India Will Witness Slower Adoption of EVs

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Here are excerpts from inputs provided by David Schutt, CEO, SAEInternational, US

What is your take on iTEC in India? This is the third edition of this biennial event. What are your views?

I think it is an important event that brings different disciplines together and it also brings different organisations together from the perspective of the Indian automotive industry, where electrification is going to be an important conversation. As I said earlier this morning, it is going to create a community and going to bring different people together. And when different minds come together, different skills and different approaches, there are going to be significant advancements taking place.

What kind of role conferences such as iTEC play in markets such as India?

I feel they really work towards creating a community. It turns into avenues to create new ideas or new approaches to subjects and topics. You may not meet these individuals if you are a mechanical engineer or an electrical engineer, professionals from one industry may not meet professionals from another industry. Events such as these, help foster relationships and aide in faster development of ideas.

Where does SAE International fit into this big picture?

SAEInternational and SAEIndia are strong partners; SAEIndia is an affiliate of ours that we are very proud to partner with and helps deploy our activities here in India. So by them being a part of this organisation or this conference, we also can be a part of it. What SAEInternational wants to do is be a part of this by not only support in terms of attendance, but also behind the scenes as well with coaching, encouragement and identifying speakers.

Globally we are looking at EVs being widely adopted, with respect to technologies maturing, with respect to customer adoption. What are your views on the future mobility in India?

I think EVs in general, are going to become more common and the industry is making a bet on it. But the challenge is, does the market place really want it as quickly as they will be building them? And I think this general trend is true around the world and I have a feeling that in India, there is going to be a slightly slower adoption of EVs. Initially because of the cost, that is always going to be a higher factor, but also because the infrastructure will take some time to catch up here in India due to the complex and distributed geography here in India, which may prove to be an extra challenge. However, I feel there may be a compelling need in the future to move in this direction quickly.

The industry is well set on lithium-ion as a battery technology for the future. However, we have seen the emergence of technologies such as metal air batteries. What is your take on battery technologies for the future?

Lithium ion right now has a proven ability to get to where we need to be. It may or may not be the right answer in the long run, with science and technology we will find other solutions. Will these technologies have the right capacities in the near term? Probably not! But will these be an alternative or a better alternative in the future? Yes absolutely. Right now I think the lithium-ion battery has the proven capacity to do what we need it to do today.