Weekend Bites: Electric shock on two wheels, and why Musk is no absolutist

Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, said that even with current policies, 60 percent of cars sold in 2030 in the world’s top three markets – the United States, China and Europe – will be electric. Paris-based influential group, while presenting the 2023 Global EV Predictions.

This is expected to help combat some of the negative impacts of climate change caused by carbon and reduce demand for oil. The fly in the ointment is the popularity of sport utility vehicles (SUVs), which continues to soar regardless of whether they are powered by fossil fuels or batteries. It is believed that higher SUV sales last year reversed gains in electric vehicle sales.

So it should be encouraging to note that in India, one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, two-wheeled vehicles — small and light as they are — have led the electric car march, with a raft of upcoming startups and customers seeing easier adaptability from cars. electrical.

Now this journey is taking place in an uneven patch. Call it growing pains.

Story of the week: Electrocution

From Thursday, the government again cut subsidies on electric cars under the FAME-II scheme, which aims to promote faster manufacturing and adoption of electric and hybrid cars. The latest amendment reduces the incentive for electric two-wheelers (e2Ws) to a maximum of Rs 22,500 from Rs 60,000 apiece, resulting in a 20 per cent increase in the average price of e2Ws, which ranges from Rs 80,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh.

This makes people like Vijayan Sundaresan, who takes to the streets of Chennai every day supplying mom-and-pop shops, to have second thoughts about buying e2W. It will probably continue in its trusty old skin of splendor for quite some time.

Not surprisingly, industry estimates indicate that recorded sales of e2Ws may only hit half of the target of 2.3 million for this fiscal year.

The makers of e2W are working on cost-cutting measuresSuch as increasing prices, changing the size of batteries, and getting rid of some features. In the meantime, the new prices will give shocks to potential buyers.

The electric vehicle subsidy, which aims to help develop a local ecosystem and supply chain for electric vehicles, is an issue much mired in debate and controversy. But some believe it has made large parts of the industry dependent on government policy. As an example, the retail market share and sales of electric vehicles, after rising in 2022, It began to decline in January 2023. Industry players attributed the decline to the discontinuation of FAME-II subsidies, the rising cost of electric vehicles, and supply chain constraints.

Rajeev Bajaj, the outspoken president of Bajaj Auto — the scooter-turned-motorcycle-powered maker now working in electric vehicles — thinks FAME-II’s support is flawed strategy Because it is not sustainable.

The subsidy cuts coincided with a government investigation into its misuse and directives to boost battery standards in the wake of the e2W fires last summer.

With only 10 months left before the FAME-II deadline expires, the government has sponsored Just 41 percent of the target More than 1.5 million electric vehicles have been driven since the scheme was launched in March 2019. As the government plans not to extend the scheme beyond March 2024, the task is to meet the unfinished target of subsidizing 914,707 electric vehicles.

In other news…

India’s GDP grew 6.1 percent In the March quarter, exceeding analyst expectations. A Reuters poll of 56 economists last week estimated growth in the fourth quarter at 5 percent.

The performance in the March quarter – buoyed by a surprisingly large expansion in manufacturing and construction – led to an upward revision in overall economic growth in 2022-23 to 7.2 percent from 7 percent previously estimated.

How do Indian companies view the GDP numbers? “I think animal spirits are already in India Inc,” Sunil Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, said. Tell us.

The Reserve Bank of India expects the Indian economy to expand by 6.5 percent in this fiscal year (2023-2024). Although the forecast is much lower than it was last year, achieving this level of growth will not be easy due to a variety of factors. release.

It was proposed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the stock market regulator Stricter disclosure rules For some foreign portfolio investors to bring more transparency and confidence against the backdrop of the Adani-Hindenburg saga.

Tech that: A word from the tech and startup world

As the so-called startup funding winter continues in India, the venture capital system in the country is being upended. Foreign companies such as Tiger Global, Sequoia, SoftBank, Accel and Y Combinator are almost turning off their taps. This year, foreign investment in startups has been in India decreased by 72 percent Until now. The number of deals decreased from 852 to 241.

Watch it: From The Morning Show

The Indian Premier League became the first unicorn in the country in 2008, the year of its inception. This year, its value exceeded $10 billion, making it a “decimal,” or 10 times as much as a unicorn. Have you become Super Bowl India? find here.

What is obsessing over Suveen?

If people try to hold Elon Musk accountable for his claims, Bites won’t hold them accountable for it. But when it comes to being full of heart, musk isn’t just for weekend bites.

In the lead-up to his chaotic purchase of Twitter last year, Musk himself assumed, among other things, an “absolute freedom of speech.” It seems that he wanted to buy the social media platform to promote freedom of expression on it.

Of course, it’s important to see that the social network doesn’t turn down too many requests from countries to restrict or censor things. But when Matthew Iglesias, prof bloomberg The columnist pointed this out on Twitter (free speech allowed for now) quoting an article from El Pais, a Spanish-language daily newspaper from Spain, that Musk didn’t take kindly to.

Social decency aside, Musk called Iglesias “numb,” which is an odd choice of word because it’s an old-fashioned euphemism for describing someone as very stupid. Musk replied, “Please point out, since we had a real choice and we’re going to reflect it.”

Iglesias was not fond of the famous entrepreneur. “Look, I’m not the one who bought Twitter amid a barrage of statements about the principles of free speech. You obviously have your rights to run your business the way you want,” Iglesias replied.

Since buying Twitter, Musk has often come under fire for not living up to his “absolute freedom of speech” declaration. He tried to face the accusations with pragmatism, saying he must abide by the country’s laws.

In an interview with the BBC in April, he said: “The rules in India for what can be shown on social media are very strict, and we can’t bypass the laws of any country… If we have a choice between which of our people we go to jail or we abide by the laws, We will abide by the laws.”

Stings with musk on this. This is the pragmatic way to run a business. But we can’t help but wonder how compatible pragmatism is with absolutism.

This is Suveen’s signature. Please send comments, news or opinions on anything – from featureless electric vehicles to true free speechists – to [email protected].

(Suveen Sinha is Chief Content Editor at Business Standard)