The three-day conference deliberated on how the industry can transition from conventional vehicles to advanced electrified vehicles, with active participation from think-tanks, policy experts, government bodies, OEMs, start-ups and thought leaders
The third edition of the International Transportation Electrification Conference (iTEC) India, which was recently organised at Bengaluru focussed on the theme of ‘eMobility Solutions for Community.’ The three-day conference deliberated on how the industry can transition from conventional internal combustion engine vehicles to advanced electrified vehicles. iTEC India 2019 covered topics concerning components, systems, standards and grid interface technologies, which are all related to efficient power conversion for all types of electrified transportation. Discussions and solutions at the conference were directed towards the establishment of electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles as well as heavy duty, rail and off-road.
The lighting of the lamp by various dignitaries marked the official opening of the conference, which saw the participation of delegates representing various sectors of the automotive ecosystem. Dr Bala Bharadvaj, Managing Director, Boeing India Engineering & Technology Centre, and President, SAEINDIA, welcomed the gathering with his address. He spoke about the importance of various teams working together for development of technologies, with collaborations being the focus area. Mobility needs to change with multiple disciplines, such as transportation via land, sea and air needing to come together to solve problems collectively, added Dr Bharadvaj. The industry should change e-mobility to “we-mobility” to enhance working together, and keep the environment in mind by leaving little residue while creating mobility solutions, he opined.
The welcome address was followed by a speech by Dr Aravind Bharadwaj, CTO, Mahindra & Mahindra, who offered an overview about the history of iTEC in India, covering the last two editions of the conference. He observed that e-mobility has progressed extensively, and the choice of Bengaluru as the location of this edition of iTEC was due to its technology ecosystem for IT, software and electromobility. The conference is also being organised to try and impact the overall e-mobility policy framework in the country, he concluded.
Dr David Schutt, CEO, SAE International; Georges Zissis, President, IEEE IAS, and Dr Veeranna SH, Managing Director, Karnataka Trade Promotional Organisation also spoke on the occasion. Accentuating the need for the industry to focus on the future of mobility, Dr Schutt said mobility is transforming radically from the automobile as well as from the traditional discipline of powertrain. The focus is on creating mobility with zero congestion, accidents and fatality, with technology being the driving force for millions of dollars of investments, Dr Schutt noted. Conferences like iTEC will shape the future actions required in the development of future mobility, he noted. Meanwhile, Zissis was of the view that mobility needs to be respected along with that of the environment and added that discussions around smart systems are required for mobility. Dr Veeranna highlighted the steps undertaken by the state of Karnataka towards the enhanced adoption of e-mobility solutions.
The Guest of Honour at the inauguration of iTEC India 2019 was Dr Guenter Fraidl, Senior Vice-President, Powertrain Systems, AVL. He presented e-mobility solutions for the community and said that the auto industry can expect more change over the next five years than the preceding five years. Challenges come in the form of requirement of air quality, increasing oil import bills, high cost and complexity of battery electric vehicles, and CO2 lifecycle requirements, he noted. A comprehensive sustainability is much more than just ‘tank-to-wheel’ CO2, and in the Indian context the adoption of a technology mix may be the future, he noted. The future of the internal combustion engine (ICE) can be dubbed ‘ICE 4.0’ that is fully-networked and makes the best of energy management, noted Dr Fraidl. The key challenge for e-mobility is the balance of sustainability and affordability, with potential in India arising from three-wheelers and two-wheelers over passenger vehicles. He concluded that electrification is the future, but it is much more than battery electric vehicles.
Prashanth Doreswamy, Head, Continental India and Managing Director, Continental Automotive India presided over the inaugural session as the chief guest. He presented an industry perspective on the future of mobility. He talked about 2030 and future mobility with regards to safety, efficiency, comfort, social inclusion and accessibility. In terms of the future of the powertrains, Doreswamy said 2025 will see the final development of combustion engines, and after 2030, he expects production to begin on the final generation of these engines. The combustion technology will be phased out after 2040 and 2050 will see CO2-free cities, he noted. Community help will be required for technology & R&D, building expertise, legislation and schemes as well in cost optimisation.
The participation of engineering service providers and component manufacturers enabled the attendees to grasp the level of technology available for vehicle electrification in the Indian scenario, as well as next generation innovations on offer. The focus was essentially on creating future transportation solutions around e-mobility that would be sustainable and affordable. This especially holds good in a market like India that is highly price-sensitive.
Challenges in the form of environmental, infrastructural & investment conditions, and limitations are aplenty and unique to the sub-continent. Therefore, frugal engineering combined with building global competency levels for e-mobility development is of utmost importance. There was unanimity among various participants that a more collaborative, open and agile form of overall electric vehicle development along with mind-set change of teams within organisations to work together is integral.
Over 150 technical papers were presented on various topics related to the electrification of mobility, in addition to three plenary sessions moderated by eminent industry personalities and two Leadership Forums on key topics related to the Indian EV Industry. The first forum focussed on the topic ‘Electric Vehicle – Boon or Bane for the Automotive Industry?’, while the second focussed on ‘Sustainable Mobility Solutions – Affordable Technology Enablers’ was moderated by Deepangshu Dev Sarmah, Editor-in-Chief, Auto Tech Review.
The exposition featured 25 stalls from various companies, who showcased pioneering, cutting-edge solutions for e-mobility. iTEC India 2019 also included a ‘Ride & Drive’ session, showcasing a 48 V hybrid engine by Valeo, which offered an experiential demonstration to delegates of the conference.
Preceding the event, iTEC India also hosted a hackathon to address the issue of moving towards electrified mobility, which featured 90 applicants addressing six critical problem solutions. The winning team of the hackathon was ‘Praxians,’ from Government College of Technology, Coimbatore, which presented a solution for the problem statement – ‘Making Energy Efficient EVs of the future.’ The team was awarded a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, while the runner-up team was Team ‘Safety First’ from Mahindra Electric, who took home a cash prize of Rs 50,000. The winner and the runner-up team were also given an opportunity to be part of the conference.
While companies showcased various tools, solutions and technologies for the development of vehicle electrification, a common factor that was discussed was the collaborative work that needs to be carried out between the engineering and various other teams of an organisation. The future of mobility globally as well as for India will be electrified, with the question being what type of electrification is to be considered for adoption. While pure battery EVs may be the route for two-wheelers, three-wheelers and buses, other forms of transportation may consider hybridisation systems.
iTEC India 2019 was organised at a critical time, when India is planning its transition to electric mobility across the country. The event provided a platform for think-tanks, policy experts, government bodies, OEMs, start-ups and thought leaders to collaborate and identify solutions to various problems facing the transition to EVs.
TEXT: Naveen Arul