India’s EV Industry has Just Started Shaping-up and is Still in the Nascent Stage

Published  April 24, 2024   0
Dhruv Bhatia, Co-founder of ZEVO

India’s electric vehicle industry is growing at a rapid scale. In an effort to further bolster the industry, the central Ministry of Heavy Industries a couple of months back has increased the allocation of funds under Faster Adoption & Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India (FAME-II) scheme to Rs 11,500 crore, up from Rs 10,000 crore. Apart from that, the union government has also unleashed an additional Rs 500 crore subsidy scheme, dubbed Electric Mobility Promotion Scheme 2024 (EMPS 2024). The EMPS will offer subsidy upto Rs 10,000 per two-wheeler for about 3.33 lakh two-wheelers. The schemes and the subsidies are expected to help the industry to achieve 40 percent penetration by 2030. But amid these optimistic scenarios, the ecosystem is also furnished with loads of impediments, which require swift solutions. In this regard, we spoke exclusively with Dhruv Bhatia, co-founder of ZEVO, India's Electric Vehicle Supply Chain as a Service platform. Dhruv highlighted the current challenges of the EV industry in India, the company's ambition to lead the industry, and the various strategies to help the industry to compete at a global scale.

Q. Can you please paint the picture of the current EV ecosystem in India? Do you think the nation has the potential to compete with China, Vietnam, and Indonesia in the coming years?

We need to understand that China has been working to grow the industry for quite a long time and with the help of their government they have massively developed the supply chain. It is definitely ahead of us, but India’s EV industry has just started shaping up and is still in the nascent stage. It’s just beginning to explode, and we are very excited to be in the forefront of this explosion. There is a very big push from giant corporations like Amazon, Big Basket, Flipkart, Zomato because they are all very committed to electrifying their fleet and they have set-up a very aggressive target for the coming 5-7 years. Within this timeframe, I am sure that their fleets will be completely electrified. This is why there is a massive opportunity into this industry. There is a lot of push from the government, EV companies, but all the players will have to work together to take this industry forward. No company can grow the industry alone.


Q. As per research report, EV sales in India nearly doubled in 2023, to rise 66 percent in 2024. Why do you think the industry is still in the nascent stage? What do you think are the current challenges and the solutions?

The sales penetration is increasing YoY basis. Therefore, there is an increase but if you compare the total market that needs to be addressed, we are still in the beginning stages. The adoption rate based on YoY is massive because people are now very conscious to save the environment and reduce carbon emissions. But in terms of the total addressable market, there is a lot of scope that still needs to be covered. Therefore, this YoY growth can be increased more in the next 5-7 years. One of the biggest challenges for this industry is still awareness. Even though people are now very environmentally conscious, they are very skeptical about buying EVs. This is because there is range constraint and charging worries among the people. They are slowly getting addressed with consumer awareness and education. Whenever there is a change process, an inertia is always associated with it. Slowly and steadily, there are cost benefits in the commercial space also. Awareness is now transferring from tier 1 to tier 2 and tier 3 cities. 

Q. Do you think the current policies are well-enough to boost the industry? Would you like to highlight any loopholes in the policies and send a message to the government?

These schemes are now highly essential to move the industry forward. FAME II subsidies and similar policies that make it easier for people to adopt EVs are extremely essential right now. All the central and the state governments need to come together and devise schemes to implement for longer periods of time so that the industry can grow and shape up. Any industry needs assistance from the government to grow. Since the government is very aggressive to grow this sector and adoption of these schemes are extremely important. Ensuring trickle down effects of these strategies getting down to the lowest level is paramount. There are no roadblocks in these schemes getting implemented because subsidies are getting released on time. But the administrative roadblocks need to be addressed so that it becomes easy to take advantage and avail the benefits of these schemes.

Q. Although EVs are gaining huge traction all over the world, consumers are still worried about the weight, feel, and sturdiness of the vehicles? Do you think this challenge could harm the global EV industry?

There are various kinds of good quality electric vehicles available in the market. After thorough R&D and the latest technology infused, I don’t think the vehicles lack sturdiness. It depends on what kinds of vehicles you are purchasing. Obviously, there are some vehicles which cannot give you the feel and comfort but there it also depends on individual preferences. People who have this nation must think that EV adoptions are also value for money and good for the environment. 

Q. When was Zevo India formed? What are your current business strategies and mission that is helping you to stay ahead in the market?

We started our company in February 2022, and we spent a lot of time in R&D and other research in planning and executing this start-up. And a year back, we started our full-fledged operations. Zevo stands for zero emission vehicle operation, which makes it clear that we are in the business of electric vehicles only and we are helping bigger companies to reduce carbon footprints, making them easier to switch to electric mobility. We are trying our level best for a complete transition from ICE vehicles to EVs for a lot of companies. Our mission and vision for the next five to seven years is to become the top three mobility brands in the country and cater our services to all the segments that includes two wheelers, three wheelers, four wheelers and trucks. In fact, we are also trying to introduce a massive amount of employment through our business.

Initially we wanted to launch our business before the pandemic started. The COVID-19 situations have halted various business plans in the world. At that time there were a lot of uncertainties associated with the business world. When the pandemic started normalizing, we grabbed the opportunity and never looked back. The biggest lesson the pandemic gave us is probably how technology can be leveraged to make life and business easier. We have integrated top-notch technology into our business operation. 

Q. What are the various kinds of products and solutions you are offering in the market? Going forward, where do you see the EV industry in India in the coming five years?

Our biggest differentiating aspect is we offer electric vehicles of every segment under our platform starting from two wheelers to four wheelers including delivery trucks. We are a one-stop solution for all of these vehicles. Our potential customers are now those companies who are involved in movement of goods whether its first mile, mid mile, and last mile. Zevo India is also planning to cater individual customers apart from the companies. Our operational efficiency and the availability of all kinds of vehicles on our platform will ward-off the competition. Also, the kind of latest technology we have added on our platform and applications will make EV adoption easier in the country. 

Electric Vehicles

We aggressively chase our target every month and we would like to add more vehicles for a larger penetration. The roadmap for the industry is to involve all the stakeholders because nobody can boost the sector alone. It has to be a cumulative effort of all the stakeholders in the country to bolster the ecosystem. There has to be a strong push from the government, and they need to incentivize the companies so that the transition to EVs becomes easier. In fact, there are companies in India who are developing the infrastructure which helps players like us to penetrate in the market.