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Nayi Soch Ki Sawaari: Drivers and Fleet Owners Embrace The Future Of Cargo Mobility

Modified On Jul 03, 2024 04:21 PMBy Dheeraj Nair

Here are expert insights on whether electric trucks are pioneering the future of cargo mobility with zero emissions and unmatched efficiency, leading to profitable transport operations. Read on for details

TrucksDekho’s interaction with the Manager at 'Nayi Soch Ki Sawaari’, Kritica Mahajan who leads an initiative to generate awareness about electric trucks in the informal trucking sector offers great insights.

Key Highlights

  • In the interaction with the "Nayi Soch Ki Sawaari" program manager, key insights into whether electric vehicles are the future of mobility were discovered.
  • Critical aspects and insights from experienced and reputed drivers are closely considered to understand whether electric trucks are the future of cargo transportation in India.
  • A driver and fleet owner share their concerns and offer knowledge on reducing range anxiety and improving electric vehicle adoption. 

Electric vehicles as the future of cargo mobility, with technological fleet integrations and advanced manufacturing techniques, have created a wave of enthusiasm among commercial vehicle buyers seeking to enhance transport operations. With environmental benefits thanks to zero tailpipe emissions and their efficiency, they are sources of business profitability. 

Benefitting from low operational costs and reduction in carbon emissions, the adoption of electric trucks is considered to bring in a reduction of reliance on foreign entities and governmental organisations for fossil fuel collection – the source of diesel and petrol for India. 

However, there are certain challenges to the adoption of electric vehicles, especially heavy commercial vehicles causing a hindrance in the path to improving energy efficiency, reducing reliance on foreign entities and securing environmental benefits. These aspects as a whole play a vital role in the contribution to healthy human existence globally and ensure welfare. 

TrucksDekho’s interaction with the Manager at 'Nayi Soch Ki Sawaari’, Kritica Mahajan who leads an initiative to generate awareness about electric trucks in the informal trucking sector, and an interview with an experienced commercial vehicle driver Naseeb Singh and Mohammad Nasir – a reputed fleet owner running ‘Lovely Transport’, Mahoba Uttar Pradesh, have given us insights regarding how electric vehicles can impact India’s cargo mobility operations, addressing the challenges. Let's explore their perspectives:

Related Link: Safe and Sustainable: Blue Energy Motors' LNG Trucks Set New Standards for India's Trucking Industry

Nayi Soch Ki Sawaari is a project aimed at awareness about electric trucks. We are focused on enhancing the electric truck adoption rates as they are environmentally beneficial. 

What is the concept behind "Nayi Soch Ki Sawaari" and how does it impact the commercial vehicle industry in India?

Kritica Mahajan: “Nayi Soch Ki Sawaari is a project aimed at awareness about electric trucks. We are focused on enhancing the electric truck adoption rates as they are environmentally beneficial. 

From this initiative, we have gathered information as to how the transportation sector is evolving and how commercial-grade electric vehicles can benefit truck drivers and fleet owners as a whole. Moreover, from our findings, we understand that any kind of change that happens in the industry takes time for the information to trickle down.

Therefore, categorically, we are currently working to raise awareness amongst the end users, who are the drivers, mechanics, fleet operators, and fuel pump operators. They are primarily part of the trucking and commercial-level industries left out when these conversations are taking place at the policy level. 

In this regard, right now, some discussions have started taking place about electric vehicles and electric heavy-duty vehicles, specifically at the policy level or a think tank level. Hence, while these conversations are taking place, we want to ensure that these left-out communities are aware of it. 

When we say awareness, there are, of course, different perspectives. We would like to help these left-out sections of people understand whether such a new technology might suit them or not, and we would want to find a way to gauge that.

Moreover, our concern is to help address the questions of these communities – How do you even establish whether something is good or bad for oneself? How do you start asking questions? What are the kinds of questions you should even be asking about this new technology that you know nothing about? 

Under this project, we realised that almost 80 percent of the people were hearing about an electric truck for the very first time through such discussions, before which they did not know that electric trucks, in particular, existed even though they were certain that electric three-wheelers were present. Overall, we would like to improve their livelihood and appreciate them for being the backbone of the consumer product utilisation process through mobility.”

Kritica Mahajan: “The cost of purchasing an electric truck is quite high. There is limited charging infrastructure and more importantly these underlying factors combined with issues like the lack of awareness among the trucking communities we discussed earlier, are some of the real gaps in the ecosystem. 

What are the current gaps in the ecosystem? What about the high upfront costs of purchasing an electric truck?

Kritica Mahajan: “The cost of purchasing an electric truck is quite high. There is limited charging infrastructure and more importantly these underlying factors combined with issues like the lack of awareness among the trucking communities we discussed earlier, are some of the real gaps in the ecosystem. 

Interestingly, most fleet owners knew a bit more about the technology and were welcoming towards electric truck adoption. But the rest were excited, some were even quite curious about what electric trucks are and how can they benefit.  

Moreover, the majority of people cannot adopt electric trucks in the trucking sector since it is not feasible for them due to high purchase costs. Some of them assert that once the EV infrastructure improves, once the cost comes down, there are subsidies and financial institutions are ready to offer loans for electric trucks, that is when they will be more inclined to consider an electric truck.

These are very real gaps in the ecosystem right now because of which not everybody is willing to adopt." 

In India, there are a lot of tests and certifications that are required for any electric truck to be allowed to be produced and legally sold in the country to ensure high safety standards. All of the trucks that are being manufactured in India will need to compulsorily go through these tests to ensure maximum performance output and to ensure occupant and vehicle safety. 

Can Electric Trucks Be Driven In Harsh Environments Such As In Winter Conditions? 

Kritica Mahajan: “We have made a video concerning these queries from drivers and fleet owners to understand the situation better, collaborating with a professor from IIT Madras to address these questions.  

In India, there are a lot of tests and certifications that are required for any electric truck to be allowed to be produced and legally sold in the country to ensure high safety standards. All of the trucks that are being manufactured in India will need to compulsorily go through these tests to ensure maximum performance output and to ensure occupant and vehicle safety. 

Major manufacturers like Tata for instance are already conducting these tests to see the viability of their vehicles in such conditions. Testing in extreme weather conditions is a priority for electric truck makers in India to ensure maximum safety and reduce downtime. 

Electric trucks are also tested in different terrain conditions. As per my knowledge, electric trucks are better than diesel trucks in terms of torque production for heavy haulage operations and can be utilised in extreme weather conditions and difficult terrain.”

At the moment, Governmental institutions and entities are carefully studying and combining data to create failure modules to help drivers be prepared to handle issues related to the vehicle during a trip and help local mechanics perform repairs.

What training and support are available for drivers transitioning from diesel to electric trucks?

Kritica Mahajan: “At this point, modules to support drivers and mechanics are still being developed. These modules are still being developed because there are not enough electric trucks on the road yet to combine service and mechanical data to help drivers and local mechanics fix the issues in case they come up. 

At the moment, Governmental institutions and entities are carefully studying and combining data to create failure modules to help drivers be prepared to handle issues related to the vehicle during a trip and help local mechanics perform repairs.”

Related Link: Here's What A Driver Of A Blue Energy LNG Truck Has To Say About LNG Trucks and Their Performance

Once the performance reduces to absolute nothing, the only option for a fleet owner is to scrap the vehicle or sell it at a loss. Hence, I believe that the restoration of a CNG truck’s performance can be done by retrofitting an electric powertrain after the said 15-year legal operating period.

Do you think if retrofitment of commercial vehicles after 15 years were to be made legal, would it benefit fleet owners?

Mohammad Nasir: “Let us assume that we have given you a high-dose injection and now you run it non-stop. If you run it non-stop, then it would not be possible for you to keep yourself in good health condition as the tolerance level builds up to that medication. Hence, the body and medication will lose its ability to heal.

Now if we translate this statement of mine into a CNG fitment in a truck assuming that the fitment of a CNG system (injection) is done from outside in an old truck. As soon as the driver of the CNG truck turns on the AC (dose), the truck’s engine will run on load. The actual running capacity (health) of the truck will go down significantly.

And if there is CNG fitment from the company with OEM AC setup, then the running capacity of the truck will remain the same, however, will deteriorate as time goes by. This is what I think can happen in these trucks. These references might confuse, however, it would be right to state that as the vehicle gets older, its capacity to perform might reduce significantly.

Once the performance reduces to absolute nothing, the only option for a fleet owner is to scrap the vehicle or sell it at a loss. Hence, I believe that the restoration of a CNG truck’s performance can be done by retrofitting an electric powertrain after the said 15-year legal operating period."

Mohammad Nasir: “As a fleet owner, it would significantly benefit if electric vehicles, especially electric trucks had an onboard charging system instead of waiting at the charging stations to recharge the battery pack. If such a system were to be integrated, it could improve the electric vehicle adoption rates substantially in India. 

Do you think that having swappable battery options for trucks, like those available for three-wheelers, would significantly solve range anxiety and increase uptime?

Mohammad Nasir: “As a fleet owner, it would significantly benefit if electric vehicles, especially electric trucks had an onboard charging system instead of waiting at the charging stations to recharge the battery pack. If such a system were to be integrated, it could improve the electric vehicle adoption rates substantially in India. 

As for swappable battery packs seen on electric-propelled three-wheelers, it would be great if manufacturers could integrate them in electric trucks as it would reduce anxiety associated with range and reduce downtime-related problems that could cause loss of profitability.” 

Naseeb Singh: “Adopting an electric truck can reduce pollution significantly since it does not emit harmful gases from the tailpipe. At a time wherein the whole country is worried about pollution, I believe that electric trucks need to be adopted. It could not only improve the condition of our environment positively but also improve my health to help me with a better livelihood.”

Do Diesel, Petrol And CNG Truck Drivers Need Special Training To Drive Electric Trucks? 

Naseeb Singh: “I believe that there is no requirement for additional training because driving an electric truck is quite easy since it does not have a clutch and related aggregates. However, companies should give training before they hire a commercial vehicle driver to ensure the safety of occupants, cargo and everything else on the road.”

How important is the environmental impact of your vehicle to you? Are you interested in how electric trucks could reduce emissions and pollution?

Naseeb Singh: “Adopting an electric truck can reduce pollution significantly since it does not emit harmful gases from the tailpipe. At a time wherein the whole country is worried about pollution, I believe that electric trucks need to be adopted. It could not only improve the condition of our environment positively but also improve my health to help me with a better livelihood.”

Conclusion: Are Electric Trucks The Future Of Cargo Mobility? 

Closely considering the trucking industry which is booming at an unprecedented rate due to improved telematics and communication technologies and increased supply and demand, the logistical market known for its mammoth diesel truck fleet is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8 percent over the next three years, projecting to reach $330 billion by 2025. 

Experts suggest that this demand and rate of adoption of commercial vehicles running on fossil fuel would increase pollution significantly unless and until logistics and drivers decide and adopt electric vehicles as an alternative product to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment. All-in-all, it is safe to say that electric trucks are the future of cargo mobility.

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