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At a time when the transport sector accounts for 13.5% of India’s energy-related carbon emissions, a panel of executives at the SAP Presents Mint Sustainability Action Summit 2022 discussed the pros and cons of commercial electric vehicles.

“By 2040, 75% of the new vehicles sold in the world will be EVs. And, if you take India, within the next few years itself, at least two- wheeler and three-wheeler segments will have a penetration level of more than 25%. Even four wheelers will be more than 10-15%," said Deepak Jain, partner, Bain and Co.

Amit Sinha, president, group strategy, Mahindra and Mahindra said, “We acquired a company called Reva in 2010 and we hoped that the ecosystem, customer preferences and cost curves will become favourable. But, lately we see a bog inflexion point coming," he said.

“When such a large technology shift happens, there are three main drivers for adoption—technology, ecosystem and economy. If even one factor is missing, the output is zero. There is a lot of emphasis on creating a sustainable charging infrastructure, but a lot more has to happen looking at the size of our country, the population of vehicles, and the demography," said Satyakam Arya, managing director and chief executive officer at Daimler India Commercial Vehicles Pvt. Ltd. Daimler is also working on hydrogen fuel for trucks.

Tailpipe emissions contribute to the bulk of any automobile’s emissions. But, issues of sustainability and emission control need to be looked at in a more holistic manner. “Real sustainability happens when we deal with each of these elements, not only within the boundaries of our corporation, beyond our boundaries," said S.J.R. Kutty, chief sustainability officer, Tata Motors.

Castrol India is working with OEMs to understand their engineering problems as they transition, said Sandeep Sangwan, MD, Castrol India. Varun Agni, co-founder, Bounce, said the company is opening up its battery swapping infrastructure to others. In two-wheelers, it is more cost-effective to own a EV as opposed to an ICE engine vehicle, he said.

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