Powering Progress: Eaton’s innovative stride in EVs, tech, and green practices

In an exclusive interview, Shailendra Shukla, Managing Director of Eaton’s Mobility Group in India, provides invaluable insights into Eaton’s strategic initiatives within the rapidly evolving electric vehicle (EV) market. The discussion also sheds light on the company’s emphasis on leveraging Industry 4.0 for advanced manufacturing capabilities, coupled with a resolute commitment to sustainability.

Here are the edited excerpts from the interview.

How does your company plan to make significant contributions to the EV market in India, and what growth strategies do you foresee in the coming years?

Our organisation draws on extensive global experiences to navigate the evolving landscape of the electric vehicle (EV) market. Notably, regions such as Europe, the USA, and China have surged ahead in EV adoption, and India is making significant strides, bolstered by government initiatives like the PLI scheme, especially in the two and three-wheeler sectors. Passenger vehicles are following suit, while commercial vehicles are poised for growth with the integration of alternate fuels.

Eaton maintains a clear strategic focus—we specialise in essential components for EVs rather than complete vehicles. Our expertise lies in power transmissions, distribution, and connections, catering to both passenger and commercial vehicles. Leveraging insights gained from successful global deployments, we possess valuable data to facilitate a seamless transition in the Indian market. Currently collaborating with potential OEMs, we anticipate introducing our products to provide an elevated EV experience in the Indian automotive landscape.

In addition to EVs, what alternative mobility solutions and technological advancements is the Indian automotive industry exploring?

Various alternative fuel options are gaining prominence in the automotive landscape alongside the prevalent use of compact natural gas (CNG). The government is actively endorsing biofuels and biodiesel, while liquefied natural gas (LNG) is emerging as another viable option. Notably, the concept of a hydrogen economy is gaining traction, offering versatility as a fuel cell or within an internal combustion engine.

The current landscape presents a diverse array of alternative fuels, making it challenging to predict the predominant choice for widespread adoption. As the automotive industry and consumers navigate through this evolution, different vehicle segments may opt for distinct fuel sources. For instance, heavy-duty commercial vehicles could potentially benefit from hydrogen, ensuring cost savings and improved total ownership value.

In the passenger vehicle segment, electrification remains a primary focus, with hydrogen and alternatives to CNG also being explored. The industry finds itself at a critical juncture of technological transformation, balancing the growth of electrification with emerging alternatives.

It’s crucial to note that traditional internal combustion engines, powered by petrol and diesel, are not going to disappear soon. Their continued presence is anticipated, especially considering India’s expanding market. Consequently, the automotive landscape is poised to encompass a blend of traditional, alternative, and electrified propulsion systems.

How is your company strategically applying Industry 4.0 principles and smart manufacturing technologies to elevate the production of power solutions for vehicles?

When delving into the realm of Industry 4.0, we’re essentially exploring the finer details of digitization, a pursuit that holds significant importance at Eaton, where a digital mindset is a cornerstone of our leadership attributes.
Within the scope of digitisation, there are three primary areas of focus. Firstly, there’s the customer-facing aspect, where our aim is to cater to all the needs of our customers—be it through monetisation, providing solutions, or enhancing their overall experience with us. The second facet revolves around our employees and how they engage with the digitisation process. Lastly, digitisation is about driving efficiencies throughout our systems, and this is where Industry 4.0 comes into play, especially in optimising manufacturing systems.

Eaton has made notable strides in embracing Industry 4.0, and this commitment extends to our plans in India. Going deeper into the Industry 4.0 landscape, it’s essentially about interconnected systems. We are talking about the Internet of Things, system integrations, simulation, augmented reality, additive printing, big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and robotics—these are the building blocks of Industry 4.0.

At Eaton, we have strategically chosen where to focus our efforts. We’ve integrated industrial robots and harnessed the power of AI. Additionally, we utilize additive printing not just for mass manufacturing but also for maintenance purposes. Augmented reality is another tool in our kit, and our extensive use of the Internet of Things underscores its importance in seamless system integration. Of course, the implementation of these technologies necessitates robust cloud infrastructure and cybersecurity measures.

In essence, when all these elements work harmoniously, it’s referred to as a “lighthouse.” This is the pinnacle any manufacturing operation aspires to reach, and Eaton already boasts a few of these beacons. Our goal in India is to join the ranks soon. The beauty of the lighthouse concept lies in its ability to drive efficiency, enhance quality, ensure safety, and elevate overall productivity—elements that align seamlessly with Eaton’s commitment to excellence.

What has Eaton done or what are the strategies that Eaton has arranged to ensure that sustainability practices are put in place?

In our commitment to sustainability, we have boldly declared our targets. By 2030, we aim to reduce scope three emissions by 15% and achieve carbon neutrality, with a 50% drop in scope one and two emissions. Using efficient energy sources is integral to minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.

Our sustainability efforts extend beyond internal operations to customer solutions that positively impact the environment. Globally, and specifically in India, all our plants are certified as zero waste to landfill and zero water discharge. We actively engage in water conservation projects, aligning with Eaton’s global vision. Our overarching goal is to be carbon neutral by 2030, driving a reduction in emissions across the board.

What are the prevailing trends in power solutions for vehicles in India, and how is your company strategically positioning itself to capitalize on these evolving trends?

Exploring current trends, electrification emerges as a focal point, necessitating a robust charging infrastructure integrating electrical, mechanical, and digitization components. Eaton’s forward-thinking approach is exemplified by strategic acquisitions like Rail Power Solutions in the U.S., underscoring our dedication to leading innovations in Power Solution.

Organisations are actively looking at decreasing energy consumption so is there a strategy in place for Eaton to ensure the right manufacturing processes have happened efficiently?

As mentioned earlier, we have made significant strides in declaring our sustainability goals. This commitment translates into a strategic focus on optimising our energy consumption and increasing our reliance on renewable sources. Our dedication extends to implementing energy-efficient products and processes across our entire manufacturing systems, ultimately culminating in the delivery of energy-efficient solutions for our customers. This comprehensive approach is being implemented across various facets, particularly in areas characterised by dual engines or heightened activity, resulting in substantial benefits.

Could you elaborate on the specific goals or strategies Eaton aims to address, and how do you envision the growth opportunities and evolution of these strategies over the coming years?

As an organisation, our global strategy is meticulously crafted and seamlessly implemented worldwide, extending to every corner of the globe, including India. Our strategic focus lies in three key areas. Firstly, we are committed to maintaining a robust presence in the traditional business, recognising its enduring significance. The aftermarket sector represents another pivotal area where we foresee increased acceptability and are keen on enhancing our practices.

The other area of emphasis is E-Mobility, where we envision substantial growth opportunities. Within E-Mobility, our focus extends beyond conventional automotive applications to explore new frontiers such as agriculture and transit, broadening our scope beyond the traditional automotive domain.

In essence, our approach entails a balanced mix of initiatives across these areas, ensuring that we pursue significant endeavors while maintaining unwavering attention to our traditional business roots.


Eaton is strategically positioning itself in the evolving automotive landscape, focusing on essential components for EVs, embracing Industry 4.0 for efficiency, and committing to sustainability. With a balanced growth strategy across traditional, aftermarket, and E-Mobility sectors, Eaton is poised for a dynamic and impactful role in the future of the automotive industry.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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