A lot has happened since 2019 started and one of the most exciting things has got to be Charlie’s recent trip to India to represent EV Driver at various electric mobility conferences around the country. Of course we couldn’t resist questioning him no end on everything he got up to and what the EV community is like in India. We managed to narrow it down (with great difficulty) to these questions - so if you’re as interested to hear about Charlie’s India experience as we were, please read on….
So, Charlie, for those of us who don’t know - why did you go out to India?
I went to India to engage with the Indian government to share learnings and make recommendations about EV charging infrastructure installation. So I represented EV Driver as part of a UK delegation, which included Hubeleon, EV Technology, The Phoenix Works and the Department of International Trade, Nottingham City Council, Cenex and Energy Systems Catapult. It was organised by Earnest & Young India and we spoke to various secretary's to government in the transport sector as well as their teams and then various leaders from the private sector, which was really exciting!
Wow! How did EV Driver come up to be on this delegation?
So, first of all, this happened by EV Driver being identified as having one of the earliest EV Networks in the UK (started in 2016), which means that we’ve had the time to be present and engage with policy bodies such as the REA. As a result the REA recently included EV Driver in their structured interview process for a positioning paper for open networks. Positioning papers sit at a government level and as a result of this EV Driver was identified as being valuable for government level interactions, which is pretty cool! So although we may be a small business, the fact that we’re established in our area means that we have a whole load of experience and knowledge to share.
What was the most memorable part of your trip?
The fact that they had EV policies in 2 out of the 3 states that we visited. We went to Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the first two of which have their policies ready to go and Tamil Nadu's was very nearly there too. What made this significant for me was the fact that before the government had even started rolling things out they were already learning from across the world so they could do it as best as possible. The fact that they can grow something new and relatively difficult to work with, demonstrates such an amazing attitude towards the bigger picture. I found that quite remarkable.
And what was the general Public’s stance towards EV’s?
They thought EV’s were pretty cool, but they were also unsure of how EV’s would come about. Because most of the EV’s they’d seen were 4 wheelers (cars), but 90% of their transport is on 2 wheels. It’s predominantly motorbikes, which will also become electric and we did see some of them, but there’s a lot of technical things that have to be ironed out yet… it’s definitely early days for that. But their attitude generally was open and excited for what they know is coming.
Do they have many EV’s on the road already? Is the government pushing the concept of them?
Well, I was only there for a week, but in that time I only saw one 4 wheeler EV and no 2 wheeler one’s at all! But the concept of Electric Vehicles is really supported by the government and they are keen to get them on the road. They just approved quite a large fund for it. One of the biggest problems with producing these Vehicles in India is the fact that they can make all parts of the vehicle but the lithium battery, which has to be externally sourced from either China or Japan. This makes it more expensive because of the import cost and it means that the product is not ‘Made in India’, which is a massive topic for them. They want to create jobs and build the whole thing in their own country - they want it to be homegrown. They also really focused on supplying the electric vehicles with green energy, instead of just any energy. In different states they’ve got different green energy supply strategies to either install or make available for EV charging. These green energy pieces are another key decision or strategy in my mind as EVs are like a key to the bigger picture of fighting climate change and therefore, knitting all the pieces together will become our most important goal as a global nation.