OEMs Need To Focus More On Better Financing Options For EVs.

Highlights :

“Given that an average ICE vehicle emits 400+grams CO2 /mile, with our 500+ electric vehicles across India having cumulatively traversed more than one million miles are resulting in CO2 emissions reduction of more than 4 crore grams.”

“Capacity building for and in the electric vehicle market is indeed an uphill task, as it often depends on a lot of external factors such as infrastructure availability, procurement of parts and components, area-specific EV policies and so on.

“Many Indian states are yet to roll-out their state EV policies, and it might take a few more years for us to achieve 100 % clarity.

Etrio, an EV player, aims to be an affordable and accessible electric form of mobility for everyone. With over 30+ partnerships with leading e-commerce and logistics players the EV company is hoping to play a key role in the burgeoning EV segment in India by bringing a wide range of quality electric vehicles. Deepak MV, founder & CEO, Etrio in a conversation with Saur Energy, spelled out company’s commitment to India’s EV market.

Q.1 India has clearly displayed its intent to be a leader in the transition to renewables. What is the kind of a future you see for electric vehicles in India?

It is quite unfortunate to note that our transport sector – a critical stakeholder in the country’s energy mix — still relies very heavily on fossil fuels, and so it is possibly accounting for having one of the lowest shares of renewables amongst end-use sectors. The transition and change will obviously be led by electric vehicles – especially the increasing numbers of 2W and 3W EVs in India’s logistics and intracity/intercity delivery segment. In the coming decades, EVs are expected to emerge as one of the biggest consumers of renewable electricity in India and across the globe. The future of EVs looks brighter than ever before now. The Central Government has chalked an ambitious vision of minimum EV penetration in various segments. Further, India’s Road Transport Minister has also recently assured to bring down the cost of electric vehicles in India within the next two years. All such positive developments initiatives, I believe, will play a pivotal role in ushering a large-scale EV boom in India in the years to come.

Q.2 How do you see Etrio positioned to play a leading role in this segment with your presence in the three and four-wheeler market?

We already have an established presence in the electric 3W OEM space in India with our brand-named ‘Touro’.  Additionally, we have also launched India’s first retrofitted e-LCV 4-Wheeler — a Tata Ace, which has been converted from ICE to EV through our scientific retrofitment process which improves the earnings of the driver owner by saving almost 60 % on operational expenses by turning this diesel LCV into a green and clean productive vehicle.

Given that an average ICE vehicle emits 400+grams CO2 /mile, with our 500+ electric vehicles across India having cumulatively traversed more than one million miles are resulting in CO2 emissions reduction of more than 4 crore grams. Today, our product portfolio has a wide range of vehicles across payloads ranging from 350 kg to 500 kg.

Q.3 Can you share Etrio’s plans for the market?

While we are trying to achieve affordable EV adoption across the country and thus making ‘EVs for all’ a reality. We are using a two-pronged approach: first is that our e-lease model for logistics and last-mile delivery players and secondly, dealership channels for the B2B and B2C segments.

We are ready to launch a slew of high performance 3-wheelers in the next two quarters and will also introduce new cargo 4 wheelers range starting with the 1T payload segment in the next few years, while attempting to capture a higher share of the EV space in India. Over 500 EVs are already deployed across various parts of India, and we are currently sitting on an order volume of 5000+ EV orders.

Q.4 Are there any specific cities you are at the moment focused on?

Many Indian cities are, including tier 2 and tier 3 ones, are off late witnessing increased demand and push for EVs in the 2W and 3W segments. Especially in the cities and states where there are well-formulated EV policies and subsidies in place, the demand is on the higher side. That being said, we have focused on expanding and optimizing our footprints in the demand-heavy cities such as Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi-NCR, and Mumbai, among others, to further aid our growth.

Q.5 How badly has the market been affected by external factor such as lack of a solid charging infrastructure, global production crunch, logistic issues apart from rising cost of raw materials. What are you doing to turn challenges into opportunities?

Inadequate charging infrastructure, high Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and range anxiety are some of the major challenges hindering the adoption of EVs in India. Other key issues in the EV ecosystem, of course, include less demand, increasing cost of raw materials for EV manufacturing and spare parts, and an unreliable supply chain that is still far away from being indigenised within our country. However, notwithstanding these uphill challenges, the market is constantly evolving and growing, and we still have a huge untapped potential to electrify our transport and mobility at scale in the years to come.

Overcoming the above-mentioned challenges needs strategic and sustained approaches by all key stakeholders, including OEMs, Governments, private players, regulatory bodies, among others. To bolster customer adaptability from ICE to EVs, OEMs need to focus more on building or facilitating better options for financing and servicing of EVs. Additionally, serviceability as well as building robust EV charging infrastructure – which is also easily accessible — needs to be focused on, to make sure that the end-customers can have roadside assistance, convenience and confidence. We as industry stakeholders, are doing, and will continue to do in the future, everything possible in our capacity to make EVs become easy-to-buy and easy-to-run – which in turn will ensure that all the existing challenges can be turned to brilliant opportunities over time to ultimately fuel India’s ambitious electric mobility goals.

Q.6 As a company offering clean energy products and services, do you think various stakeholders are marketing the EV segment aggressively enough to make people see the value for going for cleaner mobility options?

In the recent years, in India as well as in many other developing and developed nations, there is a mindful push towards marketing and spreading awareness on the benefits of clean energy-based products/services and clean mobility in an aggressive way through strategic campaigns. In addition, we have noticed an enhanced global focus on climate change, environmental regulations as well as myriad technological advances in the EV landscape – are collectively making a strong case for an unprecedented green-mobility transition and for larger EV adoption in India.

While some players are adopting innovative go-to-market strategies, yet it is unfortunate to note that a significant majority of end-customers in India continue to ignore EVs due to higher upfront cost and driving range anxiety. There is, an urgent need to spread more awareness on the economical edge EVs have, which are usually more reliable and economical in the long run as compared to internal combustion engine vehicles, as they contain lesser mechanical parts that are prone to failure or malfunctioning, and over the long term.

Q.7 What kind of a strategy do you have for marketing your products?

Given that a lion’s share of our overall business comes from the B2B last-mile logistics commercial vehicles’ sector, our marketing and sales strategy has always been focused around building and nurturing strong partnerships with fleet operators, e-com players, FMCG players and other companies and aggregators who are anyway in need of EVs for commercial purposes. In the course of tying-up with such companies/players, we always offer them a demonstration/pilots for a limited number of our vehicles for a pre-specified period – which in turn builds trust and makes them inclined to give us larger volumes of orders.

On social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, we market our products through regular posts, videos and engagement with our audiences. We also publish regular blogs relating to the EV ecosystem in India on our website. However, as till date most of our orders have been coming through word-of-mouth and referrals from our existing clients or partners, we have not yet explored too much of inorganic (paid) digital marketing activities; nor do we intend to do so in the near future.

Q.8 As far as policies and guidelines go, is there complete clarity? Are States and Centre in complete sync? What are the challenges there?

Not as of date. As many Indian states are yet to roll-out their state EV policies, it might take a few more years for us to achieve 100 % clarity, alignment and maturity within the policy and regulatory ecosystem for EVs nationwide.

Q.9 What are the broad trends that will shape the EV market?

Here are some of the broad trends that we believe will shape India’s EV market in the years to come:

  • The investments towards the green mobility ad electric mobility segments will continue to skyrocket, along with a sustained investor focus on energy storage and advance EV battery technologies
  • EV OEMs in India will be upgrading and/or fine tuning their products and/or services as per ever-evolving dynamics of consumer demand, which implies that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach will no longer work for OEMs.
  • With EV sales picking up momentum in India, we will see many more public EV charging stations across cities and towns of our country will be launched for the convenience of EV owners
  • More and more ICE manufacturers will show increased inclinations towards in-house EV production and will also be unveiling their plans for venturing into e-mobility space.
  • The early-adopters of EVs in India and the world will become ambassadors and proponents of an EV-oriented life and lifestyle with an amplified focus on sustainability, decarbonisation and eco-friendly ways of living.

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