The WAF Gurus Live Episode 20 was held on Saturday, 20 th March in which Gurus of the auto &
mobility industry discussed a crucial and pertinent topic- The Future of Mobility : EV or FCEV?
The panel comprised Shivalik Prasad, VP with Sibros; Vinay K. Piparsania– an automotive industry veteran; Dr. Ajit Kumar Jindal, currently the Advisor E-Mobility and New Products and Technology at Tata Autocomp Systems Ltd, Avik Chattopadhyay Co-Founder Expereal, a Marketing & Brand Consulting Firm; and Anuj Guglani, the founder and CEO at World Auto Forum which connects theAuto and Mobility Industry in 125 Countries.
Anuj Guglani, CEO, World Auto Forum called upon the panel to share their views on the major
concern facing the industry- Can the Fuel Cell solve the future problems of the EV? Would Fuel Cell
get a seat at the table amidst the worldwide Battery Race?
Dr. A. K. Jindal set the ball rolling and pointed out the 90% FCEV is in fact EV, it has the battery, the
motor, most of the parts and components’ functionality is similar. There was a chance of FCEV
finding an application in inaccessible areas like Leh-Ladakh where getting the conventional fuels is a
challenge and comes at a higher cost; there it could be useful. Solar energy is available in plenty in
those areas from where they can produce electricity and from that they can produce hydrogen.
Vinay K. Piparsania remarked that it all depended on where an entire ecosystem is travelling- as of
now from the governments, to huge corporations to auto makers- everybody’s focus is on EV, so it’s
the time for EV. Next decade might belong to Hydrogen, but right now all the focus and investment
is on EV. The transformation takes time and the switch to FCEV cannot be just at the drop of a hat.
Avik Chattopadhyay stated the example of a big company like Tesla which might be doing a
miniscule volume compared to the conventional automobile manufacturers, but tomorrow it will
grow bigger and it will develop layers and hierarchy and it will become very tough for them to steer
themselves in a different direction overnight.
Shivalik Prasad added that here people look for convenience and though the government does try
to bring in regulations, but people simply opt for solutions that are more convenient and rather
dislike such types of regulatory moves. He further added that the way rupee was further
depreciating and with us having surplus electricity in some areas, we might be well poised for
Hydrogen as the next option
He gave the example of a million plus e-rickshaws in India and compared to them just a miniscule of
electric cars in our country. Even if 3000 electric cars get sold, it makes big news! The government
should not over regulate the EV Sector and let the revolution happen.
Dr A.K Jindal concluded that if we are able to overcome the challenges of production and
distribution of hydrogen, notwithstanding that, it’s not half as efficient as an electric vehicle; it can
still be one of the cleanest technologies.
Avik Chattopadhyay noted that India had its own share of complexities. He spoke about the recently
formed National Hydrogen Mission by the Govt. of India and the paltry sum of Rs 25 crores allocated
for the same. He also mentioned that although the sum might not be the only benchmark to gauge
the government's seriousness, it could have still been higher.
Vinay Piparsania added that no matter how many innovations we come up with, they need the
focus and drive from the governments, corporations and the entire ecosystem.
Anuj Guglani rightly observed the way prices of conventional fuels are soaring high, electricity is
being generated in surplus, the way battery as a piece we are unable to fathom or control due to the
monopoly over lithium and cobalt, that are needed for the manufacturing of the cell and the battery,
by just a few countries, it could be very soon that we might be pushed to the wall and not be left
with any other option but to be Atma-Nirbhar Bharat and harness Hydrogen.
WAF lauds the role of the automobile industry for not just showing futuristic outlook and their
enterprising spirit in technology and innovation, but also keeping the environment clean and our
planet green as their prime most concern.
Moderated & Compiled by Kiran Misra, Communications Expert & Radio Broadcaster
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