Competition is Heating Up in India’s EV Sector


India’s electric vehicle (EV) sector is becoming competitive. The date for the delivery of electric cars to Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) is looming close and elsewhere car companies are joining hands with service providers to find ways to expand their market share.

Initially, Tata Motors won a bid to supply 10,000 EVs to EESL in two phases – the first 500 e-cars were to be delivered in November 2017, and the remaining 9,500 EVs were to be delivered in the second phase of the project.

Then, Mahindra Group subsidiary Mahindra & Mahindra agreed to drop its prices compared to the rates quoted by Tata Motors. Mahindra & Mahindra was then awarded a contract to supply 150 EVs of the 500 EVs scheduled for the project’s first phase.

Mahindra & Mahindra won the contract at a cost. According to PTI, Mahindra & Mahindra Managing Director Pawan Goenka said, “We were offered 50 percent of the tender (500 units) in the first phase but we opted for 30 percent as we would be losing money as our product is about ₹3 lakh (more) expensive than the other bidder (Tata Motors).”

An EESL official said this is just the tip of the iceberg. “This was the first such tender, and Mahindra & Mahindra has delivered the first set of 20 electric Verito sedans to EESL. The remaining cars by Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors need to be delivered by November 30, 2017, per the contract,” the official said.

When asked if another similar tender was on the horizon, the EESL official said, “Yes, there will be many more such tenders. The government itself will procure close to 500,000 EVs to change its entire fleet and it must if the aim is mass acceptance. Right now, the second phase of the first tender, 9,500 EVs, is the focus, but maybe by next financial year we will see another mega tender.

Indian transportation network company Ola launched a pilot project for which ACME provided EcoCharge Battery Swapping & Charging Stations. Recently, Mahindra & Mahindra also partnered with car rental firm Zoomcar, under which 20, e2oPlus vehicles along with two fast charging units will be deployed at Zoomcar’s platform in Mysuru.

Along with the central government, state governments have also started to play their parts, and this is boosting the morale of EV manufactures because they are assured of support.

According to PTI, Mysuru is being developed with a holistic EV ecosystem that aligns with the Karnataka government’s EV policy which envisages going beyond metros. Recently, Fortum India signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Nagpur Municipal Corporation to set up EV charging infrastructure in the city of Nagpur.

“We are happy to be partnering with Zoomcar to promote EV adoption in India. This initiative is aligned with Mysuru’s vision of being a clean and green city,” said Mahindra Electric chief executive officer Mahesh Babu.

Babu added that the auto major was looking forward to the further development of Karnataka’s EV infrastructure under its EV policy, the first of its kind issued by any state, that aims to further promote shared electric mobility in the region.

Apart from these, big players like Nissan and Maruti Suzuki are also planning to enter India’s EV market. In addition, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is also getting involved in developing charging infrastructure and so are private players like ABB and ACME.

One word that comes up repeatedly in India’s development story is innovation. The same thing is happening in the EV industry. EV is the next big Cleantech opportunity in India and market players are grabbing it with both hands.

Government agencies are both procuring and developing charging infrastructure, as well as providing support and market visibility to private players. In fact, the government recently announced that it plans to provide up to ₹1.05 billion (~$16.2 million) in grant funding to Smart Cities for the purchase of electric vehicles to be used for mass transportation as part of a pilot project under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME) program.

Image credit: Julian Herzog [GFDL or CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons