TAIPEI, Taiwan — TEVA, Taiwan Electric Vehicle Alliance, is setting its sights on India as a prime target for its expansion into Asia. The newly-formed alliance is made up of 56 Taiwanese EV manufacturers and suppliers, with names such as Gogoro, Aeon, Kymco and SYM being among the most prominent consumer brands. Other prominent members of the alliance include China Motor Company (CMC), TECO and Fukuta.

In a bid to learn more about TEVA’s plans for India, we sat down with TAITRA President & CEO, Walter M.S. Yeh, who explains TEVA’s origins: “TEVA was initiated by our chairman James Huang after visiting several top vehicle manufacturers, especially in India, such as Hero, Mahindra and many others. India has a policy to move to electric vehicles by 2030 – demand is there, government policy is there, meaning there’s a good opportunity to work with the Indian industry. That’s the reason we’ve invited top names in the industry to meet with Taiwanese companies and suppliers of electric vehicles and parts.”

Walter M.S. Yeh
Walter M.S. Yeh

The Indian government is pledging to field 12 million electric motorcycles, in addition to electric cars, on its roads by 2030. Yeh sees TEVA as a way to promote Taiwanese technology on an emerging market, pointing out that EVs have already been in development for 20 years on the island, no doubt being helped out by its semiconductor industry. “Key components such as batteries, battery materials, reduction gearbox and motor components – are all produced in Taiwan,” he continues. “The main advantages of the Taiwanese EV industry is a complete and flexible ICT supply chain, key component technology meeting world standards and growing EV clusters in central Taiwan,” Yeh replies to the question of what sets the Taiwanese EV industry apart, before continuing to discuss price to performance ratios of Taiwanese components: “Component technology meets world standards. Quality is about the same, as good as Japanese components, which is why Japanese factories in South-East Asian countries choose Taiwanese components.”

Component supply, not ready-made consumer products complete with service networks, appear to be the alliance’s modus operandi in India, at least initially. “At the moment we’re looking at providing components as OEMs, supplying India’s manufacturers. Some big names already have huge manufacturing capacity, Taiwan can provide the components. Taiwan is strong in components and parts, we don’t have big car companies, but we have a lot of huge car component and part suppliers, from tires to engine parts. Of course EVs don’t have engines, they have motors, and Taiwan has several motor companies, like Fukuta, the world’s top motor supplier.“

Asked about India itself as the TEVA main target, Yeh points out a booming and maturing economy, with a GDP growing at a 7 percent per annum. Paired with the maturation of EV tech, Yeh says it’s the right time to get in, while also keenly seeing other tech projects where Taiwan has a lot to offer to India: “It’s a good time for the EV industry, linked to their government policies. Other industries such as Smart Cities are important to India. Last year their government wanted to set up 100 Smart Cities, they already have 60 or 70. What are Smart Cities? Smart transportation, they have to improve their transport system, after that there’s improvements of water quality, smart water systems. Waste water management, clean water as well as smart energy – important challenges for all cities in India, where the government is investing heavily. EVs are part of this, naturally. EVs will improve the pollution [situation] in the cities, EVs are a very good [clean] solution, and that is the Indian government’s policy.”

Elaborating on other potential markets Yeh mentioned The Philippines “They have a policy to change old three-wheeled vehicles in Manila, and we see an opportunity there as well. Vietnam and Indonesia are other options for two-wheeled vehicles.”

The Taiwan Electric Vehicle Alliance will make its first public appearance at the Taiwan Expo 2018, New Delhi, May 17-19, the first Taiwan Expo to be held in India. “In the EV area of Taiwan Expo, we will have business matchmaking, seminars, joint Indian-Taiwanese forums,” says Yeh. “The event is also open to the public, so it can experience and learn more about Taiwan.”

— Jonas Klar is an editor for EE Times Asia