We At Etrio Have Significantly Increased The Domestic Content In Our Vehicles And Completely Transitioned To A Domestic Powertrain For Our 3W Product: Kalyan C Korimerla, MD & Co-Promoter, Etrio Automobiles Pvt. Ltd.

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Kalyan C Korimerla, Managing Director & Co-Promoter, Etrio Automobiles Pvt. Ltd.

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Conversation Highlights:

-The ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government, in particular, is playing a major role in terms of boosting the EV manufacturing ecosystem in India.

-We at Etrio have significantly increased the domestic content in our vehicles and completely transitioned to a domestic powertrain for our 3W product.

-Our approach is to focus on innovation and deliver vehicles that truly address our customers’ issues and work closely with them in building reliable and intelligent products with superior economics while delivering a superior customer experience

How do you see the evolving EV space in India? Are we on the right track to achieving our net-zero goal?

India is one of the global leaders in fighting climate change and has ambitious plans to transition from ICE vehicles to EVs in the years to come. With the increasing numbers of 2W and 3W EVs in the nation’s logistics, transport, last-mile, and e-commerce delivery segment, India’s efforts will certainly go a long way in reducing emissions. We at Etrio believe that India’s EV transition will be spearheaded by commercial EVs.
In the upcoming years, the future of EVs looks brighter than ever before. The Indian Government has chalked an ambitious vision of minimum EV penetration of 30% in the passenger car segment, 70% in commercial vehicles, 40% in buses, and 80% for two and three-wheelers by 2030. Further, India’s Road Transport Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari has recently vowed to soon bring down the cost of electric vehicles in India at par with petrol-based counterparts. All such positive developments, we believe, would be playing a pivotal role in ushering in a large-scale EV boom in India in the years to come, and are a testimony to the fact that we are on the right track to achieving our net-zero goals for the mobility sector.

Are the current policies enough to encourage the EV push and how do you see the Make in India initiative?

The regulatory and policy ecosystem for e-mobility in India is evolving; however, there has been a lot of policy push for EVs across verticals, industries, and geographies. Various Indian states are coming up with and implementing their own state-specific EV policies, in addition to the Central Government’s ongoing efforts and policies. The ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government, in particular, is playing a major role in terms of boosting the EV manufacturing ecosystem in India.

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In recent years, EV manufacturing in India has caught up quite a bit, with close to four lakh 3-wheeler vehicles sold in 2021-22 while registering a 168% YoY growth. We expect a similar trend to continue in 2022-23. 3-wheeler cargo and 4-wheeler cargo will drive growth in the next few years. And companies like us have been allocating significant R&D budgets for new product launches. While most of the early OEMs built their vehicles by integrating various imported components, this trend has reversed quite significantly in recent months. We at Etrio have significantly increased the domestic content in our vehicles and completely transitioned to a domestic powertrain for our 3W product. The country today still needs to make significant investments to localize most of the key components so that the reliance on imports goes down drastically in the years to come and to ensure that India becomes “Aatmanirbhar” in the EV space.

How will you evaluate the market acceptance so far? What are the key retarding factors for the anticipated market growth?

The market acceptance of EVs is increasing at a rapid pace and is bound to increase furthermore in the times to come, given the use-cases for EVs in vehicle fleets are ever expanding as the technology drives innovative solutions. As a pure-play EV company, we would like to continue to stay on the leading edge of this transformation and develop products that enable greater EV adoption. Initial market adoption has been in the 2-wheelers and now it is the 3-wheelers. Other segments such as LCVs and MCVs will be next in terms of adoption and demand growth.

Since commercial EV vehicles offer superior operating economics, financing the cost of vehicle purchase at reasonable interest rates will drive the adoption of EVs even further. India still lacks adequate financing support for EVs from banks and financial institutions. In addition, other challenges such as the rising cost of batteries and commodities, shortage of semiconductor components, increased logistics costs, etc., will persist in the short term. Hence, the Government should support the Industry by allocating more resources to support subsidies so that the current momentum continues.

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As one of the leading 3W & ELCV manufacturers, which are your most targeted segments? What Will Be Your Mantra to Win the Indian EV Market?

Etrio is committed to “lead cargo fleet electrification” in India. Etrio’s products are designed to address the last-mile applications of our customers in e-commerce, logistics, FMCG, farm-to-fork, waste management, and other retail applications.

Our approach is to focus on innovation and deliver vehicles that truly address our customers’ issues and work closely with them in building reliable and intelligent products with superior economics while delivering a superior customer experience. As long as we stay focused on our customers’ superlative experience and keep improving our product offerings to help our customers make a smooth transition to EVs in applications that have traditionally been supported by ICE vehicles for decades, Etrio will win. In addition, we intend to help our customers create newer route profiles that have not been possible with ICE vehicles.

Within a short span of time, Etrio has emerged as the OEM of choice for the e-commerce and last-mile logistics players in the country, with our vehicles being deployed for fleet electrification with players such as Amazon, Flipkart (Walmart), IKEA, Gati, DHL, Delhivery, BigBasket, Lighting Logistics, LetsTransport, among other leading industry players. Also, Etrio’s vehicles have cumulatively accumulated approximately 5 million in-service km., thereby enabling us to constantly learn from important data points on the performance of various key parameters of the vehicles in real-world use-cases. The insights from such experiences have laid the foundation for the launch of our next-generation EVs with the aim to truly address our customers’ pain points.

If you have to pick, what are the 3 technological developments you feel would be game-changing for the industry?

At Etrio, we believe that we need to deliver customer experience not only by helping a traditional ICE vehicle driver to transition to an EV but also by ensuring that the fleet managers can replace ICE vehicles with EVs with limited disruption and improved safety. We will continue to innovate to help with this transition and rely on broader technological advances that are being made by our suppliers in the ecosystem.

In our view, the 3 game-changing technological developments that would drive faster EV adoption would be: 1) Lighter and High Energy Density Batteries, 2) Charging Infrastructure and Fast-Charging, and 3) Artificial Intelligence and IoT

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Battery Technology has seen some major advancements in the recent years; the next generation Smart High Energy Density Batteries are able to store much more energy while occupying much less space and weight, thus allowing the OEMs to make lighter vehicles with much longer range. This will help mitigate the range anxiety, which in turn will enable the reach of EVs in more of our customers’ route profiles.

Improvements in charging infrastructure and reduced charging times with fast charging will also play a key role in increasing EV adoption. This will enable long-distance routes for EVs and also help in greater EV adoption in several applications that are currently served only by ICE vehicles.

EVs have been leading the way in IoT-enabled vehicles. This enables our customers to gather a lot of data on the use cases and driving patterns of individuals as well as fleets. Artificial Intelligence (AI) provides the ability to constantly analyze the data and learn, leading to smarter asset usage and route planning along with a host of other functions such as charging schedule and planning for maximum uptime and higher efficiency.

In conclusion, as an EV OEM, we will continue to understand our customers’ needs and will deploy these technologies through our vehicles in order to help our customers both in terms of using EVs on more and more routes and in enabling a seamless transition from IC engines to EVs.

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