Electric Vehicles: Future Roadmap for India

Electric Cars Roadmap India

The International Conference on “Electric Vehicles: Future Roadmap for India” was jam packed with industry experts sharing their thoughts on India’s readiness and adoption of electro-mobility, and also on procedural troubles in realizing the ultimate vision of the auto industry going emission-free.

As the entire globe is moving towards electric mobility in a big way, with technological push by the industry and incentives provided by governments for their faster adoption, the Indian automotive industry is at the cross-roads now. Electric mobility is not just a technological shift, but warrants a comprehensive introspection of how mobility is being perceived by the industry and society, and kindles whole new imaginations and possibilities on its entire supply chain and business models altogether. It is expected to be disruptive like never before. To ride this transformative wave in a smooth and sustainable fashion, Indian auto industry and governments must embrace an innovative and pragmatic approach based on our own market scenario, per-capita income, purchasing power, and strategic social development goals.

In this regard, three key documents (or rather approaches) that outline India’s agenda and policy needs to adopt electric mobility constitute the baseline for any discussions and debates on the matter for now. First one is the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 (2013), which aims to usher in 7 million EVs on Indian roads by 2020. The second document is the NITI Aayog’s transformative mobility report (2017) that sets out shared-connected-electric mobility approach, by which 100% public transport vehicles and 40% of private vehicles are to become all-electric by 2030. Lastly, the SIAM’s white paper on electric vehicles (December 2017) that aims to achieve new vehicle sales in the country to be 100 percent pure electric vehicles (BEV and FCV) on the 100th anniversary of India’s independence, i.e. 2047.

Also Read: Sustainable Mobility: A Global Vision In Indian Context

In a bid to elicit more clarity on India’s blueprint for adoption of EVs, ASSOCHAM recently organized a one-day International Conference on “Electric Vehicles: Future Roadmap for India” on 19th December, 2017 at New Delhi. It offered all important stakeholders a common platform to deliberate around EVs in India, and debated on what is the right way or approach to EV adoption in the country. Speaking at the inaugural session, Mr. R S Kalsi, Chairman of ASSOCHAM National Council on Auto and Auto Ancillaries, observed that the EV transformation in the auto industry is a global certainty and is already happening, but “Indian industry cannot afford to watch the trend and assimilate as we did in previous technology revolutions, but be an active player to gain strategic leverage.

Chicken or Egg Conundrum

Speakers at the conference agreed that India being one of the largest producer ICE vehicles should take lead in EV vehicle and component manufacturing. Yet, to gain through the EV revolution, most of them consented that the industry and government should be ‘technology-agnostic’ as pure-electrics are not the only and cost-effective means to cut fuel imports and vehicular emissions in the country. Both the customers and the automakers should have enough leeway to make logical choices that is affordable, practical, and sustainable.

Reflecting a similar tone, Mr. Rahul Bharti, Senior Vice President, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, vouched for Hydrogen Fuel cell technology along with battery-electrics as a practical answer to zero-emission mobility debates. On local manufacturing of EVs, he argued for a ‘360-degree approach’ that is “consumer-centric and environmentally sustainable, by taking into account safety and recycling aspects of battery technologies, and also involving economies of scale by taking-up cell-level manufacturing to sustain the business”.

EVs in India

However, what is going to be the stakeholders opening move? Which should come first – EV manufacturing or the charging infrastructure? Will more and more EVs on road push for its charging ecosystem, or should the automakers wait for the EV infrastructure to mature enough to sustain their new products? “Creating an infrastructure that is future-proof is the key to this conundrum” said Dr. K.N. Sreevatsa, Vice President, ABB Limited. “It’s safe to follow global standards while making essential learnings and tweaking to local requirements, wherein some standardization and consolidation will help industry to brisk up EV production” he added.

“The catch-22 situation on EVs and infrastructure demands proper problem definition” observed Dr. K. Balasubramanian, Director, NFTDC. Technology is ‘knowledge integration’ he said, adding that affordable and efficient EV technologies can be locally developed and pooled together to overcome capital expenditure and initial ownership costs. Adding to the discussion, Mr. Debi Prasad Dash, Director of India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) stressed on high-levels of localization as vital for EV boom in the Indian market, more so in the battery technologies, wherein certain local alternatives to Li-ion that are affordable and capable yet to be tried-out by the industry.

Buses and Masses

“Electric mobility should become the technology of the masses to be sustainable” opined Ms. Akshima Ghate, Associate Director – Transport and Urban Governance, TERI. Asserting that buses are critical to every energy and emission debates, she added that any roadmap on EV adoption in India must look at the institutional capacities of the STUs that run public transport in majority. Ms. Ghate also brought into discussion the importance of urban freight in EV debates, as an integral aspect of e-mobility vision.

Mr. Nishant Arya, Executive Director of JBM Group, from a bus maker point-of-view, underscored the product viability gap of electric buses as key deterrent to market adoption. Yet, he was positive that both the industry and government is moving in the right direction towards promotion of e-buses. He stressed on the need for stable fiscal incentives for buyers and export incentives for bus makers to make India a manufacturing hub.

Electric buses

Nevertheless, speakers concurred that India’s EV roadmap has to be pragmatic and realistic. Commenting on the ‘pure-electrics-only’ model that is dominating the future mobility discourses, Mr. Ashok Taneja, MD and CEO of Shriram Pistons and Rings Limited, said that the industry and government has to take into account a multitude of factors including per-capita costs of electrics, their efficiency, and access to masses. “None of us are opposed to EV shift, but the transition has to be a well-thought out, organic and practical”, he asserted, while asking the industry and governments to rationally view alternative fuels and hybrids in the Indian context.

Also Read: Electric Buses: Local and Affordable Solutions using Lead-Acid Batteries?

In a similar view, Mr. Vikram Gulati, Vice President, Toyota Kirloskar Motors, observed that no ‘one-fits-all’ approach can help the Indian case, and highlighted the need for a ‘family of EV technologies’ to realize the zero-emission vision in the upcoming decades. Mr. Vishvajit Sahay, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, advocated a ‘calibrated approach’ for the auto industry to make the EV transition a successful endeavor.

On the whole, the international conference called for a ‘paradigmatic shift’ in the way industry and governments consider mobility solutions. At the same time, the experts agreed that Indian has to act cautiously with a rational and technology-agnostic approach, so as to sustainably serve the mobility needs of Indian society during the transition.


*An edited version of this article has been published in the January 2018 edition of MotorIndia Magazine.

BMW engages Terberg Electric Trucks for its Logistics Operations

The 40-ton trucks, made by Dutch manufacturer Terberg, cuts CO2 emissions by around 82 tons annually for the company.

BMW Group, along with its logistics partners ARS Altmann AG and SCHERM Group, has put into service three battery-electric trucks to transport finished cars and components from and to its home plant at Munich. The company employed the first electric truck in 2015, shunting between the SCHERM logistics center and the BMW plant eight times a day at a speed of 40 kmph. Satisfied with the truck´s efficiency and reliability, two more tractors with covered semi-trailers are pressed into work.

Also Read: BMW iPerformance: Electrifying All Model Ranges By 2020

The electric truck on focus is a 65-tonne (GCW) Terberg YT202-EV terminal tractor. It is powered by a liquid-cooled, 3-phase synchronous motor of 614 V sourced from Siemens, generating a maximum power of 138 kW (188 hp) and a peak torque of 720 Nm. A fully automatic Allison 3000 Series transmission with a torque converter is in place to multiply the motor torque during start-up and acceleration. The battery pack with a capacity rating of 112/169 kWh is made up of Lithium ion magnesium phosphate (LFMP) cells. It takes about 3-4 hours to charge, to offer a driving range up to 160 kms. The truck can reach a maximum speed of 65 kmph. 

Terberg YT202-EV Electric Truck_WagenClub(6)
The electric trucks saves about 82 tons of Co2 emissions annually.

Moreover, the transmission prevents power interruptions even with a smaller powertrain. Without this, a direct driveline with a larger and more powerful motors would have been necessary to haul the cargo. The Power Take-Off (PTO) feature of the Allison Transmission is used to drive the hydraulic pump, which saves an additional electric generator.

Also Read: E-FUSO Vision One: All-Electric Heavy-Duty Truck Concept

The e-trucks, as against similar diesel trucks, save about 82 tons of CO2 annually. In actual terms, since 2015, the first electric truck has completed over 3,000 trips and clocked over 17,000 km. That means more than 8,000 litres of diesel and 22 tonnes of carbon dioxide have been saved.

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Terberg YT202-EV Electric Truck – Image Gallery

Tesla Semi Truck Concept: 0-100 kmph in 5 Secs, 800 Km Range

Tesla Semi Truck Concept_WagenClub(1)

Tesla claims a 20 percent cut in running cost for every mile; production to begin from 2019.

Tesla, Inc.´s chairman and CEO Elon Musk is a man of big dreams. His vision for an all-electric ecosystem where automobiles, gadgets, and homes are run by clean energy is one such reverie. What is more, he enjoys a unique kind of clout (even cult) in the entire business world, where every industry heads, experts, and even governments pay keen attention whenever he put up a press meet! Together with the star status of Tesla in the automotive industry, he has revealed his yet another mammoth project to transform the trucking world – the battery-powered Tesla semi truck.

Why is he trying to convince (rather target) the trucking industry? He must have realised that making cars cleaner have a long way to go in his vision to cut global emissions, and trucks are perhaps the right way to make the endeavour effective. Heavy vehicles may account for a small share of vehicles on road, but may own up a huge burden of transportation-related green-house gas emissions, especially the NOx emissions that directly influence people´s health. Moreover, electrification of commercial vehicles is already acknowledged as the next big thing in the industry, and there is a huge potential for developing and commercializing reliable products and technology for the same. Musk must have done the math!

Also Read: E-FUSO Vision One: All-Electric Heavy-Duty Truck Concept

So what´s up the Tesla electric truck concept? Well, everything is frighteningly extraordinary! Although it is the regular battery-electric concept, the devil is in the detail. Take for instance the carbon fiber-made cab with all the jaunty character lines and stance. Tesla has made a great deal out of it, right from the drawing board to the way electronics are asked to play a prime role. The aerodynamic design promises greater drag efficiency than many of our cars, quite an essential trait for electric trucks. There is hardly any hood, the nose of the truck is way more vertical than we would have ever imagined. The “armor glass” windshield is explosion proof – yes, you read it right! On the whole, the exterior styling of the Tesla truck is not that of the truck, but of a high-speed bullet train!

Tesla Semi Truck Concept_WagenClub(5)
The cockpit view of the Tesla Semi Truck is nothing short to that of an airplane!

On the inside, the cab looks like an airplane´s cockpit with no cluttered controls and indicators. All one can find is a centre-positioned driving seat and steering wheel (McLaren F1´s way!), and two large 15-inch touchscreens on its either sides. The cab is almost 6 foot, 6 inches high, therefore offers full-standing room inside. While the suicide doors will offer easier entry into the cab. It does seem like truck drivers may feel like liberated while living inside the cab!

Also Read: Nikola One Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck Generates 1,000 hp

The next biggie is the Enhanced AutoPilot suite, which is a semi-autonomous feature that can drive the truck by itself on the highways, be lane disciplined, and automatically brake in case of an emergency. A mix of radars and cameras are employed to assist this semi-autonomous driving technology. There are sensors on board the electric truck to sense any jackknifing and adjust power to the individual wheels to ensure stability.

Tesla Semi Truck Concept_WagenClub(8)
Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the premiere of Tesla Semi Truck Concept.

The battery pack is located beneath the cab, stretching from the front axle to the second pair of rear wheels. Tesla says it has ensured its reliability and safety by way of reinforcing, to prevent any explosion or fire. They power the two electric motors on each rear axles, borrowed from Tesla Model S. We peg that the truck must deliver around 1,032 hp of power, way higher than its diesel rivals. The company claims that the truck can haul about 36 tonnes, with a driving range of around 804 kms (500 miles). How great the acceleration can be, as against a similar diesel truck? Elon Musk revealed that the electric big rig can reach 0-100 kmph (60 mph) in just 5 seconds, we do hope that he was not kidding.

Also Read: Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck

The Tesla´s electric truck can use the company´s Supercharger network to get a range of as 640 kms (400 miles) with just 30 minutes of charging. The firm is tight-lipped on any other technical details and specs for now. What is quite amazing is the way Tesla is rethinking and redefining a heavy truck´s design and functionalities, by way of its electric powertrain and electronics. It blows away the mundane mind of trucking, puts in some alternative thoughts to ruminate. It is a new beginning, for sure!

Next, would you like to read more on Tesla, or Electric Trucks?


Tesla Semi Truck Concept – Image Gallery

Photos Credit: Tesla

E-FUSO Vision One: All-Electric Heavy-Duty Truck Concept

E-FUSO Vision One Daimler

E-FUSO born as an exclusive product brand dedicated to electric mobility of trucks and buses.

Daimler Trucks owned Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) has unveiled its first heavy-duty battery-electric truck concept “Vision One” under its electric-mobility sub-brand “E-FUSO”. This project underlines the feasibility of a pure-electric truck for heavy-duty haulage, after the successful launch of Fuso e-Canter light truck.

Also Read: Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck World Premiere

With a GVW of about 23 tons, the E-FUSO Vision One can carry a payload of approx. 11 tons. This is just two tons short of what its diesel counterpart can haul. The company says that the electric truck can be equipped with battery pack up to 300 kilowatt hours, thereby extending the driving range up to 350 kms on a single charge. This makes the Vision One well-qualified for regional medium-duty haulage and distribution. The batteries are supplied by Deutsche Accumotive, a subsidiary of Daimler Group.

The visual appeal of the Vision One truck is quite futuristic and vibrant, thanks to sleek LED-powered headlamps and sweeping day-time running strips. Absence of any air dam in the bumpers or conventional side mirrors or windshield wipers makes the truck a figment of futurism. MFTBC believes that a possible market entry for the production version of this electric truck is feasible in the next four years, especially in developed markets like Japan, Europe and United States.

Daimler Trucks präsentiert E-FUSO und vollelektrischen schweren Lkw Vision One
Mitsubishi Fuso, a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks, is marching ahead in electric trucking by making battery-electric trucks commercially feasible.

In fact, Mitsubishi Fuso has wowed the industry by announcing its plan to electrify its entire range of trucks and buses in years to come. With rapidly evolving battery technology, electric trucks and buses will have a positive environmental and economic impact on society, adds the company. The company is leveraging the massive investment and expertise on electro-mobility by its parent company.

Also Read: Iveco Z Truck (Zero-Impact Concept)

Just last month, Fuso launched its the first series-produced battery-electric light truck eCanter, proving that the electric trucks are commercially feasible. The eCanter boasts a GVW of 7.5 tons, with a driving range of 100-120 km on a single charge. The company claims that the e-truck brings proven commercial benefits of savings up to 1,000 Euros in operating costs per 10,000 kilometers.

Next, would you like to read more on Fuso, or Electric Vehicles?