Electric vehicles in India is witnessing a surge in demand, especially in the electric two-wheeler segment. With more customers inclining towards electric two-wheeler, Komaki is one of the players that is trying to bring higher range products to lure the buyers.
Electric vehicles in India are witnessing a rise in demand and sales in recent times. The pandemic induced growing preference for personal mobility, sky-high price of motor fuels and changing consumer perceptions is fuelling demand for electric vehicles further.
Komaki Electric Vehicle is one of the players in the Indian zero-emission vehicle segment with a host of electric two-wheeler on offer. The EV manufacturer is planning to bring several new models and higher-range EV batteries soon.
Autofintechs spoke to Gunjan Malhotra, Director of Komaki Electric Vehicle Division, where she speaks about the future product strategy, the overall scenario in the Indian EV market etc.
Edited excepts below.
Q. EV revolution in India is majorly driven by the low-speed e-2Ws, which are good for city commuting but have no parity with conventional fuel-powered vehicles, especially in terms of long-range travelling. How do you see this scenario changing in the coming days?
We agree with the first statement. Low-speed EVs are a great alternative but if we want to give direct competition to the conventional fuel-based vehicles then we need to develop fast-moving vehicles with better mileage. Here, at Komaki, we understand this need and we have launched a total of 3 ranges of high-speed registration models for the market.
With a range from 70 km up to 200 km, we are already taking over the electric vehicle segment. Very soon, we will be launching a new set of batteries for our models which will give a 220 km mileage. This will take the electric revolution further and popularize green rides throughout the country.
Q. While the low-hanging fruits like e2Ws and e3Ws are witnessing a surge in demand and sales, electric cars in India are scarce; in terms of availability, demand and sales. As an EV industry stakeholder, how do you interpret this trend?
The availability of any product is always fueled by demand and the demand for electric cars in India is still low. The major reason for that is the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). According to a cost analysis done by Kearney, TCO for electric cars is higher than their conventional fuel-based counterparts. It is one reason that is dissuading buyers from buying electric cars.
Besides this, the lack of charging infrastructure is another major concern on people’s minds when it comes to buying an electric vehicle. Hopefully, in time, these problems will be addressed and we will see growth in this segment as well.
Q. Electric bicycles can become an important medium of growth in e-mobility through the last-mile delivery channel, especially during a pandemic. How Komaki is aiming to leverage this opportunity?
Yes, definitely! The electric bicycle market is witnessing a boost in demand. With the growing number of online stores, there is a need for a more economical mode of transport for deliveries. This is where e-bicycles emerge as an excellent solution. They are low maintenance and cost-effective, which makes them highly desirable. We saw the potential of e-bicycles a while ago which is why Komaki launched its first electric bicycle in March 2021 and it’s available at all our dealerships.
Q. The main component of EVs, lithium-ion battery is still the priciest part of these vehicles contributing a larger chunk of the retail price, resulting in a wide gap between ICE vehicles and EVs. How do you see this gap evolving by 2025 in India?
The technology is evolving and the batteries are becoming more efficient and affordable. We also have certain projects in the pipeline regarding this, and we’ll soon be launching models with batteries that offer a range of up to 220 km. So I would estimate that in the coming 3 to 5 years, we will be able to bridge this gap and boost the sale of EVs.
Q. India still is majorly a user market of EV rather than manufacturer, despite the government’s push to make the country a manufacturing hub for EVs. What should be the right track to achieve that?
The Indian government has been very supportive in this regard and has taken several initiatives to boost EV manufacturing in the country. Niti Ayog, during September 2020, announced incentives worth $4.6 billion by 2030 for companies manufacturing advanced batteries, starting with cash and infrastructure incentives of $122 million in the next financial year which would then be ratcheted up annually.
The government has recently rolled out several policies that seek to favour FDI. By collaborating with foreign technology partners who will enter India, we have limitless potential to become a global superpower in electric vehicle manufacturing. By achieving this goal, we will also be able to create a local supply chain that will generate employment in the country, boost the economy, and help us control the costs of EVs as well.
Q. How does Komaki plan to expand its network and product portfolio in the coming years?
Currently, we have a dealership network of more than 220 dealers and we’re working toward expanding that network to 500 by the end of 2021. We’re also planning to step out of India and tap hot EV markets in Nepal and Bangladesh. So far, we have launched 14 registration models in the market, and we are planning to foray into the 4-wheeler segment shortly to cater to a wider EV customer base. We will also be launching a new range of batteries soon that will provide a mileage of up to 220km. This will hopefully encourage more people to purchase electric vehicles and give a boost to the EV revolution in India.