Accelerating India’s EV growth (Make in India)
It is possible for India to become the global leader in electrification. It can be done only when there are proper planning and investments in the field of transportation and energy. It’s not necessary to be dependant on China to provide lithium-ion battery cells and battery packs to support our electric and climate goals.
Various countries are focused mainly on developing the manufacturing capacity of the lithium-ion battery to reduce foreign reliance, especially from China. All the countries across the globe are becoming competitive in becoming the global leader in battery power ecosystem. Thus, it is necessary for India to have planning and preparation for dominance in this sector.
It is important to increase EV penetration in India to achieve our climate goals. Major components of the lithium-ion battery such as raw material mining and refining, cell manufacturing, pack manufacturing and EV manufacturing must be developed in India. Many other sub-industries included in this sector such as materials, chemistry, mechanical and electrical engineering, infrastructure, automation, etc must also be developed which not only create job opportunities but also makes a pathway for India to develop largest global industries.
In order to create a change in our manufacturing trajectory, we must focus on our knowledge centres in our future industries. India has the 4th largest car market and the largest 2-wheeler and 3-wheeler markets. By improving our battery value chain and EV ecosystem large export market can be created which leads to greater employment expansion.
India is reliant on Chinese companies for Lithium-ion battery cells and battery packs. Other countries around Asia have also maintained their presence in exporting batteries. Very few companies develop their own battery packs.
The Make In India policy can help us to create a domestic battery manufacturing ecosystem. There are difficult engineering problems related to battery packs operating in India which has to be solved.
Environmental challenges such as heat, vibrations and dust for long-term performance cannot be solved by generic battery packs. We have to be thoughtful in supporting domestic industry priorities. Incentives to domestic battery pack manufacturers can increase domestic growth but ground-up manufacturing should also be focused.
India is the 2nd largest cellphone manufacturer. Though India is capturing only a small portion of the value, as most of the cell components are imported. COVID-19 has created awareness about anti-pollution and benefits of electrifying mobility. Hence, we have to create domestic technology like 2nd application and recycling. These have the potential to increase the battery cost. Recycling can also help us in being less dependant on imported materials such as Lithium, Cobalt and Nickel.
Instead of depending on foreign companies to build the future generation of mobility and energy storage products, we can do it ourselves and make India seize and lead the opportunity of becoming the global leader.