Recently Mr. Nitin Gadkari, who was at the India Today Conclave stated that by 2030, 80 per cent of two-wheelers and 30 per cent of private vehicles will be electric. This will be a huge milestone, if we are able to achieve this. Current fossil fuel import bill is at Rs 8 lakh crore, which is likely to increase to Rs 25 lakh crore in the next five years. Hence, electric vehicles (EVs), which will ensure a lower import bill, lesser pollution, and indigenous production, is the solution.
Like Brazil, all cars in India too would have flex engines gradually. Our OEMs and farmers are already working on it. Ethanol will be a pollution-free fuel and will also cost less. Government is also trying to integrate thousands of pumps in the national highways with EV chargers
At the moment, Indian electric vehicle industry is largely dependent on Chinese imports for batteries and other powertrain components. Batteries make around 40-50% of the cost of an electric vehicle and importing them make the EV considerably costlier than conventional IC engines.
In order to reduce the EV cost, India should rely more on local manufacturers of Lithium batteries which are the most dominant batteries in EV industry due to their significant advantages (like higher energy density, less self-discharge, low maintenance cost, etc.). But, there are several major challenges to domestic Li-ion battery production. India does not have enough of lithium reserves for manufacturing litium ion batteries and many expert advise getting lithium fields from countries such as . chile, bolivia. Currently India imports most of its Lithium need from China. Since we are pushing towards an electric vehicle ecosystem, it is anticipated that there will be a steep rise in the demand for such metals.
Battery technology is currently evolving at a rapid pace with new battery chemistries gaining popularity. The associated R&D is technologically intensive. Although the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has transferred Li-ion battery technology to 10 firms that have set up plants in the country, India has not been at the forefront of innovation in battery technology. It is important to think about the technological trends of the coming decade in advance.
In conclusion, the Indian government need to consider the timeline to either research on the lithium raw material reserves that are available in India or to shift to battery technology that uses the local and readily available battery materials. In the meantime, it should also encourage companies to produce the cell-to-pack assemblies by importing battery cells. This way, India can move towards the complete localization of EV batteries in the coming years and truly become ‘Atmanirbhar’ when it comes to EV battery requirements.