Iftikhar Ali

Reshaping India's EV Landscape with Innovative Charging Infrastructure

Iftikhar Ali

Founder & CMD,

Pi EV Solutions

I n the dynamic landscape of electric vehicles (EVs), India stands poised to embrace a transformative journey. With the EV market projected to soar from $3.21 billion in 2022 to a staggering $113.99 billion by 2029, the growth potential is unprecedented, painting a picture of vast opportunities on the horizon. However, a critical hurdle threatens to impede this progress: the absence of a robust charging infrastructure network.
Currently, India boasts a modest half-million registered EVs. But to unlock the industry’s true potential, a fundamental requirement must be met: the development of a widespread charging infrastructure that empowers EV drivers with convenience and range assurance. Without it, the future of electric mobility in India risks being overshadowed by concerns and reservations among consumers.
Iftikhar Ali, a visionary force determined to reshape the EV landscape and redefine India’s charging infrastructure ecosystem, is all geared up to fill the gap. Understanding that the growth of the EV market hinges on accessible charging solutions, he takes up the mantle, embarking on a mission to establish the largest EV charging infrastructure network across the nation. The urgency to bridge the charging infrastructure gap cannot be overstated. Experts project that India’s EV market could reach a staggering value of $206 billion within the next decade, should the nation achieve its ambitious 2030 EV targets. However, this aspiration can only materialise with a robust backbone of charging infrastructure that spans the length and breadth of the country, accounting for traffic patterns and population density.
Iftikhar envisions a future where charging stations and points become ubiquitous and seamlessly integrated into highways, key roads, cities, residential complexes, malls, hospitals, commercial areas, and more. By strategically positioning their infrastructure network, he empowers EV owners with the confidence to navigate their journeys, free from the constraints of range anxiety. As the world embraces sustainability and shifts towards greener mobility solutions, Iftikhar spearheads the charge towards an electrified future through his company, Pi EV Solutions. His unwavering commitment to powering the paradigm shift resonates with a world poised for change. With the imminent cessation of gasoline and diesel engine production by 2030–2035, he stands ready to support this transformative transition, setting the stage for an era defined by clean energy and progressive mobility.
Join us as we delve into the pioneering solutions, game-changing initiatives, and unwavering passion that drive Iftikhar’s mission to revolutionise India’s charging infrastructure landscape. 

Can you tell us about your background and how it led you to your current position as a leader?

After graduating as an electrical engineer from NIT, I ventured into various business ventures, including trading, construction, engineering contracting, and exports. Although these endeavours didn’t go exactly as planned, they provided valuable learning experiences and insights into the business world. I realised that there was much more to learn, and I consider these experiences a privilege. However, I eventually made the tough decision to seek full-time employment while still harbouring a deep-rooted desire and drive to start a new business. I had the opportunity to work with 11 EV Leaders in India 2023 prominent technology companies in India, where I worked on global projects. Notably, I contributed to the world’s first fintech and developed cross-border payment solutions for markets in North America, the EU, and the Asia Pacific. In the past decade, I have transitioned into becoming a serial entrepreneur, successfully establishing fintech startups in Canada, the UK, and India. Collectively, these ventures are now valued at over Rs.800 crore. In recent years, there has been a global realisation, both scientifically and politically, that sustainability is not just a business term but a commitment we all must make. Personally, I am deeply committed to sustainability and believe it to be the most important and responsible path to follow. This commitment inspired me to found Pi EV Solutions (PiEV), a company designed to meet the demands of the new business environment, focusing on sustainability, cleaner energy, and lower consumption.

Please briefly describe your roles and responsibilities. What do you want to do differently in your next role?

As a founder & CEO, my role is to set the trajectory and velocity of the startup, establish its core building blocks, navigate through the challenges and complexity, build alliances, and ensure that the company has a sound foundation to grow. My responsibilities include making sure that the team remains motivated and believes in what we are doing and why it is important to stick to our journey. For our investors, our responsibilities include maintaining transparency in our day-to-day operations. My next role would be to do the same with another startup.

The EV arena sees new players emerge every day. What challenges do you foresee, and how are you planning to counter them?

While new players entering the market are expected, it’s important to note that success in the electric vehicle (EV) industry is not solely determined by size. This is a complex challenge with various factors to consider. Vision and strategy play a crucial role in shaping the future of the EV space. Having ample funds is advantageous for big players, but what truly matters is the clarity of their vision. Competition is inevitable, and the key to staying ahead is continuous improvement. We strive to constantly innovate and provide our customers with cutting-edge technology and engineering solutions that exceed their expectations. Our approach includes both short-term and medium-tolong-term solutions to address evolving needs.

What are your best strategies to drive the growth and revenue of the organisation? Can you please shed some light on your long-term plan?

As we transition from Stage 1, our company is now entering Stage 2, a pivotal phase focused on growth and scaling up. One of our key strategic priorities is the rapid expansion of our network nationwide. With our product lines fully prepared, we are ready to enter scalability mode, ensuring a strong foundation for future success. In line with our growth strategy, we are actively pursuing acquisitions to bolster our position in the market. We recognise that the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is a crucial factor that will drive revenue growth for our company. Notably, the EV market is experiencing rapid acceleration, with FY2023 witnessing an impressive 170% year-on-year increase, resulting in 1.5 million units sold. To further fuel the adoption of EVs, we have introduced the innovative MyEV programme. This programme aims to enhance the accessibility of EV ownership, offering a subscription-based model similar to mobile phone plans. Subscribers have the flexibility to choose between prepaid or postpaid options, eliminating the need for full EV ownership. The programme includes various benefits such as built-in road tax, insurance, roadside assistance, and more. Additionally, customers earn rewards points with each purchase of new miles, adding further value to their EV experience. As we witness the natural acceleration of EV adoption, our commitment to establishing a robust network and the introduction of the MyEV programme are integral to our mission.

What are your vision and mission related to transforming the EV industry? How are you working towards it?

As an industry, my vision is to embrace a long-term approach and achieve the core objectives of the “Transition to EV.” I like to call it an EV migration or even an EV exodus. The magnitude, speed, and volume of this transition are unparalleled in human history. It requires a collective global effort. The first step in this migration is to focus on immediate objectives: providing commercially viable and reliable mobility platforms for people and establishing a robust charging network. Once these objectives are achieved, we must take a holistic view of the industry and hold ourselves accountable for delivering on the promises of a truly sustainable ecosystem. We must recognise that we are in the early stages of this transition and that there is still much engineering work to be done to create a truly circular ecosystem. By working together, with the collaboration of private, semi-private, and government entities, I am confident that we can accomplish this ambitious goal.

What is your hobby that keeps you occupied in your free time?

Finding free time has become increasingly challenging, and it’s an aspect of my life that I recognise needs improvement. The days seem to stretch on, making it difficult to allocate quality time for my family. However, whenever I do have a spare moment or a slower day, I make a conscious effort to prioritise spending time with my loved ones. In addition to my commitment to family, I have a deep passion for music. I avidly explore various genres, ranging from Indian to Italian, Japanese to Western. Listening to music brings me immense joy and relaxation. Whenever possible, I also make time to practise and enhance my musical skills. Maintaining connections with friends is equally important to me. Despite my busy schedule, I understand the value of nurturing friendships and strive to stay in touch with those who are dear to me.