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3 tech trends to watch in India’s EV market in 2022

3 tech trends to watch in India’s EV market in 2022
31 Dec, 2021

The Indian Electric Vehicle (EV) industry, being at its inflection point, will witness many product rollouts in the years to come. In the process, there will be new solutions to address some of the longstanding challenges that the industry has been grappling with. 

While the year 2021 saw EV makers bringing in low-cost technologies, Hero Electric MD Naveen Munjal asserts that the next year will be about a growing surge in investments into newer technologies that will come mainstream.  

As automotive and brand strategy expert Avik Chattopadhyay puts it, next year, India will develop new cell chemistry. “Traditional battery makers will form a consortium to research, develop and build together. Amidst this, safety standards will be imposed for electric three wheelers, charging protocols will be formulated for electric public transport,” he said. 

Public charging infrastructure and smart chargers  

The Ministry of Power came out with a mandate that there must be at least one charging station every 25 kms on both sides of a highway, and also at least one charging station for long range and heavy duty EVs at every 100 kms on both sides of a highway.  

While the central government is preparing a blueprint to install 6,000 charging stations for electric vehicles across nine expressways in the country, work is underway to set up charging stations for electric vehicles at 22,000 of the 70,000 petrol pumps in the country. 

Apart from preparing a roadmap for vehicle charging infrastructure countrywide, the government of India is also working on modalities for smart charging platforms, where vehicles, charging stations and charging operators share data connections, experts said, while speaking at the EV India 2021 Expo earlier this month.  

Smart chargers can automatically schedule a battery refill for off-peak periods and react to high-demand events on the connected grid. In this way, while consumers can benefit from cheaper electricity, there will also be no excessive power consumption during peak hours. 

Hero Electric’s Munjal also claims that the EV industry will see more Internet of Things (IoT) integrations into the offerings and not just limited to the premium segment. He also stated that the usage of AI to understand a rider’s daily commute and suggest charging cycles are other areas to look forward to. 

Non-Lithium-ion battery-powered vehicles 

In layman’s terms, a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is an advanced battery technology that uses lithium ions as a key component of its electrochemistry and powers the EVs in the current era. But as the EV industry is evolving, so is the battery chemistry that powers such vehicles. While homegrown battery technology startup Log9 Materials has already developed RapidX batteries that are compatible with its ‘InstaCharge’ stations’, Mumbai-based Earth Energy is believed to be developing graphite battery run vehicles. Likewise, Odisha-based electric mobility startup EeVe uses two lithium ferrous phosphate (LFP) battery packs placed under the seat.    

Expereal’s Chattopadhyay claims that as EVs are inherently heavier, lightweight skins in the form of composites will be developed by traditional steel makers, especially for electric SUVs. Some might also collaborate to bring in lightweighting technologies. 

Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) 

Personal electric mobility devices, or PMDs, are small single-person electric vehicles like e-cycles. Christie Fernandez, Founder, eMobility startups Sooorya EV, predicts that PMDs will start proliferating as an affordable (personal) last mile mobility solution, and that low speed two wheelers and electric cycles that cost less than ₹10,000 will find a lot of buyers in small towns and villages. He also asserted that electric mobility solutions for the disabled and elderly will be developed.