging infrastructure is also growing at a rapid rate. In April, ElectricPe, a new energy infrastructure firm, formed a strategic agreement with Hero Electric to build a large-scale EV charging infrastructure in the country. Riders of Hero Electric will be able to use ElectricPe's charging network as part of the latest agreement. Residential complexes, offices, malls, and other establishments would all have charging stations. HT Auto spoke with Avinash Sharma, CEO of ElectricPe, to learn more about the company's future goals and cooperation with Hero Electric.
How is ElectricPe aiming to contribute to the electric vehicle industry in India?
Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular in India due to a number of factors, including the availability of more and more vehicle options in the market for end customers, as well as a strong push from the government on both the supply and demand sides through initiatives and policies such as the PLI and FAME schemes. This, in turn, necessitates the development of a solid charging/swapping infrastructure as well as a all-in-one conveniently accessible charging platform, without which widespread adoption of electric vehicles will be impossible. At ElectricPe, we're working to close this gap. We're building India's largest and most reliable EV charging infrastructure, which will house a variety of charging systems (regular, rapid, switching) for all use-cases (personal, commercial) in one convenient location. So that users don't have to switch between various apps to get their EV charging needs met.
What is the business goal and how does it plan to achieve it?
Our short-term goal is to have 1 lakh public charging stations on the ElectricPe network in India by the end of the year. We've already started forming strategic agreements with OEMs, independent charge point operators, and infrastructure companies to provide a large charging infrastructure network.
How has the latest collaboration with Hero Electric turned out?
Our partnership with Hero Electric is still in its early stages, but we are confident that it will help us reach our objective of 1 lakh charging stations. One of the largest OEMs, Hero Electric, now has seamless access to our charging platform for their customers. We hope that our partnership will help us achieve our aim of providing clean, inexpensive charging to a billion Indians right at their doorstep.
With the current trends in the EV industry, what does India require?
The quantity of electric vehicles observed on Indian roads today compared to a few years ago is an anecdotal evidence of the tremendous demand that this category will face in the future. The EV ecosystem, as a young industry, nevertheless faces a number of hurdles that are keeping it from attaining its full potential. Some of these issues and gaps exist at the industry level, such as India's reliance on imported batteries and components for EV manufacture. This is especially true given the current global chip shortage. In the end, this means that there are supply constraints in the market, especially in light of increased demand and customer expectations. What's promising is that the Indian EV ecosystem's deficiencies are steadily being filled by private enterprises and startups' creativity. Investors' eagerness to invest in the electric vehicle market is fueling this innovation.
Views on the number of partnerships in the EV ecosystem, policy, etc.?
Several partnerships and associations will continue to exist in the sector. What has happened thus far is only the tip of the iceberg. As an industry, several collaborations are required because one player or OEM will not be able to match the EV sector's demand. Furthermore, the ecosystem has multiple moving pieces, necessitating the development of knowledge. Added to this is the constant change and evolution of technology, which will necessitate collaboration with experts in battery management, cell production, software solutions, and other areas to ensure the industry's highest safety standards as well as consumers' seamless access, reach, and affordability. What's vital to keep an eye on is how many of these collaborations result in actual value creation for customers on the ground.
Outlook of the industry in the next two years?
In India, the potential for EV manufacture, assembly, and distribution is enormous. As the country rapidly transitions to electric vehicles as the primary mode of transportation, along with the government's push for Make in India, a slew of new business opportunities will emerge, ranging from cell manufacturing and battery management systems to charging and swapping infrastructure, software solutions, supply chain, and financing. Part suppliers, energy storage, and transportation options for EV component material movement will all benefit from areas like electric vehicle manufacturing.
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