Autobot India, which introduced electric vehicle courses way back in 2016, offers a comprehensive solutions platform for E-mobility and EV education worldwide. It has established training hubs in Pune, Bengaluru and Delhi.

When Ashwini Tiwary, one of the founders of the startup Autobot India, moved to Pune from Delhi in 2020, he saw a few cars on the road that carried green number plates, indicating that those were battery-operated vehicles. In a year, the number of green plates has grown to the extent that it does not surprise him anymore.

But, when he visited his village in Bihar last month around the time COP26 was taking place in Glasgow, Tiwary was taken aback when he came across four electric scooters. “I am convinced that there is a rising awareness about electric two-wheelers and four-wheelers across India and a rapid adoption of this technology despite anxieties about range and cost,” he says.

Autobot India, which introduced electric vehicle (EV) courses way back in 2016, is one of the pioneers in the field in India. Today, it offers a comprehensive solutions platform for E-mobility and EV education worldwide. India is the third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, after China and the US, and the government has set an ambitious target of having 30 per cent of private cars, 70 per cent of commercial vehicles, 40 per cent of buses and 80 per cent of two and three-wheelers to be electric by 2030. As an early sign of change, there were more electric vehicles sold in India in September than ever before. Autobot India is among the companies helping develop specialised programmes, in collaboration with government agencies and other organisations, to drive the country’s transition to EVs.

“As a company, we are working towards bringing awareness, skills and talent development towards electric vehicle technology. There are three major areas of focus — knowledge about EV technology and why people should adopt it, developing the technical talent of the industry so that it can focus on a faster pace of development and have available talent to support in their journey; and capability development, where we are working with organisations that are manufacturing EVs in India, their tech employees, who want to join the EV side, and developing their capability and making them more robust in this technology to join their own company’s initiatives,” says Tiwary.

Among its initiatives are hubs that Autobot India has established in Pune, Bengaluru and Delhi, where people can come and get hands-on training. The company will have 15 hubs across India by 2025. To celebrate the country’s 75th Independence Day, Autobot India launched the Autobot Academy, which is an interactive and online classroom that is supplemented by hands-on experience at the company’s facilities. “When students come to our facility, they already have clear concepts about the technology because of the blended platform, and are focussed on getting hands-on training,” says Tiwary.

He adds that Autobot India is also working on innovations, which is one of their primary focus points. “We are bringing technological experiences for the corporates, that is the industry, as well as student and working professionals and trying to answer how they can participate in the larger mission to make India an EV nation,” he says.

The Covid-19 pandemic has played a role in many Indians rethinking their attitudes to pollution and climate change. Tiwary says that, in 2016-17, he had conducted more than 100 orientation sessions across India and interacted with thousands of students about EVs and the need to make preparations but it is after the pandemic that he noticed that several universities are wanting to collaborate with the company.

They did a trial in 2019 in Greater Noida, UP, running a facility for a year, and now has 25 colleges and four or five deemed universities to partner with. “We have started developing a lab solution, where we can support the universities with infrastructure where students can work on a hands-on project to learn about electric vehicles. We have started working on developing certain platforms in our lab in Pune and will launch it in the new financial year,” he says.

The company is still bootstrapped. As they earn revenue, they reinvest it in platform building, course building, marketing and infrastructure “because we are more focused on hands-on training and need physical tools and vehicles”. “We keep our expenses to a minimum. We are working on multiple fronts though currently, education and awareness are focus points. As a company, we are aware that we are in a fight for the future. The country and the world need to make sacrifices and change the behaviour so that our children and future generations do not have to pay,” he says.

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