Updated: Jul 9, 2018
In our first installment of thought leadership series, we had a wonderful opportunity to talk to Mr. Vijay Chandrawat, COO & Co-founder of 22motors. Here are the excerpts from our conversation about his company’s vision, Indian electric vehicle market and policies surrounding the industry.
Aurora Ventures: Mr. Vijay, 22motors had a successful launch of “Flow” at the Auto Expo, New Delhi this year. Tell us more about the company plans and when is Flow hitting the road?
Vijay Chandrawat: Yes, we had a successful launch event and there was great interest in the vehicle. We have our launch plans set up and are planning to reach the market by the final quarter of this year. We will enter the retail market through our own experience centers across India. Right now, we are in touch with investors for our retail expansion plans. Once that is set up we will be getting ready for the retail launch. We are confident about the market performance as we have worked hard on our own technology of the scooter.
Vijay: Once the consumers start to see the potential of new products on the market, the growth rate would be exponential.
Aurora: That is great news. What are your views of the Indian market and how do you think the adoption rate for electric vehicles will grow in India?
Vijay: We are very positive that the market would open for electric vehicles in India before 2020. The stage is set and there are exciting products being launched. The technology for batteries and overall performance of EVs is getting better and thus the advantages of switching from conventional vehicle to electric vehicles are clear to the users. The current challenge is upfront payment for the vehicle which will also come down as the technology evolves and the government provides more support with subsidies and better policies. The technology is definitely here to stay, and this is the way to go for automobile industry.
Aurora: Yes, definitely. However, the adoption in India has been very slow compared to other countries. What do you think are the reasons for that?
Vijay: There could be many factors for this slow growth. One is the fact that initial products launched by some companies earlier did not meet performance expectations. The lead acid batteries were heavy and inefficient compared to Li-ion now. Indian customers also enjoy greater speeds which were not offered by low torque motors used in older vehicles. Even the quality of the body for electric vehicles was not so good. All these factors made the consumer wary about the potential of the technology. Products that are being launched now like Flow, are better in performance, durability and tech features. Once the consumers start to see the potential of new products on the market, the growth rate would be exponential.
Aurora: Also, we believe the policy framework hasn’t been very clear for the industry players. Do you think the necessary support from these policies is still missing?
Vijay: I believe the government bodies realized that there needs to be a better environment for electric vehicles a little late. The policies are being discussed and will continue to evolve as all of us learn more about the industry. The need is to make them conducive and supportive for young companies to motivate them. Clear direction for things like charging infrastructure and consumption of electricity, subsidies and incentives, among many other factors, are important for the industry to thrive. We hope that soon after the upcoming general elections strong measures would be taken to create the ecosystem as it is also critical for India to move to cleaner vehicles to bring down pollution levels as well as oil import bills.
We would like to thank Mr. Vijay for his time and sharing his views.