By Nishant Arya
Nishant Arya spearheads the $2.2 billion Indian conglomerate JBM Group as its Executive Director since 2010. He has encapsulated JBM’s philosophy and DNA – TIP, thereby enhancing technology, enabling innovation and developing people within the organisation. He has been actively looking at R&D, Engineering, Diversification, International Business and new projects. He has been instrumental in planning various technical collaborations and joint ventures with renowned foreign companies including buyouts. These include some key domains such as Electric Bus, Engineering & Design Centres, Renewable Energy (Solar and Waste to Energy), etc. Among the important JVs done under his directorship are the alliances with Arcelor Mittal, Dassault Systemes, JFE Steel Corporation, Linde-Wiemann, Sumitomo Corporation, Magnetto (CLN Group), Ogihara, Solaris Bus & Coach and various others. He is on the Board of various JBM Group companies and Chairman of Tesco Go SpA, Europe. Also the Chairman of JBM Solaris Electric Vehicles Pvt Ltd and Linde-Wiemann, Germany.
The entire manufacturing ecosystem is undergoing a phenomenal shift. Leapfrogging advancements are shaping the industry. Disruptive innovation is becoming the order of the day. We are becoming more robust by adopting frugal engineering practices, digitisation of production, enabling enhanced processes and differentiation. Application of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning has become the order of the day. Service ecosystem and smart factory value chain with focused R&D is what the businesses are moving to.
Change and disruption are important for any business that wants to grow and stay relevant in a world that is constantly rediscovering itself. The past 25 years have seen some brilliant innovations; from Electronic Skid Controls to GPS satellite navigators, turbochargers and dual clutch transmissions and a plethora of such advancements. The industry is evolving, and new technologies are being invented and introduced at a pace faster than before.
Disruptive innovations, electric mobility in particular, pose great possibilities as well as challenges for not only the automotive sector but also the energy industry. Corporates are already upgrading their skills, capabilities and offerings to ensure that these changing times are a chance for innovation. These disruptive forces are bound to reshape the market and we are already witnessing gradual changes needed for electric adoption. New players entering the market are challenging the status quo targeting the established corporates to stay ahead of the game and shape the future of mobility.
Having said that, autonomous systems, electrification, digitisation, and big data are a few of the technology megatrends set to have a tremendous impact on the automotive and energy industries, which will invariably lead to market diversification and a shift to integrated solutions. In the Indian context, all the sectors in and across are gung-ho about the momentum of the electric vehicle. The Government has laid out ambitious policies and the automotive industry is enthused with utmost energy to see through the successful implementation of these policies. Since the evolution of electric vehicles requires a new ecosystem, the component manufacturers are deliberating on mechanisms to seamlessly adapt to this transition.
However, any new shift in the ecosystem does not come without its set of challenges. Similarly, in electric vehicles segment, there can be challenges in the form of higher capital cost for manufacturing and expensive batteries. The cost of batteries is a huge percentage of the vehicle cost, as currently manufacturers are importing these batteries. However, with a robust ecosystem that supports the use of electric vehicles and with government policy on setting up charging infrastructure, these challenges will soon translate into opportunities.
JBM EV Infrastructure & E-Mobility Solutions’ drive has been focusing on a comprehensive range of clean mobility solutions from design, planning to final execution backed by the right kind of expertise and technical know-how. JBM focuses on the enhancement of technological capabilities in-house with an autonomous and an automatic integrated application network driving this e-mobility and EV ecosystem seamlessly.
We focus on both the Solar and the Waste to Energy (WTE)/Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) systems. At our solar plants, electrical energy is generated that can be used to charge EVs and various other applications. The concept of ‘Well-to-Wheel’ has emerged from this very need. As an organisation, we are consciously working towards providing ‘Well to Wheel’ solutions, wherein, we have developed in-house, end-to-end capabilities in the e-mobility domain right from generation to consumption of Green energy in powering e-vehicles.
With BS-VI getting implemented 2020 onwards and with lack of an existing charging ecosystem, manufacturers are struggling with huge anticipated cost escalations. Government of India can play a pivotal role in driving traction in the industry through formation of policies which provide incentives for both the OEMs and the end users to adapt electric vehicles. Incentives could include tax subsidies on batteries and four-wheelers for both non-commercial and commercial use specifically electric buses, wavier on the import duties levied on Li-Ion batteries, grants to set up COEs to promote continuous development of the technology, and subsidies for land to invest in EV charging infrastructure.
Moving with the times and demand, our 100 percent electric bus ECO-LIFE is our first offering in the e-mobility space. The product has been developed in line with our philosophy of ‘Think Global, Act Local.’ Through this, we have amalgamated the technical experience of Europe’s largest electric mobility player Solaris Bus & Coach with our manufacturing strengths. Majority parts of the bus are manufactured under the ‘Make in India’ initiative at our plants in Kosi (Uttar Pradesh) and Faridabad (Haryana) – this fact is endorsed by the Government of India as well. Through ECO-LIFE we are not just providing a vehicle but are offering the suite of an e-mobility solution containing a bus, battery and charging infrastructure based on the operating pattern within the city. It will herald the next phase of public mobility in India.
Alliances are imperative to attain excellence in manufacturing, production, and marketing as they open new possibilities that give access to newly developed emerging technologies in mutually beneficial, cost-competitive ventures. These alliances assist in creating synergies and help provide a definitive solution to the customers. With a giant disruption looming large over the automotive industry, the Indian automotive business ecosystem needs a complete overhaul wherein everything needs to be aligned with total cost of ownership. Several factors like changing mobility behaviour, increasing automation and electrification of vehicles are fundamentally changing the outlook and the way industry players are going to address this transformation.