Electric Vehicle | In last six months, DMK government inked 10 MoUs, entailing an investment of ₹6,541 crore


Updated - January 21, 2022 04:02 am IST

Published - January 21, 2022 02:04 am IST

Power grid:  The government is working on ways to set up charging stations with the participation of public sector units.

Power grid: The government is working on ways to set up charging stations with the participation of public sector units.

Tamil Nadu, known as the Detroit of Asia for over two decades with the presence of major automobile manufacturing units and allied industries in and around Chennai, has quickly embraced the Electric Vehicle (EV) wave.

In the last six months, the DMK government of M.K. Stalin has inked 10 memoranda of understanding in the EV space, entailing an investment of ₹6,541 crore and jobs for 26,865 people. Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu has said the government is working on a revised EV policy with special features that will help in the manifold increase in production and infrastructure development for EV production and the needs of users.

Talks under way

According to Pooja Kulkarni, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guidance, the nodal agency for attracting investments, over a dozen EV companies have committed themselves to invest in the State. Over 15 companies are in active discussions; around 20 companies, which are engaged in technology development, charging infrastructure, after sales services, are in talks with the government. She says the State is taking conscious steps to address the issues in the demand for charging infrastructure. “You would soon see policy and infrastructure announcements being made.”

“Tamil Nadu has the natural strength of being India’s automobile hub, making EV ecosystem growth more of an organic phenomenon,” she said. “With over 20 OEMs and a vast base of tier-1-tier-3 suppliers engaged in manufacture of tyres, wheels, steering, seats, sheet metal, brakes, suspension, harness and so on, Tamil Nadu is a mature ecosystem for catering to EV growth,” she says.

Ms. Kulkarni said e-mobility solutions in public transport are another area the State is exploring. Soon Tamil Nadu will receive investment in the manufacture of passenger transport vehicles.

For the EV industry, the government has been looking beyond Chennai. A lot of investments has come in and around the Hosur region and companies like Ather Energy, TVS Motors, Ola Electric and Simple Energy are among the firms to have established their presence. In Coimbatore, start-ups such as Boom Motors and Sri Varu Motors, apart from Greaves Electric Mobility, are rolling out electric two-wheelers from their manufacturing units. Greaves is expanding in Ranipet. Chennai is also being promoted as it provides the advantage of ‘ease of importing’ EV components and exporting EVs through seaports and airports. The industrial auto clusters in Chennai help to reduce the logistics costs and supply chain risks such as inventory cost, component unavailability and transport losses.

Mobility park

A first-of-its kind ₹300-crore EV future mobility park is coming up at Soolagiri in Krishnagiri. Efforts are made to develop an industrial park at Manallur. Once operational, these parks will facilitate the creation of a vendor ecosystem that will serve EV OEMs. Common facilities will be provided to the vendor industries for prototyping, testing and training in these EV parks.

Charging infrastructure has been among the biggest constraints for the EV industry. But officials say the government is working on ways to set up charging stations with the active participation of public sector units like Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation and private players.

Ms. Kulkarni says the government will develop schemes with appropriate capital subsidies to enable private operators to set up public charging stations. Provision for charging stations will be made at hotels, shopping malls, cinemas and apartments. Service-providers could also set up renewable energy generating stations on their own premises. “Under the network value chain, the State is planning to create a recycling environment by promoting reuse of EV batteries and focussing on urban mining of rare materials within the battery for reuse by battery manufacturers.” The State is looking at encouraging startups introducing innovative battery swapping solutions.

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