It looks like Pune is the place to be if you plan to invest in or start an Electronic Vehicle (EV) business. The second largest city of Maharashtra is well on its way to be the EV hub of India after the many start-ups based in the city crossed the landmark of Rs. 1000 crores in investments as of the first week of April.
Most of these investments have been made by big players in the automobile industry such as, Mahindra, Piaggio and, Bajaj. Along with big players transitioning into the EV market, many start-ups have also emerged with five of them cumulatively earning Rs. 129 crores ($17 million USD) as a funding from venture capitalists and angel investors.
Pune hasn’t been selected as India’s EV hub just randomly; the city has hosted multiple start-ups in the past and it continues to do so. The Maharashtrian government has always promoted entrepreneurship and has created an atmosphere that breeds multiple new ventures just like how Bangalore does.
Recently, a video of an EV scooter bursting into flames out of nowhere, made its rounds across social media apps. This caused a massive debate about the safety and the place of EVs in India between its supporters and ones apprehensive about them. Even though the vehicles and batteries go under rigorous testing to make sure they are usable and safe, this is not the first time an electric vehicle has caught on fire. It seems as if that these batteries just are not conditioned to survive under the Indian weather. According to Akshay Singhal, the founder of firm that specializes in EV batteries said that these batteries are not made for the Indian climate and if we continue to use these on EVs, there will be the issue of safety.
The Maharashtrian government also considers climate change as an issue and is relatively more proactive on the subject compared to other states. According to Mr. Singhal, the state is planning to start a few projects and pilots at Pune and that his company is closely working with the government to produce sustainable batteries suited to the Indian climate and industries.
No wonder, so many firms in the industry have set up their headquarters in the heart of Pune. The EV range of vehicles is set to revolutionize the automobile industry, and with both the government and private institutions investing fortunes of money into it, EVs might just get into the mainstream sooner than we think.