Electric vehicles (EVs) are emerging at the forefront of driving the shift in mobility away from traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to more sustainable options. We speak with Arham Partap Jain, Founder & CEO of Trucknetic on the potential ways for India to unlock its full EV potential.
- Tell us the story of how you launched Trucknetic, and how the company has developed since then.
Founded by Arham Partap in 2019, logistics startup Trucknetic operates as an online marketplace that connects shippers with carriers. It aims to transport front haul and backhaul loads to ensure zero waste miles for trucks.
In just 3.5 years of its journey, Trucknetic has been acknowledged and appreciated immensely for its unique model that could be path-breaking for the Indian logistics industry.
It is India’s first online transport and logistics company to solve the laborious phone calls and emails encountered by shippers and carriers on a daily basis. The start-up’s mission is to bring greater efficiency and connectivity to reduce the cost of logistics in India.
Recently, Trucknetic has launched ‘EVolev’ platform for electric trucks. According to the company, this new platform aims at accelerating mass adoption of EVs in India. With the launch of EVolev, the company is aiming at bringing the entire EV ecosystem on a single platform and reducing the carbon footprint in the country.
‘EVolev’ is pronounced as ‘evolve’ and the company says it signifies the evolution of the Indian transportation industry to the new-age electric vehicles that are an alternative to traditional mobility solutions. ‘Olev’ in the name stands for ‘online electric vehicle’ that gestures to the Electric Vehicles as a service (EV-aas) platform that the start-up is building.
With the launch of EV Trucks, the company is yet to witness the revolution in road logistics mobility and the emergence of an EV aggregation platform for commercial trucks in India will be a remarkable way to accelerate EV adoption.
- You are widely considered the pioneer of electric vehicles in India. What future do you foresee for EVs in India and across the world?
As more companies enter the electric vehicle market, we will see competitive consumer choice and prices, better charging infrastructure, and improved government policies. New markets are opening up as state governments introduce incentives for electric vehicles. Indian government subsidies and incentives for the electric vehicle industry will also boost demand.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global EV sales in 2021 doubled from the previous year to 16.5 million EV units sold worldwide. India has also announced that electric vehicles will account for at least 30% of all road traffic by 2023. Although modest, a 30% adoption would have global implications, both environmental and economic.
First, India is the third largest oil importer in the world, but the transition to electric vehicles will significantly reduce its dependence on oil, disrupting the global oil market. If India can meet its ambitious adoption targets, the country will create a model that other emerging economies can replicate. This in turn will further impact the oil market as reliance on this fossil fuel declines.
Moreover, with a population of 1.4 billion and a rapidly growing economy, India is undoubtedly an influential player in today’s global electric vehicle market. The full adoption of electric vehicles in India will be a major step in the right direction towards the sustainable development of global transport.
Also, electric vehicles are a transport solution and should be considered as an ecosystem, not just as a product. They are mobile energy carriers, essential partners in the energy ecosystem through smart grids. It’s an emerging mobile communication platform that’s basically made up of “lots of sensors,” and electric vehicles could pave the way for the “connected car.”
Additionally, the automotive industry is about to undergo disruptive changes driven by the innovations that power our vehicles. This fundamental breakthrough will profoundly change the basis of competition in the automotive industry. In fact, there are very few times in history when an industry or technology has the support of all major global players at the same time.
- Is India ready for Electric Vehicles?
With the increasing threat of climate change, India needs to find a clean energy alternative. Pollution has reached worrying levels, so India’s push towards electric vehicles should be welcomed. As a huge amount of oil requirements are to be imported for automobiles, a sustainable replacement like electric vehicles work better.
If we want electric cars to work in India, we need to make people aware that this is the best way to prevent pollution in the country, and this is a multi-year process. It’s not a case where it can start in 2 or 4 years it will take time to build the ecosystem. The government are playing a despicable role in the electric vehicle revolution, the future of our factories, fossil fuels are limited in our world and people need to understand this.
As a signatory to the Paris climate accord, India has pledged to reduce its share of global emissions by 2030. Therefore, the Indian government is working on key initiatives such as launching of the national electric vehicle program, planning guidelines to encourage the use of these vehicles by NITI Aayog, etc. promoting electric vehicles in India.
- If electric trucks are the solution, what are the problems?
Although electric vehicles are widely promoted through various attractive programs and policies, there are still some factors that hinder the success of these campaigns. Of all the challenges facing the electric vehicle industry, the most prominent issues are low vehicle mileage, high cost, lack of service centers, poor maintenance and service awareness, unclear policies , supply chain issues and insufficient charging stations.
These problems can be broadly divided into two parts: physical attributes and lack of awareness. Although the physical attributes cannot be changed by common people, the provided features can be utilized in the best way possible. This again sums up a lack of awareness which, in turn, leads to inappropriate use of available physical resources.
Speaking of lack of awareness, all the issues related to this can be solved simply by joining communities and groups of people with similar interests.
The government portal is the best way to learn more about policies related to the electric vehicle industry and better understand them in detail, and you can always refer to the help available online. Supply chain issues can also be resolved through government and authority intervention.
There can be further stricter government rules and regulations that would prevent such mishaps from repeating. More government intervention would also mean increased awareness as people are directly connected to the government and look up to them for such things.
Another problem is the insufficient number of charging stations. This problem could be partially solved if people were aware of the myths and facts surrounding the charging station industry. The physical resources and legal formalities involved in setting up suitable charging stations must be well understood. This will encourage more people to act without hesitation to install charging points and EV charging stations, thereby increasing the overall proportion of EV charging stations.
In conclusion, India is still a long way from a truly hybrid or fully electric transport system. However, I strongly believe this is going in the right direction as both government and private companies are investing heavily to make it happen.
- What is your mantra for success?
If you have an idea that you absolutely believe in, I think it’s important to surround yourself with people who share that dream. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to be open to ‘calculated’ risk-taking and innovation, and to adopt a ‘never-give-up’ attitude. Never stop thinking of ideas and being passionate about your unique proposal. Perseverance overcomes obstacles to ensure the success of your idea. Do something you really enjoy, make work a hobby – it will help you go a long way.
Whenever I found myself facing a problem, I would sleep over it. In the morning, I would often see an opportunity in it. I think it works well, it motivates me. Looking back, what seemed like a setback was really just the nudge I needed: trying new things, pushing your limits.