Two Wheeler Forum (TWF) 2019, India’s largest two-wheeler event held in Gurgaon near Delhi, had highly interactive discussions and panel sessions on the current challenges and future opportunities among manufacturers, suppliers, Government representatives, industry associations, dealers and others.
A total of 60 speakers addressed the 400 delegates. The Forum was supported by 35 partners against 15 in 2018. TWF has been called “The Calendar Event of the Indian 2W Industry.”
Anil Srivastava, Principal Consultant and Mission Director of Niti Aayog, in his keynote address pointed to the slowdown in the sector and the innovation and disruption that is taking place in the Indian two-wheeler industry. He said that 50 percent of the total distance travelled is by two-wheelers, especially where the distance is less than five km. Therefore, there is a dire need for the industry to change the technology from ICE to electric vehicles or other alternative fuels.
He laid emphasis on removing all the impediments that hamper the industry’s ability to manufacture electric vehicles. He also alluded at future policy which will provide direct incentive for battery manufacturers to promote in-house manufacturing and avoid imports.
The subsequent keynote panel discussed the opportunities and challenges present for the next two years in the Indian two-wheeler industry. Topics of discussion ranged from the inconvenience to the incumbent players from disruptive forces such as EVs to the Indian consumer’s obsession with brand name and serviceability.
Sohinder Gill, Global CEO, Hero Electric, spoke about the misuse and abuse of the electric vehicles due to the change in driving style and also the limited opportunity for pilferage among the commercial users.
Nikunj Sanghi, Chairman of Automotive Skill Development Council, added his view on the role of the dealer community in educating the customer on the difference in the vehicle to avoid such misuse and supporting the entire ecosystem in general.
The BS-VI discussion brought out the problem of pricing and market demand that the OEMs are going to face. While there isn’t much of a technological challenge due to the leapfrog to BS-VI, the major problem will be the impact on demand due to the price increase of eight to ten percent, Balraj Bhanot, former Director, ARAI, and Sudipto Basu, Executive Director, Emissions Control Manufacturers Association, said.
Discussion on electric mobility was one of the biggest draws at the event. And the panel shed light on the problem of infrastructure and finance in the sector. The panellists called upon the industry incumbents to come forward and put their weight behind the EV movement to fix these issues.
While the push on EV was one of the key themes of discussion at the forum, in response to an audience query on RoI in the EV space, Sohinder Gill said, “Learn the art of losing money, if you want to enter into the EV Industry.”
The above comment best exemplifies the event’s format that emphasised on candid discussions on topics of wide industry interest, provoking conversations that matter.
The conference was split into two parallel tracks. One focused on current developments such as BS-VI, Two-wheeler consumer trends and Alternative Fuels, while the other was on the future opportunities track of EV, Connectivity, Shared Mobility and the Tech transformation of two-wheelers.
The breadth of topics had been selected by running a two-month long survey with two-wheeler industry professionals reflecting the organiser’s commitment to create an event that is “By the two-wheeler industry, For the two-wheeler industry.”
The Forum ended on a positive note and prominent comment from most of the delegates, speakers and partners to sum up the proceedings was: “One Industry, One Voice, One Day.” (APA)