Auto industry veteran V. Sumantran said the country needed a more cohesive policy than ‘Make in India’ in its push towards electrification of vehicles and to compete with China.
“In the push towards electric vehicles, most automakers are outsourcing critical systems like motors and battery packs. They will only manage their brand, interior and user experience. India will do well to keep that part of supply chain within the country,” he said.
Dr. Sumantran was speaking on the topic ‘Auto Industry- Present and Future Tense’, organised by The Triplicane Cultural Academy and The Kasturi Srinivasan Library, to mark the 66th anniversary of the academy.
“In terms of supply chain for electrification, China is a major threat. Once their market flattens, they will look at other attractive markets, and India is one of them,” said Dr. Sumantran, chairman of Celeris Technologies, and former vice-chairman of Ashok Leyland.
“In this regard, we need a more cohesive policy, which comprises an investment policy and trade pacts that let the value addition happen in India. If the domestic industry is encouraged and protected, the Chinese challenge can be overcome,” he said.
Dr. Sumantran said even if 30-40% of two-wheelers and buses in India have to migrate to electrification by 2025-26, it would require a battery capacity of 30-40 gigawatt-hour, with an investment of about ₹30,000-40,000 crore.
He said one of the encouraging signs was that two-wheeler makers Bajaj and TVS Motor recently launched electric two-wheelers, which were designed in India with indigenous components.
“If this trend is taken forward by Indian automakers, we will be in a good position. Startups like Ather are also doing well,” Dr. Sumantran said.
He also said that cars would take a longer time in India to shift to electrification.