Secretary, MoPNG and DHI shines spotlight on the future of Indian mobility at 61st Annual Convention organized by SIAM

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New Delhi: The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the apex automobile industry body, marked its 61st Annual Convention with a series of virtual plenary sessions deliberating upon the revival and future of the automotive industry.

Gracing the occasion for the third plenary session were Mr Arun GoelSecretary, Department of Heavy Industry, Government of India and Mr Tarun KapoorSecretary, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India, who addressed the dignitaries and the automotive industry on the topic, Crystal Ball Gazing–Future of Mobility in India.

Sharing his vision, Mr Arun Goel, said,“We are very optimistic about the Indian auto industry. All segments will grow in the coming times. The personal mobility segment will have the potential to grow by 30% and the freight segment will grow by 50% over the next decade. The industry will have to improve on two accounts with respect to in-house capabilities 1) Industrial skills 2) Technical Skills. The skill gap that exists in India can be ironed out by establishing skill councils guided by the industry. Most importantly, we need to develop technology indigenously.  Further, EV is one of the biggest disruptions that happened to the Indian auto industry, off late. I can vouch for the fact that Government is walking the talk when it comes to EVs. The revisiting of FAME guidelines is an example of this, and so is the recent PLI schemes that we have announced. Now is the time for the industry to walk the talk.”

Addressing the dignitaries, Mr Tarun Kapoor expressed that in order to address economic and environmental challenges with regards to petroleum products in India, it is necessary to shift towards fuel options available in the country such as focusing upon blending of fuels. He highlighted that around 8% ethanol blending is done across the country except in the North East and the aim is to now shift that number to 20%. Mr Kapoor said that the Government is targeting to install EV charging infrastructure across 50,000 retail outlets in the next 3 to 4 years. He further emphasized upon the advantages of hybrids, hydrogen, and other natural gas.

In his opening remarks, Mr Vikram Kirloskar, Chairman, SIAM Passenger Vehicle CEOs Council & Vice Chairman, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd, said, “The direction provided by the Hon’ble Prime minister during Independence Day’s speech is truly visionary as it provides a pathway of choosing a diverse energy mix that leverages our unique strengths and best exploits India’s potential. To enable the auto industry to realize the national goals, it is necessary to have a consistent long-term policy roadmap that is based on socially relevant objectives such as energy security, import reduction, job creation, carbon mitigation etc. For overall road safety improvement, we must work on the 4 E’s – Engineering, Education, Enforcement, & Emergency Care.”

Mr Shingo Konomoto, Chairman, President & CEO, Nomura Research Institute, Japan, said that increasing urbanization and motorization can pose multiple challenges related to environment, safety and traffic congestion. Japan has been able to overcome similar issues in the past using new generation vehicles, high speed rail and intelligent traffic. He emphasized that urban mobility is a key component of urbanization and Japan has evolved to create integrated system and modes that are helping the country. He further added that in India, the future of mobility will be developed around the themes of clean, connected, safe and inclusive and it will be further driven by ‘Connected’ as vehicles and infrastructure will communicate with each other.

While sharing his expertise on the topic, Dr Ali IzadiAPAC Research Head, Bloomberg NEFSouth Korea, focused upon electrification of mobility and opportunities in India and the world. Giving a global perspective, he reported exponential growth in global e-mobility across vehicle segments. Speaking about India, he pointed out that current EV penetration is less than 1%; however, EV segment grew quite rapidly in 2020 despite pandemic related challenges and he projected that 53% of new passenger vehicles will be electric by 2040. Highlighting that while two and three wheeler EV segments will grow much rapidly in India, passenger and commercial vehicle segments would take a longer time to get to electrification. However, he cautioned that while EVs contribute in lowering carbon emissions from usage point of view, manu -facturing process of lithium ion batteries is emission intensive and can contribute as much as 50% higher emissions, as compared to ICE vehicles, if clean electricity for manufacturing is unavailable.

In his lead presentation, Dr VK Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog elaborated on the emerging trends in mobility. He emphasized that electric vehicle is the way ahead for the country to address issues of climate change and crude import. He presented broad road map wherein it was evident that all technologies such as electric, hybrid and fuel cell, all have good potential.

Thanking all the dignitaries for sharing insightful perspectives, Mr Gurpratap Boparai, Managing Director, Skoda Auto Volkswagen India Pvt. Ltd concluded the session with the note that all stakeholder should support the overall directions suggested by the government. We all need to be a part of the global mobility community and hence it is important that India should invest in new age automobile technologies.

“Transformation is going to be challenging but we need to be future ready in adopting advanced technology solutions. Such adoption of indigenously developed technology will make us more future forward and agile in the shorter as well as in the longer term.” said Mr Boparai.

About SIAM

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) is a not-for-profit apex national body representing all major vehicle and vehicular engine manufacturers in India. SIAM works towards supporting sustainable development of the Indian Automobile Industry with the vision that India emerges as the destination of choice in the world for design and manufacture of automobiles. It also works towards facilitating enhancement of the competitiveness of the Indian Automobile Industry, reducing cost of vehicles, increasing productivity, and achieving global standards of quality.