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“We have always tried to offer EVs in the market with an intent of value for money product without compromising on the quality”

In Conversation With Mr. Gautam Pal, National Corporate & Fleet Sales, Mahindra Electric

What has been your growth story during FY18 and what is the forecast for FY19?

FY 19 has been quite satisfactory in terms of the volume and we have had many key deployments in electric mobility across India. Just to give you an example, we have deployed EVs in Vaishnodevi this year which is considered one of the very challenging routes and Mahindra EVs have been performing seamlessly for the past one year now. This and the various other fleet deployments brings our growth of 50% in volumes as compared to FY18 in Fleet and Institutional sales.

What is your company’s strategy for E-Mobility?

We have always tried to offer EVs in the market with an intent of value for money product without compromising on the quality. Our products matches the best of the specifications in the given price range to qualify for the FAME 2 subsidy. Also with the quality product we focus on giving our customers an unmatched service support from the extensive network of Mahindra which only gives peace of mind with a new technology. Along With these we offer other intrinsic values like best of financing and Leasing options, AMC options, extended warranty, driver training programmes and support programmes for Drivers like the Uday which gives benefits like life and accidental cover to driver partners, scholarships for their children etc.

Recently Mahindra Electric and Blu Smart has joined Hands, How has the association been?

The association between Mahindra and Blusmart has been one of the remarkable ones for both. Firstly we were able to deploy 70 Mahindra vehicles at one go, secondly we also engaged for the technical part in developing their commuter and driver app. This was a one of experiences wherein we not only deployed electric cars but were also instrumental in deploying cutting edge technology to power these cars and the business thereof. A great learning experience for both and we look forward to this kind of an intellect building partnership for the next 500 vehicles that Blusmart has pledged to procure from us.

GOI has set a new target of 7M sales by 2020, what do you think the government should do on top priority to achieve this target?

I think out of all Cs – Common, connected, convenient, congestion free, charged, clean and cutting edge, the GoI should focus more on Convenient and Charging as this will give the much needed impetus to the Evs in the next 2-3 years timeframe and will give the confidence to consumers on the easy adaptability of these vehicles.

What according to you are the current bottlenecks which may impede growth for this sector?

The EV sector has huge potential in India currently in the fleet and captive usage segment. The major impediments in its growth is the limited availability of quality products, right incentives, little clarity of state incentives in many states and development of public charging infrastructure. Elaborating the first point on quality products there are many manufacturers in the 3 wheeler space who don’t have certified vehicles. Also the availability of products is also very limited with only Mahindra offering their EVs to retail customers. Speaking on the incentive part, there is a delay in getting the subsidies from concerned state departments. Once the reimbursement of these subsidies are streamlined and is made more simpler, consumers will have a positive feedback on the adoption. Subsidies have to be given in the true spirit of the EV adoption. Also many states are yet to release their respective EV policy, road tax isn’t exempted across India and only a handful of states gives this benefit to EV users. More incentivising can be done with free toll-ways, free and dedicated public parking for EVs, also dedicated routes in certain pockets of a city can help in making EVs chalk out its story in a larger canvas.

Lastly infrastructure creation comes which many will term as a primary reason for slow adoption. Govt of India has a very clear policy in this respect as well. Almost all OMCs and Energy management cos are on board for setting up of charging stations in their fuel stations. We are also working with many of these energy players in identifying hotspots of EV operation currently and future prospects. This helps them in identifying places to set up fast chargers where there is/ will be demand. Although it will take some time but change is bound to happen.

How do you foresee the synergy between solar industry and the EV sector.

India has become one of the top renewable energy producers globally with ambitious capacity expansion plans. The country has an installed renewable energy capacity of about 80GW and is running the world’s largest renewable energy programme with plans to achieve 175GW by 2022 and 500GW by 2030, as part of its climate commitments. Also as the world’s third largest oil consumer, India is particularly vulnerable as it imports more than 80% of its oil requirements and around 18% of its natural oil. With these figures and the onset of electric mobility we can can very well see that the country has very clear plans to not only use cleaner means of powering electric vehicles but also secure Its energy needs for future. With the creation of clean energy through solar and other renewable energy sources, efforts are on to store this with the help of large lithium ion batteries so as to suffice the energy needs in cities and semi urban areas in peak load. So I foresee that solar industry and electric vehicle industry will grow hand in hand with the aid of clear directives from the Govt. for the next 10-15 years time frame.

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