Virtual Auto Showcase 2020: A summary of India's first digital auto show
As Covid hasn't abated enough to organise a full-blown auto show, the Virtual Auto Showcase, a Times Group initiative, showed the way forward for the industry with the first ever virtual automotive show. Co-powered by Skoda Auto India, the initiative was an eclectic mix of panel discussions offering in-depth knowledge on the goings-on within the industry; presentations from personalities within the industry or related fields imparting findings from their research or work sphere; and finally experience zones, where the multitude of associated brands gave a short intro of their products and/or brand philosophy. Keeping with the event’s overall theme, a session hosted by evo India’s editorial director Sirish Chandran with EV industry heads like Sohinder Gill, CEO Global business, Hero Electric, and Tarun Mehta, co-founder, Ather Energy, focused on electric mobility, its evolution, and the level at which it now pervades into urban mobility. Multiple Indian and Asian racing champ and founder, IR e-sports, Rayomand Banajee spoke about Indian motorsport, from the early days (Sholavaram, Barrackpore), to the present and a glimpse of the future (read: e-racing series).
Another panel meet hosted by Sirish Chandran, this time with sales and marketing heads of brands like HMSI (Yadvinder Singh Guleria), Tata Electric Mobility (Sujon Roy) and BMW Motorrad (Abhinandan Gopalsetty) spoke on sales trends post the Covid era, and how prospective customers opt more for online research. “More tickets than digits,” as Guleria put it, was the general consensus. On the EV topic there was a short presentation by Shailesh Borse, senior GM, TVS Auto Assist, on the work done by the brand across 100 cities pan-India, and its tentative steps into roadside assistance for EVs as well. Dilbagh Gill, team principal, Mahindra Racing, spoke on the brand’s Formula E journey, and on how its motorsport efforts contribute towards sustainable mobility. However, the Virtual Auto Showcase was more than just preaching to Gen Next. There were also accounts from YouTube personalities like Dino (of Dino’s Vault fame) who narrated a personal anecdote of loss, driving home the importance of safe riding. Raquel Pinan of the Automotive Intelligence Centre, Spain spoke about the future of mobility innovations, both in technology as well as with regards to infrastructure. All in all, the event was a well-rounded take on the Indian automotive sphere, with components relevant to both the serious industry watcher as well as the young enthusiast and technophile.