World EV Day: In conversation with actor, entrepreneur Gul Panag about India’s transition to electric mobility

World EV Day: In conversation with actor, entrepreneur Gul Panag about India’s transition to electric mobility

It’s been nearly two centuries since the first electric vehicles were developed, and yet the 21st century is recognized as a renaissance for the segment. Despite early success, electric vehicles (EV) fell short in the race against commercial gasoline and diesel vehicles. But now, fueled by increasing concern for environmental sustainability, EVs have made a comeback and are poised to make the internal combustion engine (ICE) a thing of the past in decades to come.

To celebrate the benefits of EVs in shaping a better future for people and the planet, September 9 is being declared World EV Day. It is a global movement to drive change, celebrate e-mobility and promote sustainable transport.

On this occasion, we spoke with Gul Panag, a popular Indian actor, producer and entrepreneur. She has championed sustainable lifestyle practices for decades, promoting the use of electric vehicles to combat climate change and air pollution. Gul has started a new chapter in her entrepreneurial journey by co-founding Sunfuel Electric, a start-up that aims to provide seamless charging experiences for electric vehicles across India.

“I was fascinated by the fact that even the first generation of EVs, about 7-8 years ago, are 98% efficient (in terms of energy consumption). Compare this to the ICE (age), where even the most efficient are about 42-45%. My primary commuting vehicle has been electric for the past seven years. And it’s fun to drive,” says Gul.

Sudhir Nayak, founder and chief executive of Sunfuel Electric, also joined us for the conversation. Sudhir is a masterful black belt in six sigma – a quality control process that companies use to eliminate defects and improve processes. Building on his management experience, he ventured into this sustainability-focused company to contribute to climate action.

“Sustainable practices are in most cases also efficient practices as we see with the EVs versus fossil fuel engines. This is the core axiom and everything else can be built on it. More efficiency can be translated into cost-effectiveness. I therefore advise young entrepreneurs to get this message across to consumers. As the book ‘The 48 Laws of Power’ says, appeal to their self-interest, not their grace,” explains Sudhir.

India’s EV landscape is gaining momentum, supported by government incentives, proven EV viability and the growing trend of greener lifestyle choices among Indians. As the government aims to have 30% of vehicles sold in India electric by 2030, the electric vehicle market in India is expected to be estimated at $2 billion by 2023. As battery costs gradually fall, most consumers are realizing the long-term cost benefits of owning an EV. Companies like Sunfuel are now doing their best to address charging infrastructure concerns.
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