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EMobility+ got an exciting opportunity to interview Jeetender Sharma – Founder & MD, Okinawa Autotech and learned about the electric 2W company’s journey so far, their business model, and his views on the government’s new battery swapping policy initiative. He also spoke about 3 key technology developments which are the major drivers for the EV market in the country.
How is the EV Sector Doing Right Now In India?
India’s automobile sector is the world’s fifth-largest, with plans to become the third-largest by 2030. The Indian Electric Vehicle Market was valued at USD 1434.04 billion in 2021 and is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 47.09 percent to USD 15397.19 billion by 2027. (2022 – 2027). Regardless of the country’s lofty goals, India’s electric vehicle industry is still in its infancy. However, when viewed from a different perspective, India is the world’s greatest unexplored market, particularly in the two-wheeler segment. Under the automatic approach, 100 percent foreign direct investment is permitted in this sector. The growing number of green number plates on Indian roadways is the clearest indication of new vehicle customers’ growing preference for electric vehicles (EVs). Though the number of vehicles sold across the country still constitutes a tiny part of the entire automobile market, it is increasing steadily.
Being One of the prominent OEMs in the 2W segment, how has been the journey so far for you? How do you see the EV 2W segment’s growth in the next 5 years?
Our journey has been a rollercoaster ride since the past five years of inception. We started our business when EV was close to a myth in the Indian market and here we are today, one of India’s most preferred EV two-wheeler brands. In the upcoming years, we foresee huge growth in the segment. We believe EV financing especially will make its way through for Electric-2- Wheeler,s which will be a key enabler for increasing the adoption of Electric Vehicles around the globe. Attractive economics and government pushes have already significantly increased demand for Electric- 2- Wheelers and the industry is expected to grow significantly, as we foresee.
In Your opinion which is the most accessible/ targeted market for the growth of 2w EVs in India? Can you please brief us about your business model?
In India, the most accessible target market for EV two-wheelers is Generation-Z and Millennials. The youth in the country is the most aware generation about the environment which actively participates in taking measures against global warming, greenhouse effect, pollution, fossil fuels, and so on. Okinawa is very well associated with empowering the youth as well as the elderly too in the family. Our agenda is to provide an experience irrespective of age and gender. We design our products accomodating the needs of every individual, whether you need speed, comfort, or style.
You are one of the OEMs who is into 2 wheelers with detachable batteries. What is your opinion on the government’s new battery swapping policy initiative?
To begin with, it is a very cost-effective solution, as battery swapping takes only a few minutes against the hours that a regular battery charging process takes. It is conceivable to maintain EVs operating long distances and improve their price-performance ratio, making them profitable for transportation firms, by constructing battery swapping stations around the country. In India, for example, the e-rickshaw industry was one of the first to use battery-changing procedures. It has been shown that e-rickshaws that choose for battery switching can increase their operational range dramatically and practically double their daily revenue output. Apart from that, battery management and replacement account for a significant chunk of EV maintenance costs. The battery changing mechanism, on the other hand, The swapping service provider covers the expense of purchasing or managing the batteries, and car owners simply have to pay for each swap. When people buy EVs without a battery, the vehicle’s initial cost is lower, and annual maintenance is less expensive. This allows EV owners to break even in a significantly shorter period of time, and commercial profitability is nearly equal to that of IC engines but without hazardous emissions.
Which are the 3 key technology developments you see as the key drivers for the EV market in the country?
Environmental reasons, government legislation, and the need to change how we power personal mobility are driving the EV industry to move away from combustion technology at a rate never seen before. Engineers are attempting to make the shift from combustion to electric as painless as possible, and these three technologies, in particular, could help.
Solid-state batteries, as the name implies, use solid electrolytes, which are demonstrably safer and support higher energy density, allowing for greater capacity and range. The technology isn’t quite there yet. Lithium metal anodes, which are commonly used in solid-state batteries, are prone to causing dendrite formation, which can have unfavorable side effects that diminish the battery’s lifespan and safety.
Motors are highly efficient, simple (in comparison to a combustion engine’s many moving parts), and capable of producing massive levels of power and torque, allowing them to be scaled simply depending on the application.
The steering capability is enabled through a rotating interface that sits above the main arm of the corner module. The rotating interface’s top is attached to the vehicle, while the bottom is attached to the module arm. The electric steering-by-wire unit is mounted above the interface, with the axis pointing down to the wheel’s bottom.
Control cables for the motor, hydraulics and pneumatic ride height controls are routed down the module arm from the bottom rotating interface and attached to a second static interface within the hub and into the wheel motor unit. The entire component set rotates with the arm module as it revolves through 360°. As a result, there are no twisted or stressed connections or wires. So in urban environments, for delivery vehicles or autonomous taxi pods, in-wheel electric motors could offer flexibility that centrally placed motors may not be able to.
P4 electric drives
OEMs must reduce costs if they are to begin the transition of consumers from gasoline-powered automobiles to electric vehicles. It’s possible that using a P4 electric drive architecture will be crucial. P4 systems combine the inverter and electric motor into a small transmission module that applies torque to the axle and sends it straight to the wheels while also recovering energy during braking.
The integrated technique saves money and simplifies and reduces the expense of delivering either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. GKN, a Tier One supplier, anticipates that yearly production of P4 electric drive systems would reach roughly 13 million units by 2026, with P4 systems accounting for the majority of e-mobility growth in Europe and China over the next decade. Single-speed setups are projected to account for 94% of total volumes.