According to a June 2020 report by the Central Electricity Authority, there were 933 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations—for both two-wheelers and four-wheelers—across the country. SemaConnect, one of the leading providers of electric vehicle charging stations in North America with over 12000 active charging stations deployed has been making EV chargers in India for over 10 years now, for the export market.
SemaConnect now aims to tap the Indian market and add a volume to the charger density by offering these products with extensive market acceptance and deployment experience. Few of their chargers are offering features like wireless technology, a completely configurable admin module for charger management, a handy app for drivers, an OLED screen, Interactive LED Lights and the IEC 62196-2 Plug suitable for modern Indian EVs.
We got in touch with Prashant Radhakrishnan- Vice President and Head of Sales & Marketing (India), SemaConnect to understand more about its products and expansion plans. Here’s our conversation-
Tell us about the SemaConnect brand
SemaConnect is one of the leading providers of EV charging solutions in the North American market with a presence in NA since 2009. SemaConnect’s proven technology, integrated solutions and intimate blue-chip customer relationships have created a strong brand and a reputation as one of the best all round solution providers in North America.
How many countries do you operate and why choose India?
SemaConnect’s core sales and marketing operations are currently centred in the North American market with a prominent majority in the United States followed by Canada. SemaConnect has had a strong base in India since 2010 with all its R&D, Design, Technology & Manufacturing based out of Bengaluru, India.
Tell us about India operations and goals
Almost from inception India has been a core part of SemaConnect’s worldwide strategy with the utilization of R&D, technology & manufacturing strength and flexibility of India. This will continue in the coming years with the core of the R&D, tech and manufacturing continuing to be based in India and poised for rapid growth to meet rising global demand.
In 2021, SemaConnect has setup its sales & marketing operation in India with the mandate of getting a disproportionate share of the growing EV and its infrastructure’s market in India – India’s EV market is at a nascent stage today – something akin to the US market in the early 2010’s. At SemaConnect, we believe that India has the opportunity to rapidly increase the penetration of EV’s and that our experience and expertise in running these large technology & supply chain plays in setting up the right infrastructure to support EV charging will go a long way in growing the market.
SemaConnect will bring its latest products & services into the Indian market – these are time tested and have been operationally performing in the field for over 10 years. In addition, SemaConnect intends to bring India focused products and solutions including an India focused 2/3 wheeler product later this year.
What are the challenges faced in India?
On the EV charging Infra front, India faces the classic chicken and egg problem – EV vehicles require charging infrastructure to be available & charging infrastructure requires EV’s to be present and using them. We believe that some of these challenges will be mitigated in 2021/ 22 by the arrival of more competitive E vehicles – both on the 2 wheeler and 4 wheeler segments.
Just like the Tesla helped in creating demand for EV’s in general and thereby the rush of other service providers to also setup infrastructure – we believe that the coming boom of new vehicles will drive consumer demand and this will lead to the relatively quick build-up of charging infrastructure at least in all the major metro markets in India.
Tell us about EV industry globally and in India
We see the EV industry poised for rapid growth and mainstream adoption across the world in the 2020’s. If smart phones were the big revolution that changed the world with mass adoption in the 2010’s, then this decade will be the decade known for Electric Vehicles and the changes that this will be bring to the fight against climate change as well as the complete overhaul of certain mainline industries like that of fossil fuels, transportation, urban planning and commutation.
The economics of EV’s vs ICE vehicles will be upended in the early half of this decade. Today battery costs are the main barrier of entry from a point of view of economics – a kwH of battery today costs are $150…but this is fast decreasing. The breakeven point of capex investment for a consumer on EV’s vs ICE is when battery prices hit the $100 mark. This is expected to happen in the next couple of years. This single fact will upend the industry and completely change the dynamics of transportation as we know it. The charging infrastructure to support this industry will surge to keep up with the exploding demand.
The above phenomena as we have seen in mobile phone will be a global one – we will of course have different companies operating in different markets to serve different segments of consumers – both geographic as well as price/ value markets.
Shed some light on the EV Chargers you are deploying in India
The Series 4: The Series 4 is a new product being launched as our flagship product for the commercial segment in India. This product has been adapted to Indian requirements with a cellular & wifi modules for connectivity and has been designed keeping in mind a keen aesthetic and also all the durability requirements for all weather conditions. It is compact in design and a 7.2kw AC Level 2 charger suitable for commercial & residential real estate; large corporates & retail. It is a genuine multi use product.
The Series 6: This has been our traditional best seller across the years and has been a flag bearer for the SemaConnect range for many years. Sporting a rugged aluminium body, the Series 6 is supported by thousands of installations and many years of field deployment. Again, this is suitable as a multi-use product.
The Series 7 and 7Plus: The Series 7 is a dual port charger station which is specifically designed for the fleet market. Our robust technology backend also provides multiple functions to aid in faster charging, deployment of fleets who tend to use their vehicles for much longer than personal vehicles. The Series 7 is also a 7.2kw charger. In Q3, we also plan to launch the Series 7Plus which is an 80 Amp charger with other specs being similar to the Series 7.
The Series 3: The Series 3 is a 2/3 vehicle charging solution expected to launch in Q3 of this FY. This is a completely India specific product being designed and developed ground up specifically for the unique use cases prevalent in India. We are extremely excited about the launch of this product and have already seen very many enquiries on this product.