Precision Camshaft supplies camshafts to Hyundai, Maruti Suzuki, Volkswagen, Audi and Tata Motors in India and overseas.
Precision Camshaft (PCL), India’s biggest manufacturer of camshafts, is exploring talks with truck and bus makers for a tie-up that could see the company provide tailor-made electric vehicle solutions for the domestic market.
The Maharashtra-based company which supplies camshafts to Hyundai, Maruti Suzuki, Volkswagen, Audi and Tata Motors in India and overseas is eager to venture into the steadily growing electric mobility market.
PCL is making the EV push through its fully-acquired Dutch subsidiary Emoss, which specialises in retro fitment of electric drive systems onto fossil-fuel powered trucks or buses. Emoss was fully bought out by PCL in mid-2020 after it bought 51 percent stake in the company in 2018.
Karan Shah, Director (business development), PCL said, “We are in talks with a few companies for exploring a partnership where we can provide the entire system such as battery kits, traction module, drivetrain, electrical systems and software which would replace the conventional engine and drivetrain”.
Shah declined to name the companies it has held talks with as they are in the preliminary stages of discussion. In addition PCL is also in talks for retro fitment contracts from large corporate houses and third-party logistics providers.
“We want to focus on retrofitted commercial vehicles because there is no one operating in this area. We have the capability to work on 10-50 tonne vehicles,” Shah added.
Retro fitting of vehicles is a non-existent business segment in India excluding the involvement of a handful of experiments undertaken by engineering students on an extremely small scale. Companies have steered clear of the segment for want of any assistance from the government or the total lack of stand on the subject.
For instance, the government does not provide any monetary incentives for converting a diesel-powered truck to a battery electric vehicle. But there are subsidies and other incentives given to vehicles that are born electric under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme.
“We converted a Force Motors Traveller (a mini bus) into a fully electric vehicle. The vehicle is in the testing stage with the ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India),” added Shah.
The retro fitment cost of a Force Traveller could be up to Rs 40 lakh which is twice the cost of the vehicle itself. Such a significant jump in cost is due to the expensive battery which according to Shah makes up 50 percent of the retro fitment cost.
PCL’s mid-term (three-five year) plan also includes becoming an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of electric vehicles wherein the company would source vehicle chassis from a manufacturer and mount the entire EV system before selling the final product in the market.
“We do see ourselves becoming a smaller OEM where we can partner with a chassis manufacturer and deliver the complete product which could be a truck or a bus. This is kind of a 3-year plan which would require a lot of investment,” Shah added.