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Moving to EVs is a Paradigm Shift and Could Face Initial Resistance - Euler Motors

Image used for representational purpose. (Photo: Reuters)

Image used for representational purpose. (Photo: Reuters)

We got in touch with Saurav Kumar, CEO and Founder, Euler Motors to talk on a variety of electric vehicle-related topics.

Euler Motors is an Automotive and Energy start-up working on last-mile transport using electric vehicles. Founded in 2018, the company is focussed on bringing 3 and 4 wheelers light commercial electric vehicles for cargo and passengers. The company has already received the first series of investment and is already providing its vehicles to companies like BigBasket, EcomExpress, Udaan, and BlueDart. We got in touch with Saurav Kumar, CEO and Founder, Euler Motors to talk on a variety of electric vehicle-related topics. Here's an excerpt:

News18: Please provide an overview of Euler Motors and its businesses

Euler Motors: We are an automotive and energy start-up focussed on sustainable last-mile transport by accelerating the transition of the Indian transportation ecosystem from internal combustion engines to new-age electric vehicles.

We started the company in 2018 with a focus to bring 3 and 4 wheelers light commercial electric vehicles for cargo and passengers. Euler Motors is committed to providing eco-friendly vehicle technology with superior intra-city mobility experience.

Euler Motors is already providing its vehicles to companies like Big Basket, Ecom Express, Udaan, Milk Basket. The team at Euler Motors is focused on building a Li-ion battery pack that could deliver the range required for intra-city delivery in all-weather, temperature and road conditions.

Euler has introduced a system innovation business model to drive demand for electric vehicles in the country. Coupled with deep market understanding and thrust to bring impetus on the adoption of the new vehicles with limited capital investment, Euler Motors has introduced logistic portfolios. It enables customers to avail the benefits of the e-vehicles for a defined period.

News18: How much funding have you received so far?

Euler Motors: We have received the first series of investment of around USD 2 million from Blume Ventures, Emergent Ventures and Andrew Lee. We are using the money in setting up the manufacturing unit, R&D, building a Li-ion battery pack and hiring people.

News18: What is the current standing Euler Motors and what are your business plans for next 2 years?

Euler Motors: We are currently running piolets in Delhi specifically and with around 70 charging stations. Some of our customers include Big Basket, Ecom Express, Udaan, Milk Basket.

We are planning to spread the wings to Tier 2 and 3 markets in the next 2 years and expand our portfolio to intercity options. Over the next few years, we will be investing big amounts for the development and upgradation of the technology.

News18: What are the challenges faced by electric vehicle companies?

Euler Motors: As the Indian automobile industry aims to be among the world’s top three in automobile manufacturing by 2026, e-mobility presents just the right opportunity to do so. Aligned with growing environmental concerns, a movement towards electrification of the fleet also ensures greater energy security for the country.

However, electric mobility as a technology is at its nascent stage in India and the path to its successful implementation has multiple challenges. Presently, pure electric vehicle penetration in India is barely 0.1 per cent in private vehicles, about 0.2 per cent in two-wheelers and nearly zero for commercial vehicles.

• Lack of price parity

One of the biggest challenges slowing down the rate of EV penetration is the higher cost of the vehicles. A typical electric vehicle costs nearly 2 times higher than its combustion engine equivalent. The primary component that hikes up the cost of electric vehicles is imported batteries. Electric vehicles utilise lithium ion batteries, none of which are manufactured within the country, currently. However since the battery prices has fallen non-linearly by 80% over the last decade, the upfront cost parity between an ICE and EV vehicles are on the horizon.

• Lack of infrastructure

With charging stations limited across the nation, uninterrupted charging becomes a concern. However Sale of Electricity being allowed from earlier this year and with Charging standards fixed – AC001 and DC001, private and PSUs are now working to setup these charging stations across the country.

• Lack of demand and supply management

Another challenge at hand is the lack of choices available to the consumer in short-term. However with the new FAME-II subsidy, charging stations coming up – OEMs are seriously thinking about launching electric vehicles within next 1-2 years.

News18: What are your thoughts on the current budget announcement?

Euler Motors: I firmly believe that the steps taken by the government will boost the EV sector. By lowering the GST rate for electric vehicles from the current 12% to 5% will help cut down the upfront cost of purchasing an electric vehicle in India, thus making it a viable alternative to vehicles propelled by internal combustion engines (ICE).

Besides this, by offering a discount of ₹1.5 lakh on the interest paid for electric vehicle loans and by offering an overall benefit worth ₹2.5 lakh on buying EVs. This benefit includes the discount on the loan along with other tax benefits offered over the loan tenure.

In order to reduce the lifetime ownership cost of electric vehicles, the 2019 budget also offers relief to lithium-ion electric battery manufacturers. This will help to reduce the cost of EV batteries. One of the most significant maintenance costs associated with electric vehicles is the replacement of depleted batteries, reduced battery costs are likely to encourage people to embrace electric vehicles.

News18: What is your view on the concerns expressed by existing big players and industry associations on Government’s mission to bring greater thrust on e-vehicles?

Euler Motors: Moving to e-vehicles is a paradigm shift for the sector and the people. We all have been so much accustomed to ICE and CNG vehicles that such move could face initial resistance. However, I am sure once everyone starts evaluating and recognizing the long-term benefits, one can see more e-vehicles running on the roads.

We welcome government’s vision to drive the electrification agenda for transportation and mobility. Announcement towards offering upfront incentive on purchase of EV under FAME II scheme and reduction of GST to 5% are certainly a tremendous move for the automobile industry. Also, steps towards reduction in the cost of lithium-ion batteries will not only encourage people to embrace electric vehicles but will spur employment.

Overall, these host of initiatives will provide the much-needed impetus to EV revolution in India & will get the industry closer towards making its electric dream a reality. In the future, we will see more investments in manufacturing of EVs and make the country cleaner and safer in the coming years.

There is a higher allocation towards charging infrastructure and shows a stronger resolve towards achieving the 2030 EV Vision. Another defining move in this trajectory would be the income tax reduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on the interest paid on loans for purchasing EVs, thus encouraging more demand. We are aligned with the government agenda and consciously working towards meeting India’s mobility needs via our electric platforms. We stand by the Government’s aspiration to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and become more self-reliant over the next decade.

first published:September 23, 2019, 15:44 IST