ElectricPe aims to build ‘India’s largest EV charging platform’: Avinash Sharma
With the growing EV segment in India, the demand for the proper charging infrastructure is also burgeoning at a rapid pace. ElectricPe, a new energy infra startup went into a strategic alliance with Hero Electric earlier this year in April in order to set up a large-scale EV charging infrastructure in the country. The latest collaboration also entails Hero Electric riders to access ElectricPe’s charging network. And the charging points would come up at residential complexes, offices, malls, and other establishments. HT Auto caught up with ElectricPe's CEO Avinash Sharma to know more about the company's future plans and partnership details with Hero Electric.
How is ElectricPe aiming to contribute to the electric vehicle industry in India?
Electric vehicles are growing to be a popular mode of transport in India due to several factors, mainly - the availability of more and more vehicle options in the market for end customers and a strong push from the government on both the supply and demand side through a number of initiatives and policies like the PLI & FAME schemes. This, in turn, is creating a need for a robust charging/swapping infrastructure and an 'all in one' easily accessible charging platform, without which the wide-scale adoption of EVs is not possible. This is the gap we are bridging at ElectricPe. We are creating India's largest and most trusted EV charging platform, which will host an array of charging systems (regular, fast, swapping) for all use-cases (personal, commercial) - all in one place. So that users don't need the inconvenience of switching between multiple apps for their EV charging needs.
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What is the business goal and how does it plan to achieve it?
Our short-term goal is the ensure we have 1 lakh public charging points on the ElectricPe platform across India this year. To ensure a wide charging infrastructure network, we have already begun establishing strategic partnerships with OEMs, independent charge point operators, and infrastructure players.
How has the latest collaboration with Hero Electric turned out?
Our collaboration with Hero Electric is still in its nascent stage, and we firmly believe that it will help push us towards our goal of 1 lakh charging points. Hero Electric is one of the biggest OEMs, and now their consumers have seamless access to our charging platform. We envision that our association will further our goal to bring clean and affordable access to charging to a billion Indians right at their doorstep.
With the current trends in the EV industry, what does India require?
India is definitely switching to EVs - the number of EVs seen on the roads today versus a few years earlier is an anecdotal indicator of the upcoming massive demand that this segment will see. As an industry in its nascency, the EV ecosystem still faces its fair share of challenges, ultimately preventing it from reaching its full potential. Some of these challenges and missing links are at the industry level, such as India's reliance on battery imports and components that go into the manufacturing of EVs. This is especially evident in light of the ongoing global chip shortage. Ultimately, this means the market suffers from supply shortages, especially in the wake of rising demand and customer expectations. What is encouraging is that the gaps in the Indian EV ecosystem are being steadily filled by innovation by private companies & startups. This innovation is being fuelled by an appetite for investment in the EV industry on the part of investors.
Views on the number of partnerships in the EV ecosystem, policy, etc.?
We will continue to see several partnerships and associations in the industry. What has currently played out is just scratching the surface. As an industry, there is a need for several collaborations as one player or OEM will not be able to meet the demand the EV sector will require. In addition to this, there are several moving parts to the ecosystem, and expertise will need to be built. Added to this constant change and evolution of technology, which will require collaboration with experts in battery management, cell production, software solutions, etc., to ensure the highest safety standards for the industry and seamless access, reach, and affordability for consumers. What's important, however, to watch for is how many of these partnerships result in actual on-ground value creation for customers.
Outlook of the industry in the next two years?
The potential for manufacturing, assembling, and distribution in the EV industry is vast in India. As the country rapidly transitions to EVs as the 1st choice of mobility, along with the added Government push for Make in India, there will be multiple areas of business opportunities that will emerge from cell manufacturing and battery management systems to building the charging/swapping infrastructure, software solutions, supply chain, and financing of the sector. Areas like EV manufacturing will create multiple downstream business opportunities like part suppliers, energy storage, and transport solutions for EV component material movement.