Goodbye 2022: Five key developments in Indian automobile industry
As 2022 is coming to an end, this is the best time to look back and reflect at all the progress and developments that took place in the Indian auto industry this year. While acceleration towards electric mobility and expansion of the ‘phygital touchpoints’ have been concurrent developmental themes over the past few years, this year also saw some developments in the realm of metaverse, NFTs, ethanol blending in petrol, highway creation, among others.
Here's a look at the five key developments in the Indian automobile industry in the year 2022:
1. Metaverse is the new automotive destination
Metaverse is an immersive virtual world that is facilitated by the use of virtual reality and augmented reality headsets, and now auto OEMs too are joining this bandwagon. MG Motor India become the first auto OEM in the country to launch its own Metaverse platform, called MGverse to engage its new-age customers. The platform has been designed to offer customers with an immersive experience through multiple arenas. MGverse is essentially an umbrella platform where all other virtual spaces come together. Users can build their own MG vehicle, take virtual test drives and also co-create and engage with each other.
2. NFT becomes the new currency
What is NFT or non-fungible token? It is a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a digital ledger, and can be associated with reproducible digital files such as photos, videos, and audio. While MG Motor became the first auto company in the country to launch its own NFT in December last year, the year 2022 saw many Indian auto brands joining the trend.
Earlier this year, Mahindra and Mahindra released its first trench of such tokens which are based on the Thar SUV. The company's first-ever series has four NFTs and proceeds from the auction of these tokens were donated to Project Nanhi Kali, a program which supports education requirements of girl children in the country. In September, Royal Enfield became the first two-wheeler brand in the country to launch its NFT featuring ten winning artworks from its ‘Art Of Motorcycling’ (AOM) programme.
3. Ethanol blending target achieved
India achieved the target of 10% ethanol blending in petrol this year in June. The milestone was achieved five months before the set deadline. In 2014, the percentage of ethanol blending in petrol was only at 1.5% whereas the figure now stands at 10%. The benefits of achieving this milestone are reduction of 27 lakh tonnes of carbon emissions, saving of more than ₹41,000 crore of foreign reserves while the country's farmers have earned over 40,000 crore as income.
The government aims to start supplying 20 per cent ethanol blending at select petrol pumps from April next year. The target of mixing petrol with 20% ethanol has been advanced by five years to 2025. Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has been time and again highlighting the benefits of using petrol blended with ethanol in vehicles, especially in terms of saving cost and reducing carbon emissions from vehicles.
4. Expressways are becoming highly modern
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently inaugurated the first phase of the country's ‘most hi-tech- expressway’ - the Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Expressway, which is expected to cut down travel time between the two cities by road by almost one third. The expressway will have several features including EV charging stations at regular intervals.
It has been built at a cost of cost of ₹49,250 crore, and the expressway will connect 10 districts of the state. It will also be connected to the upcoming Delhi-Mumbai Expressway which is expected to be completed next year.
5. Innovative electric vehicles
The industry has been doing quite some innovations in the electric vehicle space. Technology start-up Matter has unveiled the country's first geared electric motorcycle which bets big on technology. Earlier this year, Tata Motors showcased its upcoming electric vehicle, called Avinya, which is based on a new Gen 3 platform which is built with lightweight materials and focuses on bringing down the overall mass of products based on it.
In November, Mumbai-based EV startup PMV Electric launched the country's smallest electric car in the country. Called the EaS-E, the nano-sized EV is now officially the most affordable electric vehicle in India. PMV Electric has launched the EaS-E at an introductory price of ₹4.79 lakh (ex-showroom).