During the Auto Expo 2023, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the apex body representing all major vehicle and vehicular engine manufacturers in India, organised and hosted various events in Greater Noida. On the second day of expo, it organised 2nd Global Electrification Mobility Summit (GEMS). The event themed 'Vidyutikaran – Mapping India’s Pathway to Electrification' took place on 12th January witnessing participation from many foreign and Indian delegates. The following day Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, inaugurated the Ethanol Pavilion at the International Symposium for Thriving Eco-Energy in Mobility (ISTEM) at the India Expo Mart. Changing dynamics in the global automotive trade policies were also discussed at Auto Trade Dialogue on the fourth day of the expo.
India’s Pathway to Electrification
With global support including from the European Union and industry associations like ACMA and CII, Sushant Naik, Chairman of SIAM e-mobility group and Global Head – Govt. & public affairs, Tata Motors presented a welcome note at the 2nd edition of GEMS 2023. “India has committed to achieve net zero by 2070. Considering that the transport sector contributes to around 80 per cent of air pollution, the primary focus should be to make zero emission vehicles in India,” added Naik. President of SIAM, Vinod Aggarwal addressed, “Electrification is a key step if we are to achieve India’s goal of decarbonisation. The FAME 1 and FAME 2 scheme, PLI scheme has played a significant role in pushing the adoption of EVs in India. In fact, 70,000 EV two-wheelers have already been sold.”
The discussions and events at Auto Expo 2023 have opened future endeavours for sustainable development for India. The government is also supporting industries and businesses to undertake initiatives to drive EV adoption. Vivek Bhimanwar, IAS & Transport Commissioner, Maharashtra Govt, at GEMS 2023, announced, “There has been a marked growth in EV adoption in 2022 as compared to 2021, and we anticipate that 10 per cent of all four-wheelers on the road will be EVs. We are providing subsidies to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and we have also exempted taxes till 2025.” Sudhendu J Sinha, Adviser—infrastructure connectivity and electric mobility at NITI Aayog also graced the event supporting the initiative.
The summit was jammed up with gripping and interesting sessions. The sessions were equipped from talking about the financial aspect of xEV (hybrid electric vehicles), learning from stories of global xEV leaders, and discussing state policies on the issue to strategizing the future for India’s electrification. Dr Hanif Qureshi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Heavy Industries, said, “Electric Mobility is a significant step and as batteries are an important component of EVs, we do have a PLI scheme to encourage manufacturing of advanced chemistry cells in India. Apart from this, ethanol blending and hybrid vehicles will play a significant role towards decarbonisation and we have already achieved 10 per cent of the ethanol blending target.”
Guest countries session introduced the global leaders and was themed ‘Learning from the electrification story of global xEV leaders and strategizing the 2030 roadmap for India's electrification’. It delved into how different countries are approaching vehicle electrification and strategizing their future. The technological shifts towards a sustainable future were also talked about with fast-track charging, battery chemistries for the future, emphasise resource efficiency & circular economy aspects and key imperatives for the EV ecosystem in India. Mike Hawes, CEO, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said, “A lot of companies around the world are targeting to go all EV by 2035 and for this, we need to develop a range of EV-centric solutions and compel brands to sell a set percentage of EVs. Ethanol, decarbonisation, affordability, everything needs to be taken into consideration to push EV adoption.”
Development in ethanol adoption
SIAM and US Grains Council signed an MoU to promote of ethanol blends at International Symposium during Auto Expo’23
The following day's conference, ISTEM, took place on January 13, 2023, focused on promoting ethanol as a sustainable fuel and covered topics for stakeholder discussion for bringing clarity on the fuel transition. The SIAM and the US Grains Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding during the conference. President of SIAM, Vinod Aggarwal and Josh Miller, Chairman, USGC in presence of Hardeep Singh Puri, representing Govt of India and Gloria Berbena, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy, signed the MoU toward the promotion of higher ethanol blends in the Indian gasoline mix and its impact on the automobile industry. The government of India has mandated SIAM to promote ethanol as a transportation fuel, jointly with the Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI). India’s ethanol blending programme is driven by the highest level within the government. The important deadlines decided for pan India implementation of E20 (20 per cent blend of ethanol in fuels) are 2023 for vehicles to be material compliant, and 2025 for vehicles to be fully E20 compliant. Leading four-wheeler, two-wheelers and oil marketing companies participated in the exposition and showcased their flex-fuel technology. The knowledge partners UNICA from Brazil and the US grain council from US, supported to spread ethanol knowledge to Indian customers.
“Year 2006 is the time when the journey of Ethanol started. Brazil and the US were only ones who had ethanol. Cut to the present times and I am glad that an MoU has been signed between India and the US council,” said Puri while addressing the conference as chief guest. “SIAM appreciates the role and vision of the US council in developing long-term partnerships with Indian stakeholders, creating opportunities and adding value. We are now aligned for rolling out E20 material-compliant vehicles and production of E20-tuned vehicles. Ethanol adoption, apart from leading to GHG emission reductions, will also help the country reduce its import dependency, thus saving precious foreign exchange. This move is in line with SIAM’s vision of building the nation responsibly,” told Aggarwal. Bento Albuquerque, Ex-Minister of Mines & Energy, Brazil, said, “India and Brazil can work together in providing affordable bio-energy to the automobile industry and requires multi-stake collaboration.”
The conference witnessed national & international stakeholders of the ethanol economy as participants, also including ethanol producers, technology providers and leading global OEMs. In a plenary session themed ‘Biofuels: Boon for the Indian Sustainability Roadmap’, Sunil Kumar, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas said, “India is ready to roll out E20 shortly and ultimately will move towards flex fuel transition.” The audience’s excitement rose after the presentations by Ron Lamberty, Senior Vice President, American Coalition for Ethanol on ‘US Experience and use of Ethanol in the US’. Dr Plinio Nastari, President, Datagro, presented on ‘Brazilian handling of ethanol’ and Rafael Chang, President, Toyota, Brazil chose the topic ‘On market transition towards ethanol’ for his presentation. To put up India’s perspective Dr S S V Ramakumar, Director, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Research and Development, presented on ‘Indian ethanol experience’.
Further discussions at the event talked about technical perspectives, the disadvantages of carbon fuels and their contribution to curbing air pollution and how energy security can be fostered using indigenous biofuel sources. Shantanu Gupta, Executive Director, Indian Oil Corporation Limited explained the SATAT Scheme, and its directives towards natural gas production for affordable transportation and told Indian Oil is aiming to reach net zero by 2046.
Talking about automotive policies
Dignitaries at auto trade dialogue dais having panellists from different countries
Another principal event hosted by SIAM at Auto Expo 2023 was Auto Trade Dialogue on January 14, 2023. The event played an important role in discussing changing dynamics in the global automotive trade policies. Experts from different regions of the world marked their presence and put forward their views on policy initiatives for the auto sector’s developments, and emerging mobility scenarios, and showcased the learning and experiences of their respective countries. India being a significant part of the global automobile industry looks forward to being a market leader. Dr Hanif Qureshi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Heavy Industries, Government of India, said, “With auto industry’s turnover of $123 billion, India is one of the largest markets globally. We hope to strengthen our relationship with Governments, manufacturers & consumers, and build an ecosystem where the sector can thrive.” Dr Srikar Reddy, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, added, “With the ambitious target of reaching $1 trillion total trade exports by 2030, we look forward to the Indian auto sector to contribute $100 billion in exports by the year 2030.”
There has been a swift shift in auto sector paradigm, especially with the introduction of electric, hydrogen-based fuels and biofuels. Sustainable development is what everyone is looking forward to. A joint collaboration between policymakers, industry experts and synergetic efforts at a global level can make that happen and events like these act as catalysts in such developments. On that note, Auto Expo 2023 has been a successful and significant event for the industry and facilitated new beginnings to foresee.
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