Sunday, February 5th, 2023

Companies investing billions of dollars in IC engines, will not switch to electric vehicles soon: Exclusive Uday Narang

New Delhi.
The demand for electric vehicles has registered a boom in the last two years. The use of electric vehicles in the country is constantly being promoted by the central government. At the same time, electric companies and state governments are also making new strategies to increase this segment. In such a situation, how ready are the startups and new companies in the segment of electric vehicles and what are the challenges regarding electric vehicles in India. Omega Seki Mobility (Omega Seiki Mobility) chairman Uday Narang (Uday Narang) asked many questions. Here are some excerpts from that interview…

Question: When electric vehicles first arrived in India, there was only one question everywhere whether it would be successful in India. This question was also necessary because every state in India is a country in itself. It takes time to adapt to any new technology here. So, how do you see the electric vehicle segment in India vis-a-vis petrol-diesel powered vehicles?

Uday Narang: Look, I am a very positive person. COVID has taught us that now we have to look after both our health and the environment. If we think that by running the IC engine, we will get the work done, then leave the matter of corona, 99 percent of the children and old people will be affected by thousands of diseases, then it will affect our health system, and the effect of the health system on our Will fall on the government. The thing is that people in India understand this thing less, because people in India have a lot of cost sensitivity. They mean more than saving. A vehicle with a regular IC engine has a lot of parts, but an electric vehicle has two main components. Power and Battery. About 50% of the cost of any electric vehicle is the battery. In such a situation, the price of the battery will come down rapidly in the next 2 to 3 years. This will make electric vehicles much cheaper. This is going to save a lot of customers. It will be just like mobile phones were very expensive earlier, but when consumption started increasing rapidly the price started coming down. Similarly, in the coming time, the cost of battery is also going to come down very fast.

Electric vehicles have become very cost effective after the rise in oil and diesel prices, because people in India care less about the environment, which should be a lot. But every man thinks how to save money in my pocket. In such a situation, in the coming 2 to 4 years, you will see that the price of electric vehicles will be very low.

Question: The central government is continuously promoting electric vehicles in the country. But, there are several parties who are against making all vehicles electric in India. They say that it will have a very bad effect on the weaker sections, who are not yet ready for electric vehicles. Many times, the government has also had to answer amidst increasing rumors and protests. In such a situation, preparing the people of small towns and villages for electric vehicles is a big challenge. How do you see this challenge?

Uday Narang: Very good question. I will give you a breaking news, but I will not give the whole, which I have not given to anyone yet. I am a very outspoken person. Look, those who have put billions of dollars into the IC engine are not going to adopt the new thing so soon. All the big companies that have made good money here in IC Engine, have invested billions of rupees, it is very difficult for them to change so quickly within their companies. Then you must have understood. But, I think it is impossible to stop it now. There is a saying, ‘change with time or time will change you’. I’m telling you it’s time. I’ll give you an example. When he calls Pawan Munjal, the Managing Director and CEO of Hero MotoCorp, he will say one thing, “The future is electric”. They will say in English that Rome was not built in a day. In such a situation, it is not possible to make the pattern of the entire country fully electrified in a day. We have a passion that we have to leave the change law only. It takes a little pen to bring change. If I try to explain in India that you don’t pollute, no one will listen. But, if I tell a customer that I can help you save money, he will listen.

The Change Is Happening, The Change Will Happen. A lot of change is coming. I believe that in the coming 3 to 5 years, when the cost of battery will be very low, then petrol-diesel and CNAG vehicles will be out of competition. Now the big people who are there, they will oppose it a little, but I can tell you many such businesses, where there will be a change in the auto business.

Question: According to media reports, the government has already told big companies that it will not wait much for electric vehicles. In such a situation, if there is a delay, then the government will call all the startups and offer them. I want to know from you whether anything has been talked to you from the Government of India? Are startups or new companies being given a chance by the government?

Narang: Very good question asking. See, the support of the government, just like you are seeing that there is a pen policy from the government’s side. That is, full help is being given to everyone. At the same time, a lot is happening at the state level as well.

Question: In the year 2019, many demands were made from the auto sector, but the central government extended a helping hand only in the electric vehicle segment. The government reduced the GST rate on electric vehicles from 12 per cent to 5 per cent. So has the government now made up its mind that no matter how much pressure, it has to now focus on the electric vehicles segment?

Narang: Look, the big guys who want to slow down the transition to electric vehicles a little bit. But, let me tell you that today you look at Tesla’s stock, look at the market evaluation. More than the top 10 companies in the whole world, which tell the financial market what the future holds. Electric is the future. The government can and should do a lot. I think the vision of the government is very clear that only electric has to come.

Question: The big companies you are referring to can also switch to the electric vehicle segment rapidly.

Narang: The work of Electric is based on New Vision, New Generation, New Technology. It requires young new ideas and creativity. So people like us show a model after 2 years. We will give a new model every 3 to 5 months, it takes some time to change this mindset. The advantage for us is that we are an electric company. There is no weight of IC engine on us. We can build and do things that companies based on IC Engines can’t. It’s like building a 5-star hotel. For this he invests 10 thousand crores. It takes time for him to change the model, because he has invested heavily, but nowadays technology and system is changing very fast. In such a situation, electric vehicles are one such area, where new age and new technology is needed. Now only time will tell who will win.

Question: You are saying a big deal. Are you saying that the big players don’t want change to happen?

Narang: Big people are trying this. But, they also know that now they have to do it in electric only. You talk about Mahindra, you talk about Tata, you talk about Piazzo. You can talk to Pawan Munjal ji anytime. They will say that ‘Future of Motorcycle is Electric’.


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