Electric Tractor Market Untapped In India: Kaustubh Dhonde, CEO-AutoNxt

Highlights :

  • AutoNxt Automation is one of the few Indian companies which are into the manufacturing of electric tractors. In an interview with Saur Energy, its founder and CEO Kaustubh Dhond talked about the challenges and potential of product in India. Excerpts from the interview: 
Electric Tractor Market Untapped In India: Kaustubh Dhonde, CEO-AutoNxt Electric Tractor Market Untapped In India: Kaustubh Dhonde

How do you see the current ecosystem of electric tractors in India? 

Kaustubh Dhonde: The ecosystem of electric tractors in India is in its nascent stage but shows immense potential for growth. As one of the pioneers in this field, AutoNxt Automation is leading the charge with innovative solutions like our autonomous electric tractor, “Hulk.” Currently, there are only a handful of companies in India exploring this segment, making it a relatively untapped market with significant opportunities for expansion and development.

What are the biggest hurdles you see for this industry in India?

Kaustubh Dhonde: The primary hurdles for the electric tractor industry in India include the high initial upfront cost of electric tractors, the need for robust charging infrastructure in rural areas, and the general lack of awareness among farmers about the benefits of electric and autonomous technology. Additionally, overcoming skepticism and convincing farmers to transition from traditional diesel tractors to electric alternatives remains a challenge.

Does this segment enjoy any benefits under govt schemes?

Kaustubh Dhonde: While the FAME-II scheme and other government incentives primarily focus on electric two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and four-wheelers, there is growing recognition of the importance of extending these benefits to the agricultural sector, including electric tractors. We are actively engaging with policymakers to advocate for the inclusion of electric tractors in these schemes, which would significantly boost adoption and make the technology more accessible to farmers.

What is the current production capacity of AutoNxt Automation? 

Kaustubh Dhonde: AutoNxt Automation’s current production capacity is designed to meet the initial demand as we roll out the “Hulk” tractor. We are focused on scaling up production rapidly to meet growing interest and orders. Our target is to capture a substantial share of the Indian market by providing a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to traditional tractors. We aim to deploy thousands of units in the next few years, significantly reducing operational costs for farmers and enhancing their productivity.

Any export plans?

Kaustubh Dhonde: Yes, AutoNxt Automation does have plans to expand beyond the Indian market. The advantages of our autonomous electric tractor, “Hulk,” are universally applicable, and we see strong potential in international markets, especially in regions with similar agricultural practices and challenges. Our initial focus will be on neighboring countries and other developing economies where the benefits of reduced operational costs and sustainable farming practices are highly valued.

How had been the response of farmers and traders in rural India towards e-tractors? 

Kaustubh Dhonde: The response from farmers and traders in rural India has been encouraging. Many are excited about the cost savings, reduced noise pollution, and enhanced safety features of our electric tractor, “Hulk.” To ensure faster adoption, we are focusing on robust awareness campaigns, offering attractive leasing models, and providing comprehensive support and training to farmers. Demonstrating the tangible benefits through pilot projects and word-of-mouth endorsements from early adopters will be crucial in building trust and driving widespread adoption of electric tractors in India.

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