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View from India: Indian roads gear up for electric mobility

As our roads gear up to usher autonomous vehicles (AVs), the nextgen vehicle consumers may or may not learn driving.

We previously looked at shared mobility and electric vehicles (EVs) in View From India in September 2017. The latest move in this direction is a 2018 National E-Mobility programme launched by the Ministry of Power.

Electric cars Mahindra e-Verito sedan and Tata Tigor EV have been launched as part of the initiative and are expected to replace the existing petrol and diesel cars used by the government. The National E-Mobility programme aims to create an ecosystem for e-mobility and this includes electric vehicle manufacturers, charging infrastructure development companies and fleet operators. An announcement has also been made that India does not need an EV policy.

A transition from internal combustion engines to electric mobility will hopefully be on the anvil. Auto production is becoming more complex as vehicle to vehicle (V2V) will communicate through multidisciplinary approach.

“Autonomous vehicles will impact our lives. The vehicle space has a huge amount of technology. The roads of the future will be simulation-driven and emphasis will be on antenna design simulation to facilitate the movement of AVs on the roads,” said Peter Futter, senior application specialist, Altair, addressing the audience at the India Altair Technology Conference, 2018 India ATCx Simulation-Driven Innovation. The company has a multidisciplinary simulation technology to validate different architectures involved in the communication system.

V2V communication is one of the important building blocks for AVs. Connectivity should be reliable across the system. This also means that while designing the vehicle it should also take into account the system’s level of operations.

When we look at V2V communication, what comes to the forefront is electromagnetic (EM) simulation. EM simulation is gaining prominence in the auto industry as the communication systems within the vehicle are on the rise and are complex in nature. Electronic modules, sensors and cables need to sync together to facilitate the integration of Bluetooth with mobile phones, amplitude modulation (AM) with frequency modulation (FM), TV antennas with GPS receivers.

Besides V2V communication, vehicle electrification is another trend to watch out for. “It is estimated that 20 per cent of the passenger cars and light trucks produced in 2025 will be hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs). On the technology side, Tesla appears to have set the record in vehicle production, clocking revenue of $2.7 billion,” highlighted Futter.

In the Indian scenario, many auto manufacturers have announced the electrification of their new offerings at the Auto Expo 2018 that was held earlier in the year. For instance, UDO is a concept two-seater electric mobility pod from the Mahindra & Mahindra EV segment, while e-SURVIVOR is an electric vehicle from Maruti Suzuki India. TREZOR and ZOE e-Sport are electric cars from Renault.

Startups like Emflux Motors are preparing to launch Emflux One, their electric sports bike which is expected to hit the Indian roads by 2019. For its part, Greenvolt Mobility LLP has designed an energy-efficient bike using the Altair Flux Motor. “Our electric two-wheeler bike is less than 250W. We’ve already done prototypes of these bikes and are ready for production,” added Kartik S and Sagar T. Both are directors, and driverline designers at Greenvolt Mobility.

These new offerings fall in line with the grand vision of achieving 100 per cent e-mobility by 2030. This ambition was announced by Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways. This mandate reinforces the country’s vision to lower both emissions as well as dependency on imported fuel. Of course, for this to be realised we require a clear policy and an ecosystem for an electric fleet to take to the roads in a big way.

Charging infrastructure and lithium-ion battery plants require the boost. As in many parts of the world, charging stations need to be established alongside shopping malls and convenience stores. There are other highlights. “Transport OEMs require smaller, lighter and greener solutions to convert fuel-driven vehicles into electrically powered ones. Channels for creating wireless electric-charging facilities for EVs need to be opened up. However, road blocks for e-batteries include escalating costs. We need to create a market for high-performance batteries that are less noisy,” explained Sandeep Ramagiri, senior application engineer, Flux, Altair.

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