By D Yadav
Date: Feb 20 , 2018

The severe level of pollution in Indian cities is one of the key factors behind the push for Electric Vehicles and BS VI in the Indian automotive sector. Read below for Mr. Kaushik Madhavan’s (Director Automotive & Transportation MENASA – ‎Frost & Sullivan) views on the push for EV and BS VI in the Indian Commercial Vehicle Sector.

Q: There is a dire need to curb pollution on Indian roads. Solutions such as Electric Vehicles, on the other hand, are surrounded by development and infrastructure issues. Where do you feel is the balance in the near term?

Kaushik: Achieving a balance between existing technologies and the focus on new technologies needs to be looked at holistically. While on the one hand, the vision of 100% electric mobility by 2030 is in the right direction, on the other hand, the need to develop a roadmap and also address the existing fleet of vehicles is becoming increasingly important.

Recent policies such as the one banning modern Diesel vehicles in the NCR region have been largely short-sighted along with being counter-productive. The real balance is going to be achieved only when there are incentives provided to trade-in older generation vehicles, for modern fuel-efficient and low-emission vehicles. Incentives could be monetary or otherwise.

Additionally, the push from government agencies and investments from private companies to develop public and private electric vehicle charging infrastructure is going to build confidence among end consumers which is in turn likely to spur the demand for EVs.

Q: With the push for electric vehicles growing, do you see internal combustion engine ceasing to exist in the future?

Kaushik: “Ceasing to exist” is a very strong phrase to use. Eventually, in the very long term, yes, but we don’t see this happening in the next 15-20 years. The next 10-15 years will definitely see a significant growth in the electrification of mobility. However, the existing fleet of vehicles will still play an important role in the automotive aftermarket. Upkeep, service and maintenance of existing fossil-fuelled vehicles will drive the Aftermarket business for the next 10-15 years even if we see high levels of electrification in the new vehicle segment.

Q: Are electric vehicles the only answer to sustainable transport? Which other technologies, do you feel can have an impact?

Kaushik: Fuel Cell technology has long been a competitor to electric mobility for many years now, although successful commercialization has not been easy. Hybridisation, especially for long haul heavy commercial applications has offered advantages even though very few OEMs globally have favoured it. With autonomous mobility emerging in parallel to electrification, the key to growth will be the success of competing business models including battery-swapping along with the evolution of battery chemistry and pricing.

Q: What challenges and opportunities do you foresee with BS VI round the corner?

Kaushik: The key to a successful implementation of the BSVI emission standard is making BSVI fuel available pan India by the end of 2019. OEMs in India need to be able to test their new generation vehicles in real driving conditions to be able to introduce them in the market by 2020.

Additionally, the challenge is going to be compliance. In order to ensure all new vehicles beyond 2020 are BSVI compliant, robust compliance check points need to be implemented. In this direction, OEMs are working on telematics and advanced control solutions to enable fleet operators and drivers to monitor vital powertrain parameters of their vehicles periodically. The need of the hour is a change in mindset which incorporates the driver, fleet operator and the customer to ensure periodic monitoring and maintenance to achieve BSVI compliance.

Q: Lastly, it would be great if you could let us know what excites you to be a part of the upcoming Commercial Vehicle Forum 2018 (taking place on 26 Apr 2018 at The Westin – Pune)?

Kaushik: CVF is a great platform for all stakeholders in the Indian Commercial Vehicle industry to come together and debate on relevant issues. Going forward this platform is going to become more important as traditional non-CV players such as telematics solution providers, insurance companies and software companies become an integral part of CV mobility. Exciting times ahead as we see an increasing convergence across industries!