The EV Powertrain Edition

EV powertrains for India and similar emerging markets of South Asia, Africa & South America have to be built super-rugged to perform well in tough weather, road and usage conditions. Not just that, they also have to compete in price and performance with fossil fuel vehicles, in order to see accelerated customer adoption. All of these pose interesting challenges and opportunities for Indian EV makers.

What’s under the hood?

While most electric cars look similar on the outside to their fossil fuel-powered counterparts, underneath the hood things are very different. The electric powertrain is fundamentally superior to an internal combustion engine (ICE). It has one or more motors that produce motion by taking electric energy from the battery, without generating significant heat! With more torque at lower speeds, an electric car

gives more acceleration than a comparable ICE vehicle.

Did you know that, unlike your petrol or diesel car that gives you fewer km to the liter in city driving vs on the highway, the electric vehicle can actually deliver better “fuel economy” in the city due to regenerative braking? As EVs can harvest energy from braking, most of the kinetic energy spent to accelerate when the light turns green is recaptured at the next red light. 

Source: EV Reporter- EV components, CEEW-India’s-EV-Transition-Post-COVID-19-22Dec20, Avendus EV Report,

Understanding the Motor

Sources: ; ; ; ;,

Powertrain Market

Source:Avendus EV Report , Ostara Advisors Estimates,,,,CEEW-India’s-EV-Transition-Post-COVID-19-22Dec20.pdf,

Source :, Individual Company websites

Top 4 global trends in EV powertrain technology

  1. Use of silicon carbide transistors in inverters. Use of insulated-gate bipolar transistors, or IGBTs, in inverters  in advanced e-powertrain designs bring in cost efficiency at high volumes, wide availability, and operational efficiency. Customized inverters with silicon-carbide metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (SiC MOSFET) are even more efficient and can provide significant opportunities to optimize the e-powertrain system—for e.g., downsizing the thermal management system.
  2. Smart thermal management. These systems, which connect the battery, electric motor (e-motor), inverter, and cabin, have become the standard architecture for state-of-the-art BEVs. These systems enable vehicle components to maintain optimal temperatures, regulate heat flows, and maintain energy efficiency. Overall system costs can be further reduced if vehicles can use heat from their e-motors or inverters, eliminating the need for a separate heater. 
  3. Submerged oil cooling of the e-motor. Many vehicles cool their e-motors via liquid-cooling jackets because it’s a low-cost solution. But another solution, oil cooling, enables a higher peak power at lower cost. Oil cooling also provides the packaging advantages of a slimmer motor, since an outer shell is not required. Models that use oil cooling can reach a peak power of 211 kilowatts (kW),whereas models which are cooled by a liquid jacket, only reach up to 160 kW 
  4. Integrated onboard charger and converter of direct current-to-direct current. An integrated direct current-to-direct current (DC–DC) converter and onboard charger (OBC) unit can significantly reduce costs through the integration of physical and functional components,the cost of a single DC–DC and OBC unit is 19 percent lower than the cost of having two separate units. 


Powertrain Investments & deals 



EV Investment & deals

EV Sales tracker

Source: jmk research-monthly-ev-update-JUNE-2021

Credits: We would like to thank Dr. Amitabh Saran, Co-Founder, Altigreen Propulsion Labs for his inputs on challenges and opportunities for Indian EV powertrain makers.

About Ostara Advisors:

Ostara Advisors (formerly Dhruva Advisors) is India’s first e-mobility and sustainability-focused boutique investment banking firm. Our focus sectors are Electric Vehicles, IoT & Automation, CleanTech, and Renewable Energy. The firm was founded in 2015 by Vasudha Madhavan, who is one of the first investment bankers in India to specialise in Electric Mobility. Marquee deals include advising on India’s first Electric Vehicle two-wheeler M&A, where she represented Greaves Cotton Ltd. on their acquisition of pioneering EV 2W maker, Ampere Vehicles.

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Mukund Ranganathan


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Mukund Ranganathan


Mukund is a seasoned investment banker with 27 years of experience in advising companies on M&A and capital raising transactions. He has served most recently as Joint Managing Director at Motilal Oswal Investment Banking, where he worked from June 2014 to January 2021. During his career, he has facilitated over 70 strategic financial transactions including Motherson Sumi’s acquisition of PKC Group (Finland), sale of Aurangabad Electricals to Mahindra CIE, Siemens’ sale of Bangalore Airport, sale of Spicejet, Aegis’ acquisition of PeopleSupport (USA), sale of Air Deccan among others. Mukund has extensive experience in raising private equity funding as well as in the capital markets including IPOs, follow-on offerings, GDRs and ADRs for L&T Finance, Indostar, Dixon Technologies, Bharat Financial Inclusion, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Wipro, GAIL, etc.

Mukund has earlier worked for 9 years at Edelweiss Financial Services and started his career in 1996 with a 9-year stint at Morgan Stanley. Mr. Ranganathan holds a B.Tech degree in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Madras (1994) and a PGDM from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (1996).

Vasudha Madhavan

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Vasudha Madhavan

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Vasudha is the founder of Ostara Advisors (formerly Dhruva Advisors) and is one of the first investment bankers in India to specialise in Electric Mobility, having advised clients in this space since 2017. She made her all-India M&A League Table debut in the top 20 in October 2018.

In 2023, Vasudha was felicitated by India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) as one of the “Women leaders driving energy sector in India” 

Vasudha has over 21 years of experience in Corporate & Investment Banking; with leading organizations like Citibank and ICICI Bank, as well as in boutique investment banking, based in Mumbai and Bangalore. Vasudha is responsible for having set up and expanded the ‘Private Equity & Hedge Fund’ coverage vertical for Citibank, India. She has also been part of Citibank’s Risk Management team for mid-size corporates, managing the bank’s lending decisions to a portfolio of companies in ITES, auto components, facilities management services, logistics, diversified manufacturing etc.

Vasudha is also a mentor at Aspire for Her, a unique organisation that enables women to join and stay in the workforce, through campus engagement, mentorships and skilling workshops. Their vision is to impact 1 million+ women and add $5B to India’s GDP through increased participation of women in the workforce by 2025.

Vasudha earned her MBA in Finance from XLRI, Jamshedpur, India and her Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Mount Carmel College, Bangalore, India. She is also a certified Advanced Scuba Diver and enjoys photography, having held several solo and group exhibitions of her work.

R. 'Shanx' Ravisankar

Industry Expert – Financial Technology and Cloud Solutions

Shanx is a founding member and former CEO of Oracle Financial Services Software, (formerly known as i-flex Solutions, the company was acquired by Oracle in 2006). Shanx retired in 2011 as the Chief Operating Officer, Oracle Financial Services Global Business Unit (FSGBU). As a technology leader, he has also been profiled in leading trade and industry publications. In 2008, Shanx was selected as one of the 50 Outstanding Asian American business leaders. This accolade celebrates Asian business leaders and recognizes their pivotal roles in Corporate America. Shanx is an engineering graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, and has an MBA in Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India.
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