A face-off that has dire consequences is turning out to be quite funny to observe from the sidelines. In its rush to bring in electric vehicles (EVs) in India, Niti Aayog has directed India’s major two-wheeler makers to present a plan within the next two weeks which will reveal their roadmap to introduce EV products in their portfolio. Industry players have not taken it very enthusiastically though, blaming the government panel for a half-hearted effort.
Niti Aayog officials and the Indian automobile industry leaders recently met to discuss the electric mobility roadmap for the country. Surprisingly, there was not a single lithium-ion battery manufacturer present in the meeting, as mentioned by Rajiv Bajaj – Managing Director, Bajaj. Considering that the batteries are a crucial part of EVs, being the costliest embedded part, the lack of any global manufacturer present in the meeting hints at a lack of foresight on Niti Aayog’s part.
For now, India, like most of the other countries around the world, is importing lithium-ion batteries from China for its electric vehicles. A considerable increase in the number of EVs necessitates a large scale homegrown production of these batteries to bring down the overall cost of the end product.
(REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: BCCL)
This highlights another, and potentially a bigger problem. As mentioned by Venu Srinivasan, Chairman of TVS Motor Company, such a rapid transition to electric vehicles would only increase India’s dependence on China. China is currently the leading producer of ltihium-ion batteries as well as electric vehicles. To import one or the other would only lead to the same effect. Also, there is a very high probability that through the government’s push for EVs, Chinese auto players will swarm the Indian market with their EV products, which will likely be cheaper than what the Indian companies will be able to come up with.