Investment opportunities in EV and Charging Infra.

Investment opportunities in Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure

Urban mobility has always had a gradual (and mostly slow) revolution over the last 200 years. From the steam powered engines in the 18th and 19th century to the ones that we drive on fossil fuels today on petrol, diesel and gas.

By all means though, it seems that the 21st century will belong to electric vehicles (EV), and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that EV will have as a great an impact on the planet as much as petrol did. In this insight, we go deeper in the EV ecosystem to learn more and see what sense it makes as an investment.

Growth Trends in Indian Market

Monthly sales of electric vehicles (EVs) in India witnessed a significant year on year growth of 265% - from 8,119 units in August 2020 to 28,906 units in August 2021.


Source: Vahan Database, JMK Research

54% of all EV sales in India has been made only in 4 states. Uttar Pradesh is leading other states with a considerable edge over the others, with a 20% share of the overall sales, followed by Karnataka (13%), Tamil Nadu (11%) and Maharashtra (10%) which are in close proximity to one another. These rankings, though, are in isolation as it is limited to sale / registration of EVs only. The following graphic provides a ranking of electric vehicles sold as compared to 1000 non EVs sold and is indicative of the level of the opportunity in this space. 


Source: CEEW-CEF analysis

15 Indian states have policies for Electric Vehicles, either approved or notified stages, with another 6 states having a policy in ‘draft stage’. States such as Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Meghalaya are driving incentives that are demand based (i.e. change of rules and setting of infrastructure to drive demand), while others (including the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh) are focusing on manufacturer led incentives (such as financial subsidies, exemptions etc.). It is expected that the states with incentives to support demand will be making infrastructural provisions for manufacturing EV or ancillary components, in a plug-and-play mode. More details on state wise policies on EV provided further in the insight.

For the month of August 2021, category wise uptake of EVs is shown in the graphic below:

 

Source: Vahan Database, JMK Research

96% of all electric vehicles sold in August 2021 comprised of electric two wheelers and electric three wheelers (passenger and cargo) type. The remaining 4% comprise of electric cars, buses, adapted vehicles, fork-lifts, goods carriers and trailer (agriculture) vehicles. This data represents electric vehicles across 1,313 RTOs in 33 states / UTs of India

Electric Vehicles as a B2B play

Rise in logistics and e-commerce have led to a rise in the need for last mile delivery agents, who are ably supported by their 2 and 3 wheelers, a large portion of which are beginning to shift to electric vehicles, with the rise in the prices of petrol and diesel. This also includes logistics providers to e-commerce behemoths such as Amazon and Flipkart, as well as food delivery agents of Swiggy and Zomato, as well as some other start-ups.

For B2B players, the shift to electric vehicles has been more about gross margins than positive impact on the climate. As Sohinder Gill, CEO of the Hero Electric (market leader in the EV space, as on August 2021) stated, a ride of 80 km would consume 2 liter of petrol (which as on the day of writing this costs INR 220/- in Mumbai) or the same range can be done in 4 units of electricity (which would cost up to INR 30/-).

Those of you who would have been watching episodes of Shark Tank India would have probably come across a start-up that is focused on providing modular utility platforms across its two bike types that have a range from 70km – 140km, with a load capacity of 120kg – 200kg. These innovations indicate the range of solutions that the EV’s are being prepped up for.

Industry Outlook

The EV space is also seeing some big names join hands for setting charging infrastructure. Reliance BP Mobility and Swiggy, BLive and Ather Energy, Bounce Mobility and Chara are some recent joint ventures and partnerships to promote electric two-wheelers and setting up battery swapping stations, to produce customized motors and adopt EV for building tourism ecosystem. Hero Electric and EV Motors are together planning to roll out battery solutions and charging infrastructure to run a pilot of around 10,000 e-bikes over 12 months. The network is aiming to provide 30-minute rapid charging to last-mile-delivery operators, including e-commerce, online food, fleet operators and courier-delivery businesses.

Separately, the charging infrastructure needed to support these EV’s on the road is going to need significant uplift. According to a recent industry research report, India will need 400K new charging stations to keep pace with the 2 Mn new EV’s expected on the roads by 2026; while as of end 2021, there were approximately only ~1000 such public charging stations available.

Policy Level Interventions and Support

By 2023, Government of India plans to move 50% of vehicles to EV-led mobility systems and switching completely to EVs by 2025, for public and high polluting segments of public and personal mobility. A slew of incentives and announcements have been made to encourage the manufacturing and adoption of electric vehicles, including reduction of GST (goods and services tax) to 5% from 12%, an exemption of customs duty and additional income tax deduction of INR 1,50,000/- on the interest paid on loans for purchasing EVs, for individuals. These subsidies though, are not available for companies or corporates.

FAME – I provided grants as well as direct subsidies, financial support for research and development, for public charging infrastructure as well as support for technology enhancement. The second phase (FAME-II), introduced in 2019 with a budgetary outlay of INR 10,000 crore, focuses on demand incentives, establishment of network of charging stations as well as administration of the policy. The demand incentives are centered around e2W, e3W, e4W as well as electric buses. In fact, a large portion of the outlay (INR 3,545 crore) is planned for e-buses. Within the policy document, guidelines have been prescribed for registration of OEMs, point of sale, testing agencies as well as dealers. Considering that that the cost of batteries is one of the main factors of difference in acquisition price between EVs and ICE vehicles, the demand incentive is based on battery capacity (i.e., energy content measured in Kw-Hr) used in such vehicles. These incentives and target number of vehicles will be updated from time to time, based on the change in the market dynamics.

Additionally, government has come out with policies to enable Charging infra, which mandates all fuel stations to have 1 or more alternate fuel options, eg, EV charging, which has in turn made the oil marketing companies that retail fuel in India to tie up with charging infra providers to provide the same as a service. All commercial and public buildings that have parking capacity of more than 100 cars, need to allocate ~5% of the parking for EV charging infra, which has led to parking service providers to jump in and tie up with charging as a service provider. 

Various states have their own policies defined; coverage of these policies have been detailed below:

 

Opportunity Ecosystem

As it has been clear with the state and federal policies, the growth of EV is dependent on multiple eco-system factors, including real estate development rules, manufacturing and storage capabilities of OEM’s, as well as charging infrastructure. It therefore, creates opportunities across various segments of the value chain and we have captured some of these below:

Real Estate Owners

Manufacturing

Warehousing

Other Asset Owners

Leasing out space to service providers for charging infra; through rentals or revenue share

 

Provide battery swapping infra

 

Create retail recreation options near charging stations, as it takes time to charge a battery.

Set up giga factories for lithium-ion batteries, already happening under PLI schemes

 

Production of EVs/ auto ancillaries – assembly plants being set up by most OEM’s

Controlled for storage of batteries.

 

Storage of finished EVs in high specification, Grade A spaces.

 

Battery refurbishing/ and waste management

Dedicated charging stations in and around high frequency or long stay activities (Malls, Hotels, Multiplexes etc.) which may be outsourced to service providers

 

Providing drop/pick up facilities, near home locations to reduce travel time for consumers to a service station- this could be multi brand

 

As per independent studies conducted by CEEW-CEF (Centre for Energy Finance), total EV sales expected by FY30 is 14.8 Mn (conservative as against the 2 Mn predicted by industry research). Till date, starting from FY12, total EVs registered in India are 0.9 Mn, that’s a growth of 16.5x over the course of the next 9 years or a CAGR of 36%.

An ecosystem mind set ensures that the thinking is not limited to the retail / passenger use of the electric vehicle. Customers, EV makers and service providers would be banking on the ecosystem to facilitate the overall success of EVs, sustainably, at population scale.

There are additional benefits for service providers, including operations of charging stations, reverse circularity leading to incremental revenue opportunities. For IoT enhanced electric vehicles, there is an added opportunity for revenue assurance and controlled predictive maintenance as a service that can be provided at or near home locations, or on demand.

What is Upcide.com doing

Upcide.com is a platform that curate’s various alternate assets and brings them as investment opportunities for its members. UPCIDE has 4 core pillars for its asset investment strategy, namely, Real Assets, Impact Assets, Asset leasing and Bespoke assets. At Upcide.com EV forms the core of its Impact asset investment philosophy and therefore, there are multiple investment options that Upcide is curating. As EV and Charging Infra grows in stature as a sought-after alternate asset investment option, we at www.upcide.com; are starting to build the ecosystem that our platform members can use to buy into the B2B play within the EV space, including e2W, e3W and charging infrastructure.

The typical opportunity would be to invest in a special purpose vehicle (SPV), which will then buy and hold the investment assets directly, such that the SPV will have legal and commercial rights over the physical assets, while the assets are leased to fleet operators or charging as a service provider, while retaining the option to sell in a structured trade, or through a strategic sale.

Given the fractional ownership structure that Upcide.com enables, it could be easy for small investors to take small and diversified exposures, which will be augmented by the alliances and partnerships that upcide.com will curate to enable access to significant knowledge during investment and professional monitoring of these investment assets till exits.

If you are interested to know more, please feel free to reach us at Deal@upcide.com


Sources: jmkresearch.com, moneycontrol.com, business-standard.com, researchgate.net, livemint.com, Colliers EV-Report, Leonardo Paoli, International Energy Agency, Power Ministry website, CEEW-CEF, Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises (Department of Heavy Industry)

Where To Find Us
Sign up for our newsletter