The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil – said Sheikh Zaki Yamani, when he was Saudi Arabian Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources, about more than a decade ago. Almost everyone, even today, seemed to agree with it at the National Conference on ‘Driving Affordable and Accessible Technology Innovations’ – Sustain that was organised by ACMA on July 27, 2015 in New Delhi.
Present at the event were eminent members from the industry, ACMA (Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India) and SIAM (Society of Automobile Manufacturers) who resonated the same optimistic views about the future. The knowledge partner of the event was – KPMG, which is a professional services company. With its professionals, in India, the company leverages the global network of firms in providing technology-enabled services and detailed knowledge of local laws, regulations, competition and market. ACMA, is the apex body that represents the collective interests of the Indian Automotive Component Industry.
Among smorgasbord of ideas, was that of Innovation. Mr. I V Rao, (Executive Advisor, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.) discussed the importance of Innovation and Policy as one of the key-driver of Innovation in the Industry. He stressed on the importance of national incentive schemes such as FAME (from the Government of India) and how such policies can make way for Hybrid and Electric vehicles and in turn promote cleaner mobility of the future.
Government of India is committed to ensure that cleaner future indeed prevails. Mr. Ambuj Sharma (Additional Secretary, Ministry of Public Enterprises) informed about the world-class facilities like NATRIP that are present around the country. The facilities have been recently modernised and the laboratories are equipped to enable future R&D of the Electric and Hybrid vehicles.
While India is making progress surely, it is only BYD (Beyond Your Dreams) perhaps that has truly arrived and has given the World a glimpse of sustainable future by operating Zero Emission public transport vehicles on a staggering scale in Shenzhen, China. The company is a World leader in battery powered electric vehicles. Under the leadership of Ketsu Zhang (Senior Regional Manager, BYD Auto Industry Co. Ltd.), who was present at the event, the company setup BYD Auto India Subsidiary and promoted first electric bus in India.
Mr N. S. Ramanathan (Head – Advanced Engineering, Lucas TVS Ltd.) shared the roadmap of the underlying technologies that would go into the Electric vehicles of the future and spoke at length about other innovations in the areas of Power Electronics, Energy Efficient Brushless motor solutions, motors and controllers.
Innovations in Heavy Commercial vehicles is at par with the cars and buses too, Mr B. Srinivas (Senior Vice President – Project, VE Commercial Vehicles Ltd.) informed about the key developments in the area of Telematics - application based fleet managing system for fleet owners and training programs conducted for drivers to enhance the mileage of vehicles etc.
Some other facts about Industry that made highlights on the day include:
- Indian Component Industry witnessed 11% growth & has a turnover of INR 2340 billion (April, 2014 – March, 2015)
- Is expected to grow upto INR 6347 billion in turnover by 2020
- Indian Automotive Industry today contributes 22% to country’s manufacturing GDP
- Two Wheeler will continue to remain the mainstay and will account for 70 – 75% of the industry volumes
Major technological developments have also taken place in the fields of Connected Vehicles and electronics, Smartphone applications that can handle multiple tasks like – locating charging stations, predictive maintenance reminders, location tracking, analytics etc. Although some of the technologies have not been implemented but gradually they will make way into all types of automobiles and would become what people from industry call - “basic hygiene factor”.
Apart from traditional cars, as we see them today, there’s an ecosystem that’s evolving and aims to provide more immersive and seamless experience through Human Machine Interface. The way we communicate with cars or the cars communicate with each other (using turn signals) is bound to change and it is only a matter of time.
Not everything is bright though, OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturers) grapple with major quality issues when it comes to procuring parts from tier II and tier III suppliers and it is perhaps one of the major bottlenecks in the supply chain that keeps the industry as a whole from performing upto its intended capacity.
Customer demands have changed drastically in the past and the major challenge that lies ahead of the industry is to anticipate these demands and provide the customers a customized experience and a future alternative that is sustainable too. The challenge perhaps which the Industry faces is not so much so, whether something can be done or not, but in arriving at a decision whether it is really worth doing, and identifying technologies of the future and invest time and effort in what might matter and emerge to be successful.