BUSINESS

Lithium-ion giga units mooted

India must start building capabilities to become a competitive player in lithium-ion, says Rajiv Kumar.Emmanual YoginiEmmanual Yogini

India must start building capabilities to become a competitive player in lithium-ion, says Rajiv Kumar.Emmanual YoginiEmmanual Yogini  

To push the adoption of electric mobility in the country, government think-tank NITI Aayog has proposed the establishment of giga factories in India for the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries in the next couple of years.

The recommendation is part of the Aayog’s much debated proposal that only electric (lithium-ion or other advanced battery chemistry only) three-wheelers would be sold in the country after March 31, 2023, and all new sales of two-wheelers below 150cc would be electric post March 31, 2025.

“We have also proposed in this mission that giga factories be established for making lithium-ion batteries in India. We want at least three-four factories to come up in the next two-three years,” Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog, told The Hindu.

“So, when the policy [moving to electric two and three-wheelers] comes into effect, you will have domestically produced lithium-ion batteries or other advanced technology batteries,” he added.

He added that this was a sunrise industry and India needed to start building capabilities to become a globally competitive player in this area. “The lack of domestic capability will result in massive imports as is the case in electronics,” Mr. Kumar said.

He added that India was also working towards finding lithium-ion and with the advancement of technology, it was likely that it may be replaced with other advanced batteries.

Industry opposition

The two-wheeler industry had strongly opposed the Aayog’s proposal to stop selling ICE (internal combustion engine) 150cc two-wheelers, cautioning that the move would disrupt the industry that was already reeling under stress.

Terming the proposal impractical, the industry had also pointed out that batteries, which were a crucial part of electric vehicles, were expensive and not made in India.

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