AWS puts Mahindra Electric in top gear as India adopts EVs: CEO

Las Vegas (IANS) With India planning to replace a significant portion of its conventional internal combustion engine fleet by electric vehicles (EV) in the next decade and target 30 per cent of all cars on the road to be EVs by 2030, the segment leader Mahindra Electric is witnessing a robust uptick for its vehicles not just in metro cities but also tier-1 and tier-2 cities, its CEO Mahesh Babu told IANS on Wednesday.

Mahindra, the biggest electric car seller in the country, terms its eVerito "India's first electric sedan".

Its electric 3-wheeler range Treo and Treo Yaari -- India's first lithium-ion electric 3-wheelers -- is also witnessing a great adoption.

As the company sees the future of the mobility as both electric and digital, the daunting task of handling data and maintaining an agile, scalable and secure workflow -- anticipating millions of connected electric vehicles soon on the Indian roads -- is what concerns Mahindra Electric the most.

Amazon's Cloud arm Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is organising its annual flagship conference "AWS re: Invent" here this week, fits the bill for them.

"Electric vehicles are bringing in best of the technologies together. The rapid progress demands us to be agile, secured and quick. AWS has empowered us better with handling data," Babu said.

"We are using load balancers and services that can auto scale as the load increases. Agility comes from their serverless architecture that helps us to innovate faster. AWS Managed Services are compliant and have built-in security measures that include security updates and patching, etc," he elaborated.

Driven by an urge to cut pollution in the cities, enhance national fuel security and make it a major global manufacturing hub for electric vehicles, India has announced several incentives this year to boost the EV sector, ranging from tax cut to allow sale of electricity as "service" for charging of electric vehicles in a bid to attract investments into charging infrastructure.

The government has introduced an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore for Phase 2 of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME 2) scheme to boost electric mobility.

According to Babu, With FAME 2 and other benefits, they have seen an uptake in the sales of electric three-wheelers and electric cars in the fleet segment.

"We expect the demand to come from the mass mobility segment first (3-wheelers, 2-wheelers, buses and fleet cars) followed by personal segment. Mahindra's electric vehicles are witnessing demand not only in metro cities but also tier-1 and tier-2 cities have shown strong acceptance to our electric three-wheeler Treo," Babu told IANS.

Close on the heels of the Union Budget providing tax relief for buying EVs, the GST Council in its 36th meeting in July cut the tax on EVs from 12 per cent to 5 per cent. The Council also slashed rate for EV chargers from 18 per cent to 5 per cent making electric vehicles affordable for the buyers.

Road transport accounts for around 90 per cent of the total emissions in the transport sector in India. Given the large import dependence of the country for petroleum products, it is imperative that there should be a shift of focus to alternative fuels to support our mobility in a sustainable manner, according to the Economic Survey 2018-19.

The lithium-ion powered three-wheelers are set to be a natural progression for the industry and Mahindra Electric is looking to ramp up its efforts in the li-ion battery space.

"Mahindra Electric was the first to bring in lithium-ion powered auto with the launch of Treo. We have an experience of our 170 million electric kilometres in this technology in India that has helped us to understand the economics around EVs," informed Babu.

In 2018, the company announced collaboration with LG Chem to bring in global Li-ion technology to India.

"The company is further investing in a new EV manufacturing plant in Chakan (Pune) and a global R&D centre in Bengaluru that will enable us to achieve scalability and agility to roll out new products quickly," the Mahindra Electric CEO added.

Mahindra Electric, he said, is now better equipped and flexible to quickly scale up its EV and connected mobility goals.

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