The Indian Automotive industry is witnessing a paradigm shift as electric vehicle (EV) adoption is expanding at an accelerated pace. The proposed policies in the new union budget also give a huge impetus to the EV industry. Against this backdrop, Ashwini Tiwary, Co-founder/CEO, Autobot India deliberates on the importance of developing EV tech talent for the evolving Indian auto repair sector. Excerpts from his interview with Mahesh Kallayil of KARREP…
We are keen to know about Autobot and its offering to Automotive Industry
Autobot is the leading provider of EV learning in India. The automotive industry is undergoing an EV transition, and as their production grows in India, there will be a massive need for a skilled workforce in the industry. We are helping the Indian automotive industry in overcoming this lack of trained workforce through the Autobot Academy. It is India’s only and most comprehensive platform offering diverse learning options for people who intend to join the EV industry in the years ahead. Currently, the Autobot Academy offers four key learning channels for engineers entering the EV sector.
Autobot Academy (AA): An end-to-end online learning platform offering courses and career opportunities using an integrated technology learning experience
Autobot Learning Studio (ALS): A customized learning studio for engineering learning and development, adhering to global best practices that ensure an engaging, effective, and collaborative online learning experience
Autobot Talent Pool (ATP): A humongous virtual EV talent pool for the industry players to collaborate for their holistic talent search, placement, and networking needs.
Autobot Hands-on Hubs (AHoH): Three of these hubs are already operational in Pune, Bangalore, and Delhi/NCR where we deliver offline hands-on learning and collaboration that provides real-time exposure to the users. Our aim is to set up more than 10 such hubs by end of 2023 to cover all major EV cluster cities across India.
What are the challenges you are currently facing and what strategies you are planning to curb them?
The Indian EV sector is facing various problems today. The biggest challenge is that customer adoption remains low due to problems such as range anxiety and the high cost of EVs as well as the lack of adequate charging infrastructure. The talent shortage is the other area that is creating problems in manufacturing as well as maintenance of EVs. We are using cutting-edge technologies and online training platform services to train engineers on EV technology. We plan to set up our hands-on learning hubs all over India to resolve the shortage problem.
What are your thoughts on the Indian Auto Repair Industry?
The Indian auto repair industry is by itself a major sector employing lakhs of people all over the country. However, most of the repair facilities and personnel work in the unorganized sector, and there is a lack of technology integration in the workshops compared to the developed countries. The services and processes need a revamp to cater to the vehicles of the future.
With the onset of EVs, what positive changes do you see in the Auto Repair and Maintenance Industry?
One of the things that EV and smart vehicles are doing is that they are bringing in a steady understanding that the future lies in proper skill development and technology adoption in repair and maintenance functions. The smarter EVs have engines that differ from the conventional ICE engines, and their maintenance needs are different. This is going to lead to a streamlining and formalizing of the auto repair and maintenance sector.
How can Indian workshops get ready for electric vehicles?
They have to focus more on the learning and development of the personnel. Car mechanics need to undergo EV-specific training and
develop the know-how to cater to such vehicles
as the demand will only increase from here on. They also need to look at advanced technology as a friend and enabler instead of resisting or avoiding EV support and maintenance technologies.
Apart from EV what new trends, do you think, are going to shape Auto Repair Industry in coming years?
I think EVs are going to be an inevitable addition to the auto repair segment, but we will witness a rise in the adoption of technologies such as AI and robotics in the workshops. We are at an inflection point and from here on, EVs will continue to grow year on year as a part of the auto repair industry. Thus, AI and analytics-driven vehicle inspections, robotics in the repair processes, and adoption of EV-specific infrastructure will become increasingly common. Workshops will integrate charging
points and EV components as a part of their service offerings.
There is a common belief that EV will put workshops out of business. What is your take
Even with the most ambitious and positive outcomes, conventional fossil fuel vehicles will continue to operate for decades to come. EVs currently account for less than 1% of India’s vehicular sales. Instead of putting workshops out of business, EVs might be instrumental in making the workshops more futuristic and enhancing their revenue generation. With time, cutting-edge technologies will come into the picture, and a gradual switch to EVs and other clean fuel vehicles offers ample opportunity to the workshops or the mechanics, to upgrade their skill and technology to serve the mobility of the future.
What do you look forward to in 2022 and beyond?
We are looking at the conversion of EV awareness and interest into stronger growth for the market. Our plans are to expand the network of our training services and to establish Autobot Hands-on Hubs in 10+ major EV cluster cities across India. In another 2 years or so, we intend
to launch physical products as well, and our aim is to provide EV learning and career opportunities to millions of people in the years ahead.