India is doing much better than the rest of the world. That, auto players say, is more or less the mood at this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos. “Any company in india is talking about growth right now, that’s not the mood around the world at the moment. Everyone else is looking at what they can cut back whereas we’re talking about finding more talent, more people, who’s going to fund our growth, etc.,” Rajesh Jejurikar, Executive Director, Auto and Farm Sectors, Mahindra Group told Business Today. “There’s a huge amount of optimism right now in the way the industry is looking at the future.”
Jaydev Galla, Co-Founder and Chairman, Amara Raja Group, said that the PLI scheme has been helpful in accelerating India’s EV adoption. “It’s like a chicken and egg situation. You have the auto OEMs, battery manufacturers and charging infrastructure. No one can survive without the other two and who invest first? I always felt that the battery manufacturers would be the last to invest because it’s the highest capex and the biggest risk in terms of the business. But the PLI scheme has set that to rest,” he said. “The time is right now.”
Indian companies, Bharat Forge said, are probably best positioned to become green and sustainable for the one simple reason that renewable energy costs in India are amongst the lowest in the world. “We have invested taken our renewable energy consume close to 40 per cent. By 2030, we’ll be 100 per cent in the component side. We have already completed one of our steel plants to be 100 per cent green. It’s doable, it’s effective and it’s a great opportunity for India Inc,” Amit Kalyani, Deputy Managing Director, Bharat Forge said.
Tyre industry is going to be another major stakeholder in auto industry’s transition to EVs. And Apollo Tyres, which operates in India with a major focus on Europe, said that EV tyres are going to play a very important part. “Energy prices have gone up in Europe at least 10 times of what they were. They have come down now drastically to at least 4 times. This pushes us more to go green,” Neeraj Kanwar, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Apollo Tyres said. Right now EV tyres are more expensive than conventional tyres. “The first differnce is that the noise levels of an EV tyre have to be very low. Rolling resistance plays a very important part and you need much more torque in a EV tyre. There’s a huge demand in Europe and now with likes of Mahindra that demand is starting in India,” he added.
Jejurikar, who recently launched the all-electric XUV400, too, is bullish about India’s EV transition. “That’s our first entry into the electric SUV segment. We’re pretty bullish about it. Most exciting for us is the acceleration which is 0-100 in 8 seconds. In the next 3-5 years in the SUV segment we will start seeing quite a significant shift towards electric. By 2027, our estimate is between 20-30 per cent of our SUV volumes will be electric for our portfolio,” he said.
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