It’s raining deals in the electric mobility space with auto manufacturers, service platforms and investors in electric vehicles rushing to sign strategic partnerships and collectively accelerate expansion of public charging network and adoption of EVs in India.
Companies are scouting for and signing up to work together on projects that range from providing lease financing solutions to retail investors to setting up of EV charging infrastructure and strengthening the logistics segment.
Manufacturer of Morris Garages cars, MG Motor India has joined hands with Castrol India and Jio-bp to explore the setting up of four-wheeler EV charging infrastructure and accelerating EV adoption in India. This will be supported by Jio-bp which has two of India’s largest EV charging hubs.
With the Jio-bp pulse mobile app, customers can easily find charging stations nearby and seamlessly charge their EVs. As a partner, Castrol will develop and expand its existing multi-brand auto service network and express oil change centres to start serving four-wheeler electric cars.
Other auto majors Hyundai, Kia, Hero Electric, TVS Motors are also lining up to encourage EV adoption and expand their green footprint in India as the rising interest in providing charging infrastructure finds strong support in the Government’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles in India (FAME India) scheme and its demand incentives.
Creation of charging infrastructure is being supported under FAME India scheme to address anxiety among users of EVs and 520 charging stations have been sanctioned under the phase-I of the scheme of which 452 EV charging stations have been installed.
“The aggressive push from the Indian government towards a sustainable future of the country supports our move to electric vehicles, an industry which is still at the nascent stage in the country,” says Tae-Jin Park, Managing Director and CEO, Kia India which has just forayed into the EV space in India with the launch of Kia EV6.
Looking to become a key contributor in expansion of quality charging infrastructure, Hyundai Motor India and Tata Power will build DC 60 kW charging stations for providing EV charging infrastructure, as per an agreement. The vehicle charging time of DC 60 kW charger is much lesser than AC 7.2 kW charger and the partnership will offer end-to-end EV charging infrastructure at HMIL dealerships along with supply, installation and commissioning of home charging for EV customers.
The increasing demand for electric three-wheelers for last-mile delivery, ambitious electrification targets by large e-commerce companies and the space left vacant by the absence of affordable financing options is driving a robust growth of leasing for e-3Wheelers.
According to a Niti Aayog study, cumulative investment in India’s EV transition could be as large as USD 262.34 billion between 2020 and 2030. Although public and private sector initiatives are accelerating capital deployment to meet this potential, retail lending to support the financing of EVs has been slow to pick up. All this is driving collaboration, as that between Omega Seiki Mobility and Grip, an alternative investment platform, for providing lease financing solutions to retail investors.
Under the deal, Grip will finance 1,000 units of e3Wheelers like Rage+ Rapid of Omega Seiki Mobility and expand leasing to a minimum of 5,000 EVs by the end of 2023.
With its brand “UnoXpress”, Omega Seiki Mobility has large-scale manufacturing facilities in Delhi NCR and an existing order book of over 40,000 commercial EVs which will have the advantage of being aided by Grip Invest which has enabled more than 20 Indian EV players to unlock the next growth phase. Besides, several fintech companies like Rev Fin, Oto Capital and Three Wheels United are playing a big role in financing EVs.
Electric 2Wheeler leader Hero Electric is collaborating with Zypp Electric, a tech-enabled EV-as-a-service platform, to support the growth of the logistic and delivery segment. With a fleet size of 5000 electric scooters, Zypp currently delivers groceries, medicines, food, and e-commerce packages from point A to point B through their fully automated IoT and AI-enabled scooters in Delhi NCR.
Under the partnership, Hero Electric will be deploying 1.5 lakh electric scooters for Zypp electric fleet in the next three years and provide service support through its vast network of 750+ touchpoints.
Bengaluru based Ather Grid which operates as a large two-wheeler fast-charging network, will leverage a partnership with Magenta ChargeGrid, a EV charging company which is looking to set up a network of around 11,000 chargers in 35-40 cities in India by the end of FY23. The public and owners of EVs can charge up to 80 per cent at 1.5 km/min at Ather’s fast charging grid at charging facilities across Tier I, Tier II & Tier III cities and highways in India.
As Maxson Lewis, Founder and Managing Director, Magenta points out, the partnership approach will help Ather and other OEM players to rapidly scale their network and to optimise the investment required.
The rising collaborations in e-mobility are a win-win for Indians wanting access to a network of smart and safe charging stations across the country and a seamless EV adoption. With a strong queue of future offerings like the Ioniq 5 from Hyundai, Volvo XC40 Recharge SUV, Mahindra eKUV100 and the Mercedes-Benz EQS electric luxury sedan among others, the growth and expansion of reliable charging infrastructure is becoming critical to facilitate the adoption of EVs in India.
Nivedita Mukherjee is a senior journalist covering economy, business, and trade.
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