The Indian 2-Wheeler market holds the majority share of total vehicle sales. In 2021, two-wheeler sales touched the high of 15 million units of the total 21 million vehicles sold across the country. Today, when the fuel prices are skyrocketing, running petrol vehicles has become a burden for the owners. However, bikes and scooters still are the most popular choice of rides for the Indian commuters while three-wheelers dominate the public and goods transport sector. To address this, most automaking brands are shifting their focus on manufacturing more EVs and phasing out fuel vehicles for both cost economic, and environmental reasons.
It’s a proven fact that Electric Vehicles have zero emissions which is good for the environment. Governments across the globe are mooting for a complete switch over from fuel to electric and are leaving no stone unturned, from forcing vehicles older than 15 to be scrapped to offering tax cuts to the manufacturers and sops to the buyers. For example, the Govt. of India’s new vehicle scrappage policy hints at a waiver of green tax and a 5% discount on EVs for those who scrap their old vehicles.
This is also aimed at a huge benefit to the industry due to increased sales and the tax departments would earn huge profits to the tune of nearly 40,000 crores in GST revenue. But this is still a raw deal for vehicle owners who have already invested in a bike. After all, owning a vehicle is quite an expensive journey and it’s not every day anyone decides to change their rides.
Those who have now realized the advantages of an EV still face some tough questions? Should they keep repenting, or invest in a lump sum amount to switch to an EV? Well, none of these options sound very lucrative. On top of that, the huge quantity of fuel-driven vehicles, that have already been produced and sold off, simply cannot be left to degenerate in the junkyards.
To solve this impending issue, technocrats suggest retrofitting as an ideal and feasible solution wherein one can get their old two-wheelers converted to electric. This sounds simply like a boon to the existing bike owners. The blessing of this technology is that it can be implemented even on the three and four-wheelers, which were till now running mostly on costly fuel.
What is Retrofitting Technology?
In retrofitting technology, the internal combustion (IC) engine of a vehicle and its related components are replaced with an electric motor in combination with batteries, converting it into an all-electric or hybrid vehicle depending on the conversion kits used. Once these vehicles go electric, there won’t be any necessity of feeding them with costly and polluting fuels, since, from this point onwards, these vehicles will run on batteries and an electric motor. Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) or Lithium Ferro Phosphate (LFP) batteries are the most ideal choice of batteries in EVs as they are light in weight and last longer with minimal degradation in performance.
The technology can be used effectively in two and three-wheelers, where motorbikes and scooters can be converted into e-bikes, while three-wheeler rickshaws can be converted into E-rickshaws.
Effect of Retrofitting Technology in the Automobile Industry
Since the introduction of EV retrofitting technology, the future of the automobile industry is witnessing a revolutionary change. The automobile market is pivoting on EVs as the existing vehicles running across the world now have the potential to go green.
What more? Well, it is not only the four-wheeled vehicles, that can now convert to an EV, by implementing the retrofitting technology, even the bikes, and three-wheeler rickshaws, which we see often in the South Asian countries can also adapt to this technology and get converted into an E-bike or an E-rickshaw, in no time. The availability of IoT-enabled 3.3 Kw Persona Charging Stations has made it even more feasible as now one doesn’t need to worry about looking for a Charging Station every time and can charge their EV from the comfort of their homes and offices.
Advantages of Retrofitting Technology
Retrofitting Technology has already started resulting in multiple advantages. We are listing here a few of them:
Reduction in Environmental Pollution
One of the most significant advantages of Retrofitting technology is a reduction in environmental pollution. In the light of the realization of the necessity to bring down the ill effects of global warming, the EV industry is witnessing rapid growth. This has also cast a great influence on the world economy while ensuring that our future generations can dream of a more sustainable and cleaner environment.
The cars which people were so far driving with costly fuel were emitting harmful gases. But converting them into an EV will stop polluting the environment since these vehicles will no longer emit any harmful gases. These will go a long way in helping our nation achieve its ambitious yet noble target of net 0 emissions by 2070.
Create New Employment Option
Since the retrofitting technology can also be implemented in bikes and three-wheeler rickshaws, the advantage can triple up in terms of emission reduction and boost the EV industry to the next level. Places where bikes run more in number than the four-wheelers will also benefit from the retrofit technology. The industry that is providing retrofitting services will flourish while opening a new avenue for entrepreneurs and also creating a new source of employment in EV servicing and charging.
Low Maintenance and Running Costs
Maintaining regular fuel-driven vehicles is expensive. Not only does it have a huge running cost, but the powertrain also demands regular replacement of parts which is not only expensive but even time-consuming. Spares are also quite often tough to find. EVs on the other hand will not require the costly fuel to run and hence will not need all those costly accessories to maintain their performance level.
The advantage of retrofit in this context is still higher since you get all the advantages like safety, infotainment, and other luxuries of a fuel-driven vehicle even when you are not going in for a new EV and continuing to use your existing ride, only by using the new retrofit technology.
Ideal For Commercial Purposes
Retrofitting offers a huge advantage to fleet operators and logistics companies that have a myriad of vehicles for their business. Once a company starts converting its fleet to electric, it can start saving greatly on fuel. Moreover, you even save time in refueling at petrol stations and eradicate pilferage, since EVs can be charged at private premises, as well. Not only will such businesses profit more than earlier, but they will also contribute largely to the conservation of the environment. Delivery houses that mostly use bikes and rickshaws can benefit from the retrofitting technology, by converting them into e-bikes and saving loads on the costly fuel.
Extend Lifespan of Two and Three Wheelers
Retrofit converts ICE vehicles 100% into electric ones. So, when you implement Retrofitting technology in two-wheelers, it will automatically increase the life span of these vehicles by five to seven years and will not allow them to become scrap for quite a few more years.
Future of Retrofitting Industry in India
Retrofitting is crucial especially in India as there is a lack of indigenous technology to develop a good amount of EV components that are required for the tropical climatic conditions of this country. Apart from that, to date, the price range of E-bikes or EVs is not that competitive in comparison to the regular bikes and rickshaws.
It is also the lack of proper charging infrastructure that is not allowing the EV market to expand. In this scenario, the retrofitted EVs will become the first entrants in the market which will start the market trend and increase the demand for charging, manufacturing of localized EV components, and sales of batteries. It will also encourage the big business houses to invest more in building infrastructure for EV sales and services while expanding the trend of retrofitting.