How collaborative innovation acts as the new lifeline for EV Industry in India, ET Auto


The EV’s performance arises from synergising actions across multiple layers – the mechanical system architecture, the electrical and electronics (E&E) architecture, the software layer and the cloud layer.

The Indian Automotive OEMs have an opportunity to make India the global hub for electric mobility. As the world is fast moving towards sustainable mobility, there is a rising demand for a wide range of electric vehicle (EV) offerings from the global auto OEMs. When the OEMs design EVs that optimize many performance parameters like the range, charging time, safety, drive comfort etc., they leverage two critical enablers for product differentiation: (a) their opportunity to innovate is no longer limited to the product but exists in all the critical user interfaces across the ecosystem, and (b) their opportunity to accelerate innovation lies in reskilling their teams to design vehicles that have rapidly increasing electronics and software content.Systems thinking shifts the focus from the vehicle as a product to mobility as an end-to-end solution. A systems thinker looks at electric mobility as a holistic system where the EV is at the centre and is surrounded by critical enablers like charging stations, clean energy sources, power grid, manufacturers of battery, motor and electronics, recyclers of critical components, smart traffic signals, smart parking lots etc. World class electric mobility solutions are built by creatively combining innovations in each of these ecosystem elements and their user interfaces. The future of EV product differentiation is in innovation driven by user centric design.

continued below

Collaboration across the industry will greatly accelerate the development of new EVs. The EV’s performance arises from synergising actions across multiple layers – the mechanical system architecture, the electrical and electronics (E&E) architecture, the software layer and the cloud layer. The OEM successfully integrates all these layers by driving collaboration across experts in each of these domains to co-evolve all the layers simultaneously. Technology development in each of these domains will get best synchronized only when they align their efforts to a common auto industry technology roadmap. We have seen global auto OEMs announcing their partnership with tech majors – these partnerships are expected to lead to radically new business models in the near future.

Industry – Academia collaboration provides a great advantage to countries like India that excel in engineering education. The engineers who design and build the EVs need to be competent in mechanical engineering, electrical and electronics engineering and computer programming.

Industry has to collaborate with University to proactively build these skills in their faculty and students so that the students become industry-ready. For instance, IIT Madras has collaborated with industry experts to launch a comprehensive (six months) course on electric mobility and IIT Hyderabad has worked with auto industry to launch a full-fledged online M.Tech (three years) on EV technology.

There is a growing demand across the globe for engineering students skilled in cross-functional domains. India, by virtue of its high quality and affordable engineering education, can become the Nalanda for building technical talent for the globe.

Industry – Academia – Government collaboration is the way to synergise the R&D efforts and maximise the returns on the Government’s huge investment in R&D. Government laboratories (CSIR, DRDO etc), think-tanks (like NITI AAYUG, CSTEP etc) and regulatory bodies (like ARAI) will have an important role to play in driving the convergence of ecosystem partners and align their efforts in areas of strategic interest to the Nation.

The author had recently led a technology roadmapping initiative for the Indian Government (through INAE) to reduce the weight of vehicles. A lightweighting technology roadmap, that integrates design, materials and manufacturing, was created to reduce the weight of ICE and Electric Vehicles. Such technology roadmaps will also be created for batteries, motors, automotive electronics and automotive software. These roadmaps could effectively be used to channelise the Government’s R&D funding into strategic technology areas.

Open Innovation greatly accelerates the innovation journey, reduces the risk of failure and empowers the innovators. Sky is the limit for collaboration in a digitally connected world where it is easy to leverage the best minds across the globe to solve complex problems.

Automotive new product development is being done today in a globally distributed manner where the mechanical hardware, E&E hardware and the software can be developed in three different regions and seamlessly integrated and manufactured in a fourth region. Industry can easily use open innovation portals (like NineSigma, Innocentive etc) to host technology challenges and seek ideas from innovators across the world. Open innovation was used during Covid crisis to build innovative and affordable healthcare solutions. GE famously used their Open Innovation for Ecomagination initiative to access a breakthrough innovation for weight reduction of the bracket for aircraft engines.

Innovation through collaboration is the key that will open the opportunity to build world class EV products in India and take it to global markets.

(Dr. Shankar Venugopal is a Vice President at Mahindra & Mahindra, and Dean at Mahindra Technical Academy. Recognised as a prolific inventor by World Intellectual Property Forum 2023, and as one of the 50 most Innovative leaders at the World Innovation Congress 2022, Shankar is a member of the B20 task force to drive technology, innovation and R&D for business growth. The article carries his personal views, and does not necessarily represent those of his organisation.)

  • Published On May 3, 2023 at 08:03 AM IST

Join the community of 2M+ industry professionals

Subscribe to our newsletter to get latest insights & analysis.

Download ETAuto App

  • Get Realtime updates
  • Save your favourite articles

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top