EV Market and Policy

  • A Guide for Mechanical Engineers who want to enter into the Electric Vehicle industry.

    If you’re from the Mechanical Engineering stream and want to participate in the Electric Vehicle industry, this article discusses some of the proven ways in doing so.

    In the world today, it pays to have a skill that you know really well – this could be a technical skill like circuit board design, or a managerial skill like turning the performance of a company around.

    The first thing to do is see what in your current skill-set applies to Electric Vehicles. Here are a few examples –

    • Companies want to create smarter, more connected vehicles. An understanding of the relationship between sensor data and actuators is needed.
    • Housing of various Electrical sub-components for resistance against vibration and Electro-magnetic interference.
    • Wiring and wire harnesses that connect the various powertrain components of an EV.

    The second important aspect is Thermals. Instead of a lot of moving mechanical parts, in the EV powertrain there is a dominance of power electronics, low voltage electronics and firmware. Most of the heat generation happens in the power electronics section, and that heat needs to be regulated. There is a huge amount of innovation that needs to be done here to efficiently use waste heat to warm up the cabin, or to heat up the Battery pack to its optimal temperature if need be. This will ensure that the EV powertrain sub-components not only operate at the optimal temperature, but also squeeze the last bit of efficiency from the system.

    The third is about expanding your knowledge in the field of Mechatronics. You bring something very valuable to the table coming from the field of Mechanical Engineering, and with the clarity of concepts in Electronics and basic firmware you can master the art of creating devices that sit at the intersection of these three. Here are some examples of such devices that you can create with this knowledge – pyrotechnic fuses, high voltage contactors. These devices are critical safety components that are necessary inside an EV Battery pack.

    This article summarises just a few ways in which Mechanical Engineering skills are in demand even in the EV industry. The next batch of our Electric Vehicle Foundations course will be launching soon. You can learn more about the upcoming batch here.

  • Top Events

    • Dyson plans to enter electric cars business :Best known for slick-looking vacuum cleaners and hand dryers, James Dyson has already stated his intentions to tackle a completely different machine — the electric car. Dyson is planning a trio of new EVs for the next decade that will also adopt a solid-state battery pack, , embarking on an estimated $2.8 billion project to give an Elon Musk-like jolt to the automotive market.
    • Global EV figures crossed 3 million in Jan 2018 :By the start of 2018 the number of vehicles with electric motors, range extenders or plug-in hybrid systems have reached a global 3,2 million units, according to a ZSW survey. China is leading with around 1.2m NEVs driving around the country.With more than a third of the cars driving on China’s roads, the rest of the world has some catching up to do. Second place in the worldwide ranking is held by the USA, with a total of 751,510 vehicles, followed by Japan with 201,410 vehicles. It bears mentioning that this statistic does not consider population statistics, and only the actual number of vehicles. Accordingly, Norway (187,270) follows on rank 4, with France coming in 5th (149,350), 6. UK (125,940), 7. Holland (121,540), 8. Germany (92,720), 9. Sweden (49,900) and 10. Canada (47,350).
    • Germany now has 2nd largest Hydrogen filling stations for the fuel cell cars: According to information from TÜV Süd, Germany had the largest growth in hydrogen fuelling stations in the world last year. A total of 24 public fueling stations were installed in Germany, while the global market managed to construct a total of 64.This marks considerable growth, as Germany can now boast of the second largest network of public refueling stations in the world. Only Japan has more, with a total of 91 stations, compared to Germany’s 56 fuelling stations, of which 45 are publicly accessible. The USA has 40 hydrogen refuelling stations currently, and has fallen behind Germany as the global number 2 after last years developments.
    • Indian Govt’s U-turn on Electric Vehicles: Now Nitin Gadkari along with Amitabh Kant CEO of their external think tank NITI AAYOG have taken a complete U-turn on EV mission by saying “there was no need for any EV Policy now.”The government announced their 2030 (which later became the 2032) goal for 100% electrification of cars manufactured in India late last year. Ever since, they have changed stances, with-held policy and pushed the rebate revision under the FAME scheme further and further. Asserting further that technology should not be restricted by governance and regulations, Kant added that “Don’t freeze anything for the country. Future will be shared economy, future will be connected economy and the future will zero-based emission policy”.
      Unfortunately, this change requires thousands of crores in investment and even more in divestment, and most importantly of all, it involves hundreds of thousands of lives.
      Considering, Mr Kant and Gadkari’s statement today, it seems the government has now withdrawn from the responsibility of fulfilling an agenda that they had set out for themselves.
    • China tops Lithium vells production
  • Why only the low speed E-Scooters are becoming popular in India

    • Low Speed two wheelers: Customers buying low speed Electric two wheelers (both with lead and Lithium batteries) are a happier lot as the initial price of these vehicles after subsidy become attractive (Rs.27000 to Rs.50000) and the running cost are also just 70 paise (incl battery replacement and charging cost) against Rs 1.30 /km of petrol scooters. The volume of such two wheelers is therefore steadily increasing and in the year 2017-18, it would be 50000 plus (against 5000 of high speed) and will surely cross 150000 next year. It is very crucial to keep supporting this segment with the subsidy till the volumes of the high speed become substantial because it is helping the conversion into EV mobility, creating an eco system of “make in India” components and also encouraging the employment opportunity in the manufacturing, sales and service network.

    • The greenhouse gases reduction as well as the savings in the crude oil per km of usage (for every Rs.1000 given as subsidy) are also amongst the highest across EV segments because of the best efficiency and lowest consumption of battery/km. (copy enclosed) Amongst all EV categories, the volumes in this segment can easily touch 2 million because of “value for money” offered by these two wheelers.
  • Why Li-Battery high speed E-Scooters are not becoming popular in India despite the advantage of battery life 5 to 6 years resulting in big savings in the running cost

    For the last 1.5 years, the customers in some of the EV segments like E- Scooters are being offered EVs at two price points corresponding to the level of technology, speed and power. However only 2% customer have really shifted to higher speed products. The major barrier being the prices and the diminishing TCO advantages of such higher speed products. It is therefore important to let the customer decide rather than forcing a particular technology or speed restriction on to them.

    The following explanation clearly illustrates what are the issues

    • High Speed Two Wheelers: Out of the 18 million customers buying petrol two wheelers in a year, majority of them are “real value for money” and cost conscious customers who buy Petrol 2 wheelers priced between Rs.45000 and Rs.60000 (average Rs. 52000). The 2 wheelers they generally buy give 50 km/lt, that translates to Rs.1.30 per km. These customers generally run the vehicles for 10000 km/year that translates to Rs.13000 per year. The initial cost + running cost for such petrol two wheelers for 3 years therefore comes to Rs.91000 (Rs.52000+3x 13000).
    • An electric scooter with a maximum speed of 50km/hr and a range of 80 km with a Li- battery also costs around Rs.90000 (factoring 3 years of charging cost) even after the current subsidy of Rs.22000. The perceived advantages in running cost and lower maintenance cost of an electric two-wheeler therefore begin to kick in only after 3 years.
    • At present customers of petrol two wheeler are not ready to pay the Rs.38000 (90000-52000) extra hoping to get back this 38000 in the running cost advantage and also continue to get the savings thereafter. There are hardly such E-Scooters (less than 5000) on the roads and that too for the last 1 year, it is clear that the prospective customer is not keen to spend that extra money on purchasing hoping to recover it later. The mass shift to electric scooters will not therefore happen unless there are enough numbers on the road and have been used for 4 to 5 years to spread the positive word of mouth of lower total cost of ownership over the life of the vehicle.
    • It is imperative that if India targets mass adoption of electric two wheelers with an objective of reducing crude oil consumption and air pollution, the current level of incentive for mid speed scooters (40 to 60 km/hr speed and range 70 to 80 km), the current incentive must not only be maintained but increased to catalyse the adoption of say around 2 to 3 million units before starting to taper the subsidy to zero. Other measures that can help adoption are preferential funding by public sector banks to customers and mandating E-commerce deliveries to convert their entire fleet from a highly polluting extensively run petrol 2 wheelers to zero polluting E-Two wheelers in next 2 to 3 years.
  • How to define a green mobility roadmap for India for two wheelers

    At present we need to quickly reach the point of inflexion from where on the E-mobility will take off by itself. The products and technologies that are already on the ground need to be promoted in a big way so that the critical mass of say 2 to 3 million EVs is achieved. That volume will by itself solve many issues. That will trigger make in India, spread enough awareness and get the large players interested into EV business.  Following are few steps recommended for E-2 wheelers

    • Do not disrupt the present adoption pattern of low speed two wheelers. As per our estimate around 40% of the sales of these 2Ws are referrals or repeat which surely are signs of a customer satisfied with the product and for the money that he paid.
    • Announce a sunset clause of 2 million/3 years for the lead batteries E2Ws. In Parallel announce incentives and measures to shift the buyer from a low speed lead to a low speed/ mid speed (~45km/hr like city speed) lithium battery E2W.
    • Provide catalysts like preferential financing, E-commerce mandated conversion, promoting E-taxis etc for accelerated growth.
    • Continually streamline the CMVR certification process and RO registration system to constantly improve the products already being sold.
    • Do not burn too much money in incentivizing a E2W performing similar to the petrol Scooter. The purchase price (despite big subsidy) as well as the running cost of such a product will be much more than a mid speed E2W and may even be as much as a petrol 2W causing a huge setback in mass conversion to E- Mobility.
  • Why component industry in India hasn’t really started investing in the E-Vehicle components?



    The confusing actions and the words like the ones spoken recently by the senior most officials in the government certainly doesn’t help anyone. The existing manufacturers suffer the most, the new comers take a back seat and investors simply vanish. Make in India will certainly happen when a consistent long-term policy is pursued and sudden U turns are avoided. The most important parameters here is to ensure that the technologies and the vehicles that have shown some sign of success are fine tuned and encouraged further so as to reach a critical mass.

  • Is Lithium battery in and electric vehicle, particularly in the two wheelers a time bomb waiting to explore?

    On one hand the max current drawn in electric two wheeler is quite low (generally less than 100 amp), the lithium batteries are not put to extreme stress, however most electric two wheeler batteries have no forced cooling therefore the chances of heat developed / heat trapped are higher.

    A safe two wheeler battery system should have the following protection to call them 100% safe

    • Cell level fuse system
    • Smart BMS capable of sensing and triggering safety actions
    • Internal CNL battery fuse.
    • High current contactor kill switch
    • Motor controller safety shutdown
    • Voltage controller unit (VCU) safety discharge cutoff
    • Self extinguishing materials in construction.
  • Are we be anyway near total electric mobility in the car segment in next 10 to 20 years?

    Although countries like China and Norway have gone fairly ahead in electric mobility, the world as a whole is still far away from a significant shift in electric mobility in the cars. As per the latest estimates we may end up having only 600000 or so electric cars in 2018. The cumulative total electric cars may just about cross 1.4 million numbers by 2018. The % of electric cars vs total cars rose from 0.48% in 2013 to 3% in 2018. The rate of growth in last 2 years being much more than the earlier gives a hope of an exponential growth the mid to long term.


  • Is shared mobility solving or adding to the problem of congestions on the city roads?

    Surprisingly, it is being forecasted that the shared mobility may add rather than reduce the congestion on the city roads. Some signs of this are already being seen in the hundreds of Ubers and Olas either being parked on the road side or being driven very slowly to avoid parking or in serch of a customer. Even in the US a recent study found that large increases in the number of taxis and ride-sharing vehicles are contributing to slow traffic in Manhattan’s central business district. It recommended policies to prevent further increases in “the number of vacant vehicles occupied only by drivers waiting for their next trip request.”In San Francisco, a study released in June found that on a typical weekday, ride-hailing drivers make more than 170,000 vehicle trips, about 12 times the number of taxi trips, and that the trips are concentrated in the densest and most congested parts of the city and a survey released in October of more than 4,000 adults in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, D.C., also concluded that 49 to 61 percent of ride-hailing trips would have not been made at all — or instead by walking, biking or public transit — if the option didn’t exist.

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