Magenta aims to setup over 450 charging by next year, What is your strategy on the same?
We are ahead of plans and are targeting 500 charging points this year. I wasn’t to clarify that we are looking at charging points and not stations since there is lack of clarity yet on the definition and regulations on charging stations. For this we have put various parts of the ecosystem in place. We now have a formal distribution channel. We have deployed a participation model which allows for private individuals, entities and organisations to enrol in the charging infrastructure. And the best part is now we have established formal partnerships and investments with the likes of Siemens, HPCL and others. This allows us to solve the ecosystem issue which is what the charging infrastructure needs in India.
In which areas have you planned to install EV charging stations?
We are already having charging infra in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chandigarh. We also have single charging points in places like Nashik, Baruch and Indore. Basis our learning and experiences, we are taking a geocentric view and we will be focusing on specific cities. Of course, there will be ‘one off’ charging points in other cities as well. We are working with private entities like OEMs, Malls etc to participate in this initiative of supporting charging infrastructure.
Where do you see the development of electric cars in the coming years?
The electric cars like mobile phones will be technology driven. We see great strides happening and necessary in 1. Battery technology and pricing 2. Vehicle Operating systems 3. Shared and optimized mobility solutions
Small steps and improvements are being made in battery technology and we believe there will be a great leap which will come through in this space which can change the way we think of energy storage and deployment for EVS
Last but not the least, the Gen next is moving from vehicle ownership to shared options. This small but significant change in the buying behavior will also define how the EVs are being conceptualized and designed.
The vehicles of tomorrow will be far different from what we visualize it today. Electric Vehicles is also driving efficiency (small, smart, efficient) which are made to purpose rather than big bulky vehicles which are space occupants and not really people movers.
What are your views on the recent GOI target upto 7 M sales of hybrid and electric vehicles by 2020?
I think the targets are required so that all efforts are guided towards that. However, we believe it will be a transition rather than a swift change. It is easy to start focusing on targets and missing the work that is required on the ground to enable that. I would rather focus on the enablers than the numbers. Having said that, we believe these numbers are easily possible once the 6% inflection point is hit on EV adoption. The current trend and discussions in the EV space will move it swiftly.
Also I believe the targets are changing given the pulls and pushes in the ecosystem. Hence it is good to keep those numbers and keep working towards it. We believe 2022 will be the year of transition towards EV in India, when the required scale in demand and supply will be reached. Till then it will be pioneers like us who will keep nudging towards that goal.
What are the challenges confronting the Indian EV Charging Infra Sector?
As I am famously quoted ‘Heat, Humidity, Human and Harmonics’ These are the challenges facing the Indian EV charging infra. We cannot copy paste the international solutions and expect them to succeed in India since these systems are not made to withstand Indian climatic conditions and usage patterns. We need to design and develop Indian solutions for Indian challenges, which is what Magenta Power is attempting to do.
Another challenge is the regulatory and government intervention. There were attempts by certain sections of the government to regulate the industry even before it started. This created and continues to create confusion and keeps players from taking a long term view. EV charging is an infrastructure play which requires business cases built on long term models and requires clarity of thought and purpose from the government side. Random points of view from government quarters destabilised those plans and puts the entire ecosystem development at risk.
Another key part of the puzzle is the options of Electric vehicles currently on Indian roads. Other than a limited few (less than a handful) are real innovations, most are Chinese imports assembled in India. This has the potential to undo the user confidence which happened around 8 years ago when EVs were first launched in India. We need to support local innovations and vehicle designs lest we become a dumping ground for cheap imported EVs. We are working with like minded partners across the ecosystem in building this space.