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    Bengaluru to get charging point for e-vehicles on Feb 15, 11 more to come up The charging station will come up at the Bescom headquarters near KR Circle in Bengaluru. TNM Staff Going ahead with its policy to incentivise making and using electric vehicles, the Karnataka government will soon introduce 11 public charging points for e-vehicles in Bengaluru. Karnataka Energy Minister DK Shivakumar claimed that the first such charging point in the country will be ready for public use at KR Circle at the Bescom’s corporate office from February 15. “For the first time in the country, we are coming out with the EV charging stations, which will be inaugurated on February 15. For now, there will be one such station at the Bescom headquarters near KR Circle and later 11 more such stations will be added in six months. The locations for these stations are being identified. Each vehicle can be charged in about 25 to 30 minutes, ” the minister said. This will be one of the 11 fast-track charging points planned to be installed in the city in the first phase. However, there is still no clarity on how much these charging points will cost users. “We have sent a proposal to the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) to fix a tariff for the charging station so that members of the public can also use these facilities, ” said P Rajendra Cholan, Managing Director, BESCOM. Presently, Bengaluru has just over 6, 000 electric vehicles among a total of 72 lakh vehicles. In order to increase the number, Bescom is set to replace close to a 100 of its own vehicles with EVs gradually to lead the transition. Meanwhile, Bescom has also stated that it has surplus power and there is no reason to worry about power cuts for now. “We have surplus power now. The State is already purchasing short-term power of 900 MW per day. Around 600 MW is coming from the Pavagada Solar Park and another 800 MW is expected in another 15 days, ” Cholan said. With this, the Bescom estimates it will have a minimum surplus of more than 2000 MW per day. He said the power cuts which are occurring in some parts of Bengaluru are completely for technical reasons and will soon be fixed. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=764894533706736& id=464835727045953
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    Electric Vehicles: ecosystem opportunities and challenges for manufacturers, policymakers and startups A growing number of manufacturers, consumers, government agencies, investors and urban developers believe that the electric vehicles (EVs) can have better outcomes for the industry and environment. Cleaner, safer and simpler electric vehicles now span categories ranging from two-wheelers and rickshaws to cars and mining vehicles, as well as fleets of buses and vans. The ‘glue’ connecting the mix includes startups in IoT (Internet of Things) and solar energy as well as mobile operators and blockchain players. It will not be individual corporate players who win the game, but whole ecosystems of partners and competitors coming together to define standards and roll out electric charging infrastructure. To be fair, EVs should not be seen as a magic wand or silver bullet solution for existing problems of global warming or pollution; they have their own sets of inherent problems too, as this article will explore. Large manufacturers Automobile giant Volkswagen has announced an investment of $24 billion to set up an all-electric line-up of cars, including infrastructure, by 2030. “We have to listen to the voice of reason, ” according to Mathias Mueller, Chairman of the Volkswagen Group. “This is not the future anymore, it is reality, ” he adds. This is a significant announcement coming from the group, which comprises Porsche, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Audi, Seat, and Skoda. Together, the group sells 10 million vehicles per year and is the largest car manufacturer in the world. In terms of market share, the company aims to sell over one in four electric vehicles by 2025, and an all-electric fleet by 2030. China is the world's largest market for electric vehicles, and manufacturers such as Toyota Motors have announced plans to produce electric vehicles in China; Nissan is reportedly preparing to release built-in-China electric vehicles this year itself. US company Tesla sold more than 10, 000 electric cars in China in 2017, according to industry estimates. China's largest electric carmaker BYD reportedly sold 113, 669 new energy vehicles in 2017. Automaker Volvo has announced that electric vehicles will account for 50 percent of all its sales by 2025. It plans to offer a hybrid variant of all its vehicles from 2019. Electric two-wheelers are being enhanced by the likes of Honda and Yamaha, as well as Mission R, Lightning LS-218, and Lito Sora. Indian players in this space include Ather Energy and Tork Motorcycles. Electric trucks are being developed by Workhorse, E-Force, Daimler, and BYD. Indian mobile phone company Micromax is also said to be in the electric battery game for the EV market. Infrastructure From housing blocks to parking areas, it is clear that electric charging facilities will need to be widely available for this sector to take off. A network of charging stations is needed to make EVs viable; this includes hybrid combinations of on-grid and off-grid energy sources such as solar chargers. Ambitious industry targets include EV infrastructure every 150 km in America and Europe. Charging stations for EVs can also be solar-powered. For example, the Great Plains Institute in Minnesota has received a grant from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Solar Energy Innovation Network. The plan is to create a roadmap for solar-plus-EV technology. Interestingly, the Indian Railways is planning on allocating space for electric vehicle charging stations at the parking lots of Delhi train stations to promote the use of green energy. Facilities to be provided include AC and DC chargers. Singapore launched its first electric vehicle sharing service in December 2017 with 80 cars and 30 charging stations. Their target is to have 1, 000 EVs, 500 charging locations, and 2, 000 charging points by 2020. The world’s largest electric car sharing service is reportedly Autolib in Paris; its subsidiary BlueSG runs the service in Singapore. Taxi and car-sharing companies Cities in countries like India face acute problems of energy insecurity and pollution, and industry-government alliances will play a key role in this regard. Low-interest funding of electric bus fleets for public transportation are some suggested measures. High-profile partnerships have been formed between taxi and car-sharing platforms and EV manufacturers. For example, Ola’s Mission: Electric initiative aims to put over one million electric vehicles on the road by 2021. It also partnered with Mahindra & Mahindra to build an electric mass mobility ecosystem in Nagpur. The target for 2018-2019 is to place over 10, 000 e-rickshaws and electric auto-rickshaws on the road. Other players to watch are Lithium Cabs, Zoomcar and SmartE in the e-rickshaw space. The Centre of Civil Society reports that around 29, 000 e-rickshaws were registered in New Delhi in the 2013-2017 period. Mahindra and Mahindra also has a tie-up with Uber to deploy EVs across several Indian cities. Initial target cities include New Delhi and Hyderabad. The arrangement includes competitive prices, attractive financing and insurance premiums, and comprehensive maintenance packages. Mahindra Electric and Zoomcar have partnered in an agreement for 100 e2oPlus electric cars to be offered on the Zoomcar platform in Delhi for self-drive rentals. The initiative has already been launched in Mysuru, Hyderabad, and Jaipur. Mahindra Electric’s portfolio also includes the eVerito sedan and the eSupro mini-van and panel vans. Software AI and ML will play a key role in manually driven cars and especially in driverless cars. Much of this will be coupled with IoT and smartphone interfaces and controllers. “Data sharing between devices, including cars, will become a reality, and securing the information becomes paramount, ” according to Mahesh Lingareddy, Chairman of Smartron, an IoT company. The “car OS” (operating system) will need to be developed with deep and wide industry alignment. Cars will be like tablets on wheels, jokes Christian Senger, head of e-mobility at Volkswagen AG. The level of control exerted by automation is graded in progressive levels, wherein Level 5 autonomy means the vehicle will take all decisions for the commuter. SAE International's On-Road Automated Vehicle Standards Committee has come up with five levels of automation in vehicle navigation. These include driver assistance, partial automation, conditional automation, high automation and full automation. Multimodal transport solutions are the need of the hour for urbanising India. Cloud-based solutions for such software platforms are being rolled out by Smatron, Kruzr, LightMetrics and Raksha SafeDrive. Policy interventions Some countries have set strict emission targets which will help spur the shift to electric. For example, in Europe, manufacturers must bring down vehicle emissions to 95 grams per km per vehicle by 2020. Sweden plans to have a fossil fuel-free transportation system by 2030. Canada has announced regulatory changes to make it easier for condominium owners to get approval from their condo corporations to install an electric vehicle charging system. Ontario’s Electric Vehicle Charging Incentive Program has provided incentives for the installation of thousands of home charging stations. There are an estimated 18, 000 electric vehicles on Ontario’s roads. “The transportation sector contributes the most greenhouse gas pollution in the province, so actions that encourage the use of low-carbon vehicles help move us towards a healthier, cleaner future, ” says Chris Ballard, Minister of Government and Consumer Services. Governments need to have clarity in their pronouncements on electric vehicle adoption. For example, in 2017 the Indian Ministry of State for Power and Renewable Energy set 2030 as the phasing-out date for fossil fuel vehicles, but later withdrew the target date. Electric vehicles will not only help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but also reduce dependence upon oil imports, which raises all kinds of political risk in a volatile world. Other initiatives include Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid & ) Electric Vehicles (FAME), part of the National Electric Mobility Mission (NEMM) to promote fuel-efficient cars. Such schemes will be particularly important for fast-growing or large cities. Incentives will also be needed at industry and consumer level to spur the switch to electric vehicles. The Committee for Standardisation of the Protocol for Charging Infrastructure, set up by the Indian government, has recommended adopting uniform standards for electric vehicle charging stations, as well as options for electronic payment such as via smartphone. A study by the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) shows Gujarat, Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra as the top five states in EV sales. Citizen role Citizens will also have to play a consistent role in switching their driving, commuting and vehicle ownership attitudes. Unfortunately, as disposable income increases in emerging economies, there is also an aspirational rise in demand for self-driven vehicles rather than public transport. Today, 19 out of the 35 most polluted cities in the world are in India, according to BIS Research. More than half the pollution in densely-populated urban areas is vehicular. As of 2016, there were 229 million vehicles on Indian roads. Citizens will need to play a more vocal role in switching to electric vehicles or using more public transport. Startups The EV market is attracting a fair share of startups as well. For example, e-rickshaw company SmartE aims to get over 100, 000 e-rickshaws on the road by 2022. Founded by Goldie Srivastava in 2014, its initial target is last-mile connectivity for the public transport system in the Delhi-NCR region. Partners for the company include Goenka Electric Company and Kinetic Green, with vehicles priced at around Rs 1.5 lakh each. The company claims to move over 40, 000 commuters on a daily basis, and now has over 650 vehicles in operation. Charging models are centralised as well as de-centralised (swapping of batteries). Care has also been taken to ensure passenger safety via measures like avoiding over-crowding of vehicles. Targets for 2022 are three billion rides and 100, 000 jobs for vehicle operators. The company has already raised Series A funding of around $5million from a PE fund based out of Singapore. Hyderabad-based Gayam Motor Works manufactures electric three-wheelers and electric bicycles. Its setup allows e-vehicle owners to swap drained batteries with fully charged ones to eliminate charge-time waiting. For an electric rickshaw, a single battery charge is estimated to run for 110-150 km. The level of battery power remaining is updated to a cloud application, which gives notifications along with the location for the nearest swapping station. The company’s clientele includes Uber in Singapore, Hong Kong, and the US, as well as BigBasket, Ekart, Swiggy, and the governments of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in India. Instead of lead-acid battery technology, lithium-ion batteries are used. The company initially made vehicles for the Asian Development Bank-funded “E-trike project” for electric vehicles in the Philippines. Gurgaon-based EV startup Twenty Two Motors has raised $1.6 million in pre-Series A funding from investors, including Haryana Industries. Its offerings include two-wheeler lithium-ion battery packs, battery management systems (BMS), and smart electronics. IoT, analytics and AI will be leveraged to determine users' ride behaviour. Other two-wheeler players in the Indian market include Mahindra E20 and GenZe, Hero RNT Diesel Hybrid Scooter, Hero Splendor iSmart, Hero Leap, TVS Qube, and Hyosung ST-E3 EVA. Reva founder Chetan Maini has now set up SunMobility, a startup which will set up EV infrastructure across India. The road ahead Though hurdles such as long charging times, short travel ranges, and heavy batteries remain, they are being addressed by a slew of innovators. New companies such as Rimac, Vanda, Nio, and Genovation have joined market leaders like Porsche, Aston Martin, and Tesla in creating the next generation of electric vehicles. The road ahead for electric vehicles is literally in the sky as well: many aeronautical companies are working on all-electric planes, and not just hybrid transitional models. Alliances have been formed between industry giants Airbus and Boeing and startups like Zunum Aero and Wright Electric. The innovative eRoadArlanda initiative in Sweden involves a stretch of road that recharges electric vehicles as they drive on it. Charging will be via an electrified rail mounted into the ground. Challenges arise in safety of electric charge and in costs of installation, as well as operations during conditions of fast-moving traffic. Emerging technologies like blockchain could also help to track the sourcing of rare minerals used to make EV components, and ensure that ethical sourcing is practiced. These include nickel and cobalt, some of which is mined in conflict areas. It will help countries benchmark their manufacturing and roll out initiatives with those of progressive regions such as Scandinavia and East Asia. Government and industry in these regions are forging stronger partnerships for domestic and international growth of electric vehicles. Cities to watch for electric-powered public transport are Shenzhen in China, where most of the 16, 000 vehicles are reportedly electric. For countries like India to match East Asia, it will need significant manufacturing prowess for key components, ranging from battery cells and semi-conductor modules to micro-processors and controllers. This extends from prototyping to large-scale low-cost manufacturing. However, opportunities also exist in design and IP, and not just in the OEM sector. The big shift to electric and modular design vehicles disrupt and democratise the entire automotive value chain from the bottom to the very top, according to Neeraj Kumar Singal, Director at Lightyear Infratech & Semco Group. Where an Internal Combustion (IC) Engine car has around 10, 000 moving parts, an average EV has around 20. In sum, with all the convoluted parts gone and availability of major components in the world market, new challenger startups will emerge on a larger scale, according to Singal. Many vehicle manufacturers could become simple assemblers of vehicles rather than complex engineering companies.
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    *Hungary introduces electric vehicle fast chargers* Hungary’s state utilities provider NKM Mobilitas has ordered 12 electric vehicle fast chargers from Australian provider Tritium as part of a drive to improve EV infrastructure in the country. The installation of Tritium Veefil-RT 50 kW DC electric vehicle fast chargers around Hungary aims to improve infrastructure, with a view to growing the country’s EV market. Only around 6, 000 of the 3.8 million cars in Hungary are powered by electricity, but this market is growing rapidly in light of the green energy transition occurring across Europe. According to recent figures, electric vehicles represented 5.1% of all new car sales in the first quarter of 2018. What’s more, a number of government incentives have been launched to encourage further growth and uptake, including free car registration, cheaper or free parking in some areas, and the offer of grants of up to €5, 000. Additional charging infrastructure is needed to support and promote further growth of the electric vehicle sector in Hungarian transport. *What are the advantages of these fast chargers?* Tritium’s electric vehicle fast chargers are lighter than other available chargers, and are capable of charging vehicles 25 times more quickly than standard home chargers. According to Szabolcs Balogh, managing director of NKM Mobilitas, the Tritium charger weighs around 170kg, compared to up to 600kg for other 50 kW fast-chargers. In terms of other benefits of the system, he added: “The use of liquid cooling technology will reduce future maintenance requirements. There is no need for regular filter replacement as is common with air cooled fast chargers.” Naturally, the ability to charge more quickly could mean that these chargers are ideal for locations such as service stations, where drivers want to recharge without having to wait too long. For Balogh, they will form a vital element of Hungary’s growing infrastructure. He explained: “We want to establish a network covering the whole country. Although today, it is mainly companies that are buying electric cars, 80-85% of the charging takes place in homes or underground parking garages. Only approximately 5% of charging points are located on motorways with the rest in public area.” https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=856774051185450& id=464835727045953
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    Driving the electric-vehicle revolution To make India an EV hub, the Centre has to shift gears in setting up the required infrastructure Over the past 12 months, the government has been steadfastly advocating a move to phase out petrol and diesel cars completely and transforming the country into an all-electric market by the year 2030. These ambitions have been formulated as action plans, as opposed to concrete policies. While the industry awaits further clarity on the government’s position on electric vehicles (EVs) regarding availability of charging infrastructure, investment and incentive guidelines, and the role of state governments to support the launch of EVs, nearly all manufacturers that participated in the recent Delhi Auto Expo had at least one electric vehicle on display. The intended shift to EV would not only help to cut down on fuel bills, reduce emissions, and cut the escalating demand for road infrastructure, but would also change the face of the automotive industry and transform India into the leading electric vehicle market in the region and perhaps the world. The question remains, however, is India on the right track to becoming an EV hub? Challenges, and opportunities With more than half of the automotive suppliers in India based on engine-and-transmission systems, the industry is likely to take a hit. Despite this, strong government support can help transform those companies. However, there are opportunities to counter these potential challenges. The corresponding consumer market would appear to already be in place, and growing, with 30 per cent of first-time car buyers in India under the age of 30. This is due, in part, not only to rising income levels and easy access to credit, but also to the higher aspirations of the younger generation. Similarly, diesel vehicles continue to fall out of favour with consumers increasingly experimenting with new body styles. Furthermore, all eyes remain on India to excel in this space, not only due to the strong presence of many of the world’s leading automotive brands, but also the government’s clearly voiced support. With Malaysia announcing recently that it plans to lean on Indian expertise in developing its own auto industry, the latter continues to be a leading force in the region. Many leading companies are already gearing up for EVs. Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai announced their plans to introduce their first electric vehicles in India by 2020 and 2019, respectively. Suzuki had earlier also announced plans to set up a lithium ion-battery factory. Tata Motors recently delivered the first 250 Tigor vehicles to EESL in Phase 1. Mahindra & Mahindra is ramping up its EV division and is expected to launch electric variants of its popular SUVs – the Scorpio and the XUV 500. However, the risk still falls on the industry in determining the market readiness of electric vehicles. Infrastructure is crucial For any major disruption to a long-standing and well-established industry to be successful, a strong and coherent strategy must be implemented. One of the key focus areas will be on setting up electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the country. While the EV fleet and charging networks across the world have grown concurrently, it has led to the emergence of different charging standards in different regions. Furthermore, every car has a different charging system. In other words, at present, all models of different manufacturers cannot be charged at any station. Recently, the Committee on Standardization of Protocol for Electric Vehicles (EV) Charging Infrastructure released recommendations entailing specifications for Bharat EV Charger AC-001 and Bharat EV Charger DC-001. At present, there are very few charging stations in India, which makes long-distance travel almost impossible. Given that more than 80 per cent of car owners in India state that they have only one car for their household, this limitation has always been a big hurdle to accepting EVs. However, government incentives such as offering subsidised electricity tariffs and promoting public awareness will also go a long way to developing the infrastructure. The recent government initiative to set up EV charging stations at parking lots of railway stations is likely to generate greater interest and acceptability. Platforms to develop battery cell technologies and pack, innovative software, and telematics — whereby detailed data about the areas in a city that have the most number of EVs at any point in time and the strategic placement of charging points at coffee shops, restaurants, and malls — will go some way in easing the potential hiccups faced by the prospect of charging EVs outside key hub spots. Increased energy generation India, as the world’s third-largest energy consumer after the US and China, is working towards building a green economy and there are opportunities for energy and renewable energy firms to leverage on the eventual increased demand for electricity. Perhaps, now is a strategic time to address the increased energy needs hand-in-hand with discussions surrounding the EV sector. India’s largest power generation utility, NTPC, is currently seeking a pan-India licence to set up charging stations. Similarly, establishing recycling programs for lithium batteries will help to ease the potential burdens experienced once EVs take hold. A shift to renewable energy would also make imminent sense for India. In order to increase the momentum of electrification development, it is crucial that an innovative and pragmatic approach is adopted to address energy supplies. Leveraging mobility services With shared-mobility services bringing an additional disruption to the industry, and as the shift toward EVs gains nation-wide momentum, the potential for mobility services business is huge — possibly as large as the core automotive business itself. In developed countries, mobility services are viewed as a hedge against the trend of more young people moving to cities and abandoning car ownership. But given the deteriorating traffic conditions and rising pollution levels, the trend could manifest in India, as well. Getting ready via govt support Notwithstanding short-term incentives such as cash subsidies, lowering road taxes and cutting GST for EVs, other measures such as tax rebates, would help to project a stronger long-term committed strategy. China has already shown the way on how to support growth in this sector. Besides offering EV owners the second most generous subsidies globally, China has also introduced a preferential vehicle licensing system, whereby EV buyers get their license plates free and with least delay. Moreover, China is focusing investments into EV charging stations. These measures have culminated in a boom for the industry with sales of electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles up 53 per cent in 2016. If India can look to replicate at least some of these measures, there is no reason why the EV industry would not also respond positively. India’s automotive industry is undoubtedly headed for an inflection point, where some or all the above trends may converge. What’s crucial along the way is to keep the industry and its customers at the core of all relevant smart mobility plans, to ensure that India stays on the right track to becoming an EV hub.
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