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Govts must speed up investments in EV charging infra: Volvo Cars – EQ Mag

Govts must speed up investments in EV charging infra: Volvo Cars – EQ Mag


Some customers will hold back from buying EVs due to lack of such infra

The electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in India is incomplete and the government authorities — whether at the Centre or the state level — should speed up their investment in this area, said Nick Connor, Head of Asia Pacific region, Volvo Cars, on Tuesday.

Connor said some customers will hold back from buying EVs due to the lack of charging infrastructure in India. “The problem right now is that there are far too few EVs on the road (in India) to really make it commercially viable for third-party companies to make big capital investments in charging areas. But, it (investments) will come,” he told reporters.

“Collectively, if we believe that EVs are the way to go, then we need to bring pressure to bear politically on (government) authorities to encourage the speed of investments in infrastructure,” he said.

Swedish luxury carmaker Volvo had in October last year launched XC40 Recharge, which was its first EV in India. The company plans to launch a second EV called C40 in India in the last quarter of 2023. By 2030, the company globally plans to sell only EVs.

Connor said that if India has to shift to a much larger number of EVs, then it must have a much bigger charging infrastructure that can charge all the cars on the road on a regular basis. Around 1,800 odd Volvo cars were sold in India in 2022.

“We are being encouraged all around the world to produce EVs and put them on the market. They are expensive to produce for us. They are hard to produce. It is incumbent upon us to say to government authorities, whether it is federal or state, that you need to help with the infrastructure here,” Connor mentioned.

“There will come a point that the sheer number of EVs on the road sets a process in motion that (private) investments are made. I don’t think we are there,” he noted.

Connor said 70 per cent of the company’s car buyers in India are in 24-40 years of age. “That is younger than any other country in the world, even including China which has a particularly young demographic among our purchasers and is completely different from the more developed western markets,” he mentioned.

Before the pandemic, the purchases from the age group of 24-40 was above 60 per cent, Jyoti Malhotra, Managing Director, Volvo Car India, said. “Now, it has grown to around 70 per cent. It is continuously growing,” Malhotra noted.

Connor said EVs really appeal to young people and the company’s sustainability message (of completely shifting to EVs by 2030) also resonates with them.

When Malhotra was asked about the sales outlook in India in 2023, he replied that giving an exact number is a bit difficult as the supply chain constraints (like semiconductor chip shortage) still remain.

However, the company expects to cross the pre-COVID peak of 2018, when it sold about 2,600 units in India, in 2023. “That is where we see the market going, and we should also get there,” Malhotra mentioned.

“We started selling our electric car only in the last two months of 2022. In the last two months, about 17 per cent of our total sales were electric cars. It was still constrained by supplies. We could have done more,” he noted. So, going forward, EVs — as a percentage of our total portfolio — will become stronger, he added.

Source: PTI
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network