In a world that is increasingly recognising the urgency of transitioning to greener and more sustainable modes of transportation, India stands at the forefront of a transformative journey toward electric mobility. This transition isn't merely a shift in the automobile sector but holds the potential to shape the nation's economic landscape, redefine manufacturing paradigms, and contribute significantly to global efforts in combating climate change. At the forefront of this evolution is Hari Shanker A G, a seasoned industry observer with a profound understanding of the manufacturing sector and the dynamics propelling the electric vehicle movement in India.

With an illustrious career intertwined with the manufacturing industry, Hari Shanker A G, the Founder and Publisher of "Machine Maker," a distinguished B2B media entity, has witnessed the evolution of the electric vehicle industry from its nascent stages to its current dynamic phase. In an exclusive Q&A Session, he provides unique insights into the journey of the electric vehicle sector in India, highlighting its growth trajectory, challenges, and the pivotal role that the media plays in shaping perceptions, driving awareness, and influencing policy discussions.

#IES: Throughout your long association with the manufacturing industry, you must have witnessed significant shifts and developments in various sectors. I'm particularly interested in understanding your perspective on the evolution of the electric vehicle industry. Could you share your observations on how the EV industry has grown over time, and what role do you believe the manufacturing sector has played in shaping this growth? Additionally, what challenges and opportunities do you see on the horizon?

Mr Hari: Having worked closely with core manufacturing, I've had the privilege of witnessing the evolution of the EV market in India firsthand. While our traditional automobile sector remains formidable and isn't going anywhere soon, the accelerated adoption of EVs, especially in the 2-wheeler and 3-wheeler segments, is indeed a heartening step towards the nation's larger objective of achieving carbon neutrality. A decade ago, India's tryst with EVs began modestly – we saw cycle rickshaws giving way to e-rickshaws. This transition found significant acceptance, especially in the rural pockets of Eastern and Northern India. Back then, our market heavily leaned on Chinese imports. In fact, this trend continued unchallenged until the onset of the pandemic. Recognising the sector's potential, the Indian government introduced the FAME policies, incentivising EV adoption across the country. The real game-changer, however, came post-pandemic. There was a palpable demand, both from public and private sectors, to indigenise the supply chain. And, indeed, over the past three years, India's EV market has seen consistent and robust growth. But as we say, every silver lining has its cloud. The battery, which is fast becoming the lifeblood of the EV ecosystem, presents its own set of challenges for our nation. Our quest for self-reliance in battery manufacturing faces headwinds, chiefly because of raw material procurement concerns. However, seeing the collaborative efforts of our public and private sectors, I remain optimistic about the trajectory of the EV market in India.

#IES: How does the media influence and contribute to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles? What role does the media play in shaping public perception, driving consumer awareness, and influencing policy discussions related to electric vehicles?

Mr Hari: The media's role in championing green mobility transformation in India is pivotal. Despite being in the early stages of EV adoption, the country's momentum is largely powered by individual choices and investments by e-logistics players. The media, in this context, possesses the power to steer the narrative. They can spotlight the gaps in central and state policies, ensuring more comprehensive and effective policy implementation. Moreover, a targeted media effort in building consumer awareness around the safety and benefits of EVs can be the game-changer in accelerating widespread adoption. B2B media entities, such as "Machine Maker," have a unique vantage point. Their focus is not just on raising awareness but on actionable growth drivers. By championing the cause of a robust local supply chain, they bolster domestic capacities. Simultaneously, by facilitating discussions around bringing global EV technologies to India, they pave the way for innovation. Emphasising R&D, especially in critical sectors like battery and motor manufacturing, ensures that India remains at the cutting edge of this transformative journey. I believe, a proactive and responsible media, both general and specialised like "Machine Maker," is integral to India's EV growth story, influencing both consumer perception and industry direction.

#IES: What significant role do electric vehicles play in promoting the Indian economy, and how can they contribute to the "Make in India" initiative?

Mr Hari: Electric vehicles (EVs) are emerging as a significant catalyst for economic rejuvenation in India. As the nation embarks on its EV journey, it stands at the cusp of not just an environmental revolution, but also an economic one. The transition to EVs promises a multifold impact: it offers a chance to reduce our fossil fuel dependence, potentially cutting down on vast import bills, and paves the way for new job opportunities in EV manufacturing, infrastructure development, and related sectors. The push towards electric mobility also stimulates demand for ancillary industries, including battery production, charging equipment, and software development, injecting fresh vigour into the manufacturing landscape. The "Make in India" initiative, which aims to position India as a global manufacturing hub, aligns seamlessly with the country's EV aspirations. The emphasis on local production of EVs and their components not only ensures that the economic benefits are retained within the country but also attracts foreign investments. As global automotive players recognize India's potential, they are more inclined to set up manufacturing bases here, bringing with them technology transfers, skill development opportunities, and best practices. This can position India as a formidable player in the global EV market, not just as a consumer, but as a producer and innovator. While the primary drive behind EV adoption may be environmental, the ripple effect on the Indian economy is undeniable. As India moves forward, slow and steady, on its EV journey, the intertwining of economic growth, technological advancement, and the "Make in India" vision holds the promise of making India a shining example for the global community.

#IES: How do you think events like the India eMobility Show help in advancing the adoption of electric vehicles and fostering innovation in the electric mobility sector?

Mr Hari: Events like the India eMobility Show play an instrumental role in propelling the electric vehicle (EV) movement in India. In a landscape where the EV sector largely operates in a non-organized manner, there's a pressing need for platforms that offer structure, insight, and collaboration opportunities. Such events are crucial in this regard. The India eMobility Show, beyond being a mere showcase, serves as a melting pot for innovation and growth. It brings to the forefront the latest developments, bridging the gap between industry pioneers, innovators, policymakers, and other stakeholders. By offering a platform where advancements are highlighted, it ensures that players, big and small, are apprised of the current state of the art, allowing them to adapt and evolve. Moreover, as the sector burgeons, these events play a pivotal role in creating industry-wide awareness. They highlight both the potential and the challenges, enabling stakeholders to make informed decisions, charting the path forward. Furthermore, the collaborative essence of such shows can't be understated. By fostering an environment where businesses can form partnerships, they pave the way for collaborative innovation and new product development. These alliances, often born out of mutual understanding and shared objectives, expedite the journey towards a sustainable and robust EV ecosystem in India. In essence, events like the India eMobility Show act as catalysts, propelling the industry towards organised growth, fostering innovation, and advancing EV adoption in the country.