The Future of Low Carbon Mobility: Insights from CLIMAFIX Summit 2023 - India Renewable Energy Consulting – Solar, Biomass, Wind, Cleantech
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Electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining momentum as a promising solution for low-carbon mobility. A discussion on the future of low-carbon mobility solutions, moderated by Satya Seshadri, offered fascinating insights from both startups and investors. 

The panel participants were:

Satya SeshadriEnergy Labs

Alok Chauhan Micelio Mobility

Vinod ShankarJava Capital

Venkatesh Modi Blume Ventures

Jacob Thekkekara – Sugrah Mobility

Nilesh BajajVayve Mobility

Vilas Tank Aventose Energy

Let’s dive into the key points discussed during this session.

Innovative EV Solutions:

  • Sugrah Mobility introduced solar-powered tricycles designed for short-distance commuting needs. Their solar-powered model offers a cost-effective, eco-friendly, and convenient solution for short-distance travel.
  • Vayve Mobility presented small electric cars designed to address urban mobility challenges. These compact vehicles aim to bridge the gap between short and medium-distance travel. Their design aims to offer practicality, efficiency, and eco-friendliness.
  • Aventose Energy showcased electric two-wheelers, aiming to launch soon. They presented a scooter and motorcycle platform simultaneously developed from scratch. With 80% of the components shared between different models, they aim for volume scalability and cost reduction, ensuring a quick succession of vehicle launches.

The Investment Landscape:

  • Investors emphasized that their investments span the entire value chain. One company, for example, is a three-wheeler commercial vehicle manufacturer, focusing on potential for disruption and innovation within the company.
  • Intellectual property (IP) in this space is crucial. Investors focus on IP-driven companies, seeking out unique and disruptive ideas that have the potential for long-term success. Companies like E-Plane, innovating in the electric propulsion of aircraft, fall into this category.
  • Investments focus on enablers of the value chain of clean mobility. They invest in B2B-focused businesses that can have outsized outcomes, such as Electric Pay, Sheru, and Oorja.

Challenges and Opportunities:

  • Startups discussed the challenges and opportunities they face. They emphasized the need to scale the business and the importance of having the right team. While raising funds is crucial, creating a reliable, well-designed product should be the primary focus.
  • Building four-wheel EVs presents multifaceted challenges, including tech, design, branding, and reliability. The journey to building an EV, from the ground up, requires a holistic approach.

Retrofitting IC Cars to Electric: Not Practical:

  • Retrofitting IC cars to electric isn’t practical. While it’s possible, it’s not efficient or cost-effective. The fundamental differences in design, powertrain, and components render it ineffective. Moreover, it doesn’t align with the vision of scaling up businesses.

The Investment Landscape and Challenges:

  • Venkatesh (Blume Ventures) explained the VC’s perspective on investing in OEMs. He emphasized the need for substantial differentiation for OEMs to attract investment. Investments rely on the potential for innovation and disruption.
  • Investors echoed the need for differentiation to attract investment, emphasizing the importance of IP-driven investments.
  • Alok (Micelio Mobility) offered advice, emphasizing that venture capital is only one source of financing. He urged companies to look beyond VC and consider other sources, like banks, DFIs, and debt.

The session concluded with the acknowledgment that the future of low-carbon mobility lies in innovative solutions, infrastructure, and policy changes. The panelists agreed that innovative ideas, robust infrastructure, and supportive policies will pave the way for a greener, more sustainable future in mobility.

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About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.

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