Battery woes tripping up India’s electric vehicles dreams

However, analysts and industry experts say it will take a while before India becomes self reliant in this area, given the growing demand.

Published: 29th October 2019 07:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th October 2019 07:29 AM   |  A+A-

One of the most costly components, batteries comprise 30 per cent of an EV’s cost

One of the most costly components, batteries comprise 30 per cent of an EV’s cost

By Express News Service

Even as India has lined up an ambitious plan to promote electric vehicles (EV), the availability of top-quality lithium-ion batteries remains a pain point for EV companies, since local manufacturing is yet to take off and EV makers depend on China for imports.“With all the policy push, it is good to see many automobile companies coming up with EV models. But, the supply of the lithium-ion batteries still remains a matter of concern. Currently, the supply of this crucial component is much below demand and a large portion of this demand is met by imports. The timeline for EV transition is also ambitious and the huge dependency on imports will not help the industry in the long run,” said a senior executive from Hero Future Energy.

Batteries comprise 30 per cent of the cost of an EV, one of the most expensive components in the entire unit, and the Indian government is planning to get local manufacturing of these batteries up and running as soon as possible.

However, analysts and industry experts say it will take a while before India becomes self-reliant in this area, given the growing demand.

“India needs a minimum of 10 GWh of cells by 2022, which would need to be expanded to about 50 GWh (Gigawatt hours) by 2025 to meet the demand. The next focus is going to be on battery manufacturing, we have got the budget approved for that but the interest among manufacturers is below expectations. It may be due to the slowdown and improve in coming days,” a senior member of NITI Aayog told TNIE.

Last month, the finance ministry approved government think-tank NITI Aayog’s proposal to provide an annual subsidy of Rs 700 crore for the battery manufacturing segment to supply units to electric vehicles and mobile phones, with the Aayog expected to invite bids from manufacturers in December this year.

Manufacturers also claim that even when the batteries are manufactured locally, India currently imports its lithium, nickel, cobalt and battery-grade graphite requirements: all of which are vital, basic elements required for the production of rechargeable batteries. 

Another major challenge is technology. Currently, China has an advantage in the area due to its heavy early investments in R&D, the primary reason it is among the globe’s leading suppliers of lithium-ion batteries. Experts say that if India is to gain a similar capability, it will require huge investment in research in the area. 

Raw material imports also a matter of concern
Manufacturers also claim that even when the batteries are manufactured locally, India currently imports its lithium, nickel, cobalt and battery-grade graphite requirements: all of which are vital, basic elements required for the production of rechargeable batteries. 

Stay up to date on all the latest Business news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp