In the dynamic realm of the automotive industry, where transformation and innovation have become the driving forces, Kirti Kumar Singh emerges as a prominent figure with profound expertise in quality management. As the Head of Department for Plant Quality and Supplier Quality at M/s Oben Electric in Bangalore, his extensive experience paints a vivid picture of the current state and promising future of electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing in India. With a knack for insightful analysis and a penchant for envisioning the trajectory of the EV market, Kirti Kumar Singh shares his perspectives on the various facets of the industry, ranging from challenges in quality assurance and supply chain intricacies to the role of young professionals in shaping the EV landscape.

In this enlightening Q&A session, Kirti Kumar Singh delves into the nuanced world of EV manufacturing, offering valuable insights into the current state of the industry, the challenges faced by manufacturers, the critical aspects of customer orientation, and the potential for career growth in the EV domain

#IES: As an experienced Quality professional in the automotive industry, how do you see the current state of electric vehicle manufacturing in India and what role do you think the Indian automotive industry will play in the global EV market in the coming years?

Mr Kirti: Current state of electric vehicle manufacturing can be called the “sunrise” industry.

Present state may be somewhat scattered in terms of a complete ecosystem (which will take its own time).

But it’s definitely the future of india. 2W and 3 W will take place at a faster pace and 4 wheeler may take more time.

It’s in learning, growing, falling, emerging state but the speed of development is great.

Some companies are fast learning and the founders are inspiring the young generation to become entrepreneurs which is great. It’s clear that it is not here to stop but to grow rapidly.

India will be in the top 3 major players in global EV markets, it is already in top 3 manufacturing hubs in the world. TESLA coming to India is an example of that. Technology transfer, skilled manpower will take India to places

#IES: What are some of the unique challenges that EV manufacturers face in terms of quality and supply chain compared to traditional automotive manufacturers?

Mr Kirti: EV manufactures have some unique challenges:

a) Skilled manpower being a new industry.

b) Complete product development systems and database/lessons learnt from past mistakes which is generally present in ICE  OEM is not present in EV.

c) Passing new government norms which are changing rapidly.

d) Many new companies entering India with new technology and there is huge competition.

e) Product development process can’t take as much time as ICE vehicles’.

f) Developing charging infrastructure in old facilities like old societies, villages etc. Storage and handling of batteries and other electrical components need special attention. Fire hazards is a big risk.

g) The most unique challenge is installing confidence in customers that the vehicle is safe, can be charged easily and develop trust that this technology works!

h) ARAI norms for battery and motor keeps on changing and becoming more and more stringent.

#IES: In your experience, what are the critical aspects of achieving customer orientation in the eMobility industry, and how can suppliers be encouraged and supported to upgrade their capabilities to meet the increasing demand for EV components?

Mr Kirti: For customer orientation:   a) Awareness on EV industry.   b) Better finance schemes. c) Govt subsidy.

Suppliers need to  understand the EV industry requirements in a better way. They need to be supported in understanding the technology and the segment. Suppliers can be developed by assessing capacity and capability, identify gaps and work on upgrading with an action plan. Free technical training to suppliers.

The ease of doing business for suppliers needs to be made easy by the government. OEM can provide better profit margins to suppliers initially to promote them and work for a greener environment.

#IES: As we move towards a sustainable future with electric mobility, what advice would you give to young professionals aspiring to enter the electric vehicle domain in terms of skill development and career growth opportunities?

Mr Kirti: Young professionals can choose this field and opt it as a career as some people have passion for bikes.

Growth opportunities will be huge as the industry is going to be big. Skill development in fields of battery manufacturing, motor manufacturing is key in learning. Besides academics, young people can also innovate and open up their own start up if they can think out of the box. Nowadays, the government is supporting and pushing the EV Industry a lot. Young people can explore EV sector across the world and can generate ideas which are unique eg. working on battery chemistry or developing a new tech for EV Powertrain.

As an intern they can join EV/Battery making companies and enhance their skill.

#IES: How do you see events like the India eMobility Show contributing to the advancement and growth of the electric vehicle industry in India?

Mr Kirti: Events like the India eMobility Show are a  huge drive for this industry. These events highlight the importance of EV and keep the crowd focused on this industry. When people discuss and interact on a particular topic it provides a lot of new insights and knowledge sharing which helps an industry to grow.

These events are like fuel to the EV industry where people are recognized for their efforts and create positive energy.