MD of VE Commercial Vehicles, Vinod Aggarwal, has announced, new unit economics and business models will be required for the Indian electric trucks market to become viable.
In a recent interview, Aggarwal said, “We have recently sold light-duty electric trucks and are also working on heavy-duty e-trucks. The demand is at a nascent stage, hopefully, as we go along the demand will improve. Because, similarly to TCO in e-buses is now being done on a per kilometer basis, the same has not yet come in the trucking segment. Once the business model comes in the trucking segment for instance like operators in the bus segment, then we may start seeing viability. Otherwise, the initial cost is very high, people are not willing to invest.”
Unlike two-wheelers and passenger vehicles, where there is constraint around the size and weight of the battery, the CV industry can very well manage to absorb these two parameters much better than other segments. But the biggest challenge revolves around the cost of ownership, in addition to policy support. As a result, stakeholders such as operators, fleet owners and OEMs are working on newer business models to make electric trucks practical for customers.
Interestingly, Volvo Trucks recently sold one fully-built imported HD e-truck in India, but currently, the company has no plans to manufacture them locally. This he says is because the numbers are very low. On the other hand, he also does not rule out the possibility of the same happening if the numbers are right.
Aggarwal, also points out that the charging infrastructure needs to keep up pace, especially on the highways for electric Medium and heavy trucks to become desirable and practical.
Going forward, with the industry expected to continue to see growth and cost economics coming down for electric vehicles, the possibility of HD e-trucks becoming a reality is not so far off.