On February 1, 2020, when Finance Minister (FM) Nirmala Sitharaman announced the Budget for the financial year (FY) 2020-21, with a budget allocation ₹220 billion (~$3.08 billion) for the power and renewable sector.
The budget had announcements that can improve the industry sentiment in the coming months. Mercom reached out to several stakeholders to understand what the industry thinks of the new budget.
Welcoming the government’s decision to reinforce the PM-KUSUM program, Pranav R Mehta, chairman of the National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI), said, “We are very happy that the government has decided to reinforce the program with two million off-grid and 1.5 million on-grid solar pumps. While we always welcome the use of locally made modules in the country, the provision of using only domestically made cells in this program might be a deal-breaker due to the lack of adequate infrastructure”.
The government also proposed that a large solar capacity would be developed along the railway tracks on lands owned by the Indian Railways. It also aims to electrify 27,000 km of railway tracks.
“Government’s emphasis on using barren or fallow land for solar projects is also appreciated as at NSEFI. Along with Indo-German Energy Forum (IGEF), we are emphasizing proposing standards for agri-photovoltaic projects, which will aim at addressing both the targets of the government of India, doubling the farmer’s income as well as 100 GW of solar target by 2022,” said Mehta.
According to Kushagra Nandan, co-founder of SunSource Energy, decarbonization of one of the largest public-sector utilities, the Indian Railways, is a big boost to the renewable energy sector, especially rooftop segment and India’s commitment towards climate change.
“The $3.08 billion stimulus to boost India’s renewable sector is unprecedented and will surely yield strong business opportunity for key solar sector independent power producers (IPPs) like SunSource. “Reduced tax liabilities on the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector combined with an ongoing commitment to solar, will free up capital for solar sector Capex and Opex based projects,” he added.
Ranganath N. K, area managing director, INDO Region, Grundfos said, “We welcome this year’s budget, which sharply focusses on issues that propel the growth of aspirational India. Addressing the challenges of severe water stress in the nation as one of its topmost agenda, this budget gets to the bottom of things by proposing comprehensive measures for 100 water-stressed areas. Given that the budget also aims to empower farmers by increasing their dependence on off-grid solutions with solarized grid-connected pumps through the PM-Kusum program, I think that this will act as a catalyst to sustainable irrigation solutions across the country.”
The focus on bringing down the commercial losses in the distribution companies by mandating prepaid meters, coupled with the consumers having the ‘choice of suppliers’, may resolve the long-term viability issues of the power sector. The usage of solar in the railways and farming and usage of farmlands for solar projects could open up new entrepreneurial opportunities and help in faster adoption of solar energy across the country.
“We urge the government to consider the use of microgrids that can help improve the utilization of solar panels deployed with these pumps as well as ensuring groundwater management. Without such integrated policies, push for just deployment of solar pumps could lead to exploitation of limited groundwater resources and result in unintended consequences during summer months,” said Dr. Rahul Walawalkar, president, India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA).
Many in the industry felt that the Budget 2020-21 had a clear intent on fulfilling India’s Conference of Parties (COP) 21 commitments in a sustainable manner.
Although the budget emphasized the expansion of solar, however, the finance minister did leave a grey area regarding custom duties on imports.
Ashish Khanna, the managing director of Tata Power Solar and president, Tata Power (Renewables), opined that the Budget 2020, is set in the right direction. He said that the promotion of smart metering is a good step, “but one step can’t be the solution to all problems.”
Further, he said that the industry awaits for the details of the budget.
However, an official of the Ministry of Finance confirmed to Mercom that the basic customs duty on the import of solar cells and modules into the country will remain nil, for now.
The government also intends to promote smart metering, and the finance minister urged all the states and union territories to replace conventional energy meters by prepaid smart meters in the next three years.
Lastly, the budget also underlined the need to promote electric vehicles. Sitharaman also stated that customs duty rates are being revised on electric vehicles to facilitate electric mobility.
“We welcome steps to boost electronics manufacturing. Power electronics and electronic manufacturing is an essential part of advanced storage and EV ecosystem. We hope that this new program can boost component manufacturing in India and reduce the reliance on imports for Indian companies,” Dr. Walawalkar.
“The 2020 budget has some aspects to it that could help the renewable energy industry, but there is also added uncertainty by proposing new solar duties without clarity. It is unclear how specific programs will be implemented. Overall, the budget does not lay a clear path to reach the goal of installing 100 GW of solar by 2020,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.
The electric vehicles (EV) market in India has gained momentum. The total EV sales in 2019 hit around 4.98 lakh units and expected to grow at a CAGR of 36 percent by 2026. The EV battery market is estimated to be $676 million in 2018 and forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 30 percent by 2026. The total MWh addition in 2018 touched 4.75 GWh with an expectation to grow to 28 GWh by 2026. To ensure the battery segment grows to its full potential, India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) has called for Budget boost and tax deduction on lithium-ion batteries. This will not only help EV segment but also renewable energy projects.
IESA is an alliance focused on the advancement of energy storage and e-mobility technologies in the country. The body believes policies such as banning the sales of the internal combustion engine (ICE) two and three-wheelers in highly polluted cities, scrapping of old vehicles, stringent emission norms, will further drive the EV sales.
On what is expected by the energy storage industry from the Budget, Dr. Rahul Walawalkar, president, India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), told Telangana Today, “In 2020, the GST council reduced the GST rates on electric vehicles from 12 percent to 5 percent. Battery with solar is at 5 percent. GST for stationary storage batteries (for Li-ion only) is now at 18 percent. Thus, a level-playing field for GST on batteries for all energy storage technologies and applications is the need of the hour. We request the Finance Ministry to consider allowing stationary energy storage systems used in the hybrid projects to avail the 5 percent GST allowed for renewable energy devices and related systems.”
To boost ‘Make in India’ and energy storage, the allocation of appropriate funds for the proposed subsidy for NITI Aayog’s Giga Factory manufacturing plan is vital. Also, national labs and research institutes have shown interest in developing Li-ion and other advanced technologies such as flow batteries, sodium-based batteries, zinc-air and metal-air batteries, etc. To encourage scientific research and innovation in energy storage technologies, the Central government should allocate appropriate funds for research through various government programs, he suggested.
An income tax deduction up to Rs 2.5 lakh on the interest of the loan to purchase EV was provided to the buyers in 2019, thus boosting the sector. “Government might take initiatives to provide similar tax benefits for the consumers for rooftop solar plus storage. Rooftop solar plus energy storage can fast-track the meter adoption of advanced energy storage technologies,” Walawalkar noted.
The domestic electric vehicle (EV) market is projected to grow 36 percent annually between 2019 and 2026 as the market has gained traction following the implementation of the second phase of the EV incentives scheme in April.
Under the government's ambitious Fame (Faster adoption and manufacture of electric vehicles) II scheme to popularize electric and hybrid vehicles, up to 1 million EV two-wheelers powered by new advanced technology battery of 2KWH are pegged to get a subsidy of up to Rs 20,000 each.
"Total EV sales in 2018 hit 365,920 units and expected to grow 36 percent annually till 2026. The battery market is estimated to be USD 520 million in 2018 and projected to grow at 30 percent annually during this period," India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) said in a report.
The base year of the study is 2018 while the forecast period is 2019-2026, it said.
The IESA is an alliance of 96 stakeholders comprising energy storage manufacturers, research institutes/universities, renewable energy companies, and power electronics companies.
Noting that total charger sales in 2018 were under 1,000 units, the report forecasts this to touch 50,000 units by 2026 as public charging points are set to rise with an estimated investment of USD 520 billion.
It is predicted that the EV market will grow rapidly with support from the government as it pushes larger penetration.
Adoption of electric vehicles in India is being widely discussed in India and the shift is necessary at a time when India has been witnessing rising levels of air pollution and falling inventory of natural resources. While both the government and industry players are pushing for electric mobility, electric vehicle sales have not been encouraging.
While speaking at World EV Show (WEVS), organized by Trescon, industry experts said that the localization mandate in FAME II is one of the reasons behind the slower growth of electric vehicles in India. However, Debi Prasad Dash, Director of India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) said that localization is important to make good quality products in the long run. “For making good quality products, this (FAME II) is the correct way even if it is not correct for some companies,” Dash added.
Dash also explained that while many battery assemblers are entering the Indian market, the majority of them may have to shut down because aspects such as thermal management, BMS, etc are not being addressed. Thus local manufacturing is important for making good quality products in the long run.
While speaking at the same event, Harkiran Sanjeevi, deputy-director general at NITI Aayog said that the government wants companies to manufacture locally in India for both the domestic and foreign markets. According to Sanjeevi, India has the resources to make localization possible. "The only thing lacking is the lithium-ion for batteries. The government is entering into partnerships with other countries for sourcing the raw materials."
Explaining about lowering sales of electric vehicles, Hero Electric CEO Sohinder Gill said that flip flop policies might be the reason behind the low sales. Regulation needs and ARAI certification have also caused a lower availability of vehicles in the market.
Slow Adoption Is Good For Market
According to Sanjay Khatri, the country head, corporate and government affairs, Bosch Group, the slow adoption is good because the original equipment manufacturers need to understand the market dynamics, customer behavior, and technological changes, etc.
Khatri also explained that there is no point in having bad quality and lousy vehicles on the road and achieve electric mobility. The development is happening slowly because players need to manufacture good quality products for the consumers so that they become the ones who benefit at the end.
Capacity Creation Takes Time
According to the panelists, capacity creation takes time. “If you look at the Indian automotive industry, 1984 onwards, every India still does not own cars even after 35 years. The evolution has been gradual and robust. If we start putting numbers such as 25 percent by 2020 then we are not letting the evolution happen gradually,” said Vijay Jaiswal, Director of Automotive & Electric Mobility, Government of Telangana.
Highlighting the need for good quality products, Jaiswal explained that if anything gets sold to the users in the name of an electric vehicle, then the revolution is going to die sooner or later.
Policymakers Should Look At Battery Swapping
Indian electric vehicle revolution is said to be led by two and three-wheelers. According to many experts, the battery swapping technique can be used by electric two and three-wheelers as an alternative to charging infrastructure. According to Khatri, battery swapping should be brought under the purview of government policies including the second phase of FAME.
Two years. That’s how long Nitin Gadkari, India’s transport minister, believes India will take to switch from using fuel-powered buses to electric ones for public transport. Gadkari made this prediction in September.
That’s a bold prediction considering it has barely been a year since India started this transition. According to research think tank Intelligent Transport, there are 170,000 public transport buses in India, ferrying roughly 70 million people daily. The electric bus count, however, is just around 200, with another 170 set to hit roads soon.
This gap is an opportunity for bus makers. India’s electric bus market—which stood at $47.4 million in 2018—is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37.6% through 2024, according to management consulting company TechSci Research.
The opportunity is also evident in the government’s allocation of funds towards electric buses in March 2019 under its FAME II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric vehicle) program. While aimed at driving the adoption of electric 2-, 3- and 4-wheelers, the focus of FAME II’s Rs 8,595 crore ($1.21 billion) budget is clearly on buses. Of the total corpus, Rs 3,545 crore ($500 million)—about 41%—is earmarked to subsidize the purchase of 5,595 buses for various state transport undertakings (STUs).
That’s 7X the budget allocation and 5,175 buses more than the government-sanctioned under FAME I early last year. This massive overhaul was a chance for Indian bus makers like Ashok Leyland, Mahindra and Mahindra, Eicher Commercial Vehicles Ltd, and Tata Motors to cement their leadership. But just like other EV vehicles in the industry, the old guard is being shown up by agile newcomers.
One, actually—Olectra Greentech.
More precisely, Olectra-BYD, an Indo-Chinese joint venture (JV) formed in November 2016. The JV won contracts for 290 buses under FAME I, leaving Tata in second place with 215*. Leyland was a distant third with 40 buses. No other manufacturers won tenders. Incidentally, Olectra-BYD has also delivered the most number of buses since, according to various people The Ken spoke to. As a result, Olectra-BYD controls nearly half the EV bus market, they estimated.
China-based BYD is backed by Warren Buffett and fuelled by state subsidies and bank credit. Not only does BYD account for more than 170,000 of the roughly 380,000 electric buses globally, but it’s also the world leader in EVs overall. This shouldn’t come as a surprise—the ecosystem for making electric batteries barely exists outside China and BYD’s battery manufacturing facility in the Chinese province of Qinghai is the largest in the country (and therefore the world). A battery pack is the most critical part of an EV, accounting for about 40% of the total cost.
Unlike with other sectors, India has not set any limits on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the EV space. Still, a tie-up with a domestic company has its advantages and BYD picked Hyderabad-based Olectra Greentech, a company that did not have any prior expertise in automaking.
Even though the Indian company has voting control in the JV, the Chinese company controls the flow of technology. BYD fits the battery and wiring into a bus chassis in its own factory in Chennai. This is then transported up the coast to Olectra’s factory in Hyderabad, where the rest of the bus is assembled.
The three-year-old JV has blossomed because of the well-oiled ecosystem BYD has back in China and its control over the supply chain. This is in stark contrast to India’s traditional bus makers. Volvo—still used as a noun for air-conditioned buses in India—is at the R&D stage when it comes to EVs. Leyland, which relied on battery-swapping technology, was caught off-guard as lithium-ion battery prices dropped rapidly, making their technology redundant.
The biggest problem for the electric vehicle industry, however, much like the solar industry, is its reliance on China—for batteries of the right specifications, in the right quantities, for the right price and on-time. Tata was almost blacklisted by the government for the late delivery of buses earlier this year.
“It is an entirely new ball game for new and old players,” says Aman Madhok, an analyst from tech-oriented research firm Counterpoint.
Indian companies are pulling out all the stops to prevent the rising Chinese giant. Tata, which has significant clout in industry lobby Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), has been blocking Olectra-BYD’s entry, preventing its access to key policy decision-making, a person with knowledge of the matter said on the condition of anonymity. Tata, however, denies the allegation. But Olectra, which is a unit of a massive Indian conglomerate well-versed with winning tenders, is making its own fate. Ken has seen Olectra’s top executives walking into India’s offices of power. This extends to the business card of Olectra CEO Naga Sathyam sitting on the desk of a key official at Niti Aayog, the Indian government’s policy think tank.
Olectra, Tata and Leyland did not answer detailed questionnaires from The Ken, saying they were either in a “silent period” ahead of results or busy with tenders under FAME II. Their focus on the tenders is understandable, especially for Tata and Leyland, since all tenders have to be made under a bus-leasing model. Under this model, the OEMs run and maintain the buses and its charging infrastructure in return for a payment from the government at per kilometer basis—the very model that helped Olectra-BYD dominate FAME I.
Local marries global
The Indian auto industry’s current situation is similar to that of the early ‘90s. Indian automakers tied up with foreign companies and prospered. The tie-ups eventually led to technology transfers, like Hero Motors’ association with Japan’s Honda in the two-wheeler segment, or carmaker Maruti’s partnership with Suzuki that helped it become a market leader.
But the difference this time around is that the foreign players are predominantly Chinese companies and the tie-ups are with smaller Indian companies, some of which don’t even have experience in the auto sector or electric mobility. These tie-ups, though, are still advantageous for both parties, even though there is no FDI limit in the EV sector.
A tie-up with a local player could help reduce the foreign company’s initial investment by up to 50%, said a senior researcher who did not wish to be named as he is not authorized to talk to the media. It also helps in navigating governmental bureaucracy, the researcher added. This is especially true in the bus sector as central and state governments are the biggest purchasers and they don’t look fondly on Chinese companies.
“There are some sentiments in India which are not favorable towards China,” said the researcher.
So, it’s little wonder that domestic-foreign tie-ups have been on the rise. Take, for instance, Gurugram-based JBM Auto Ltd. The company has partnered with Poland’s Solaris PV to make electric buses in India. Its rival, Haryana-based Foton PMI, is also a JV between India’s PMI and China’s Beiqi Foton.
The Olectra-BYD combine, of course, is the most successful example.
Olectra Greentech’s parent company, Megha Engineering, and Infrastructure Ltd (MEIL), has cut its teeth in the power industry—a space bursting with bureaucratic red tape. The three-decade-old MEIL is no stranger to bidding for contracts, having won tenders for government projects like the Polavaram hydro-electric dam in Andhra Pradesh, among others.
But Goldstone Infratech Ltd, as Olectra Greentech was called before the BYD JV, had no experience in the auto industry. It used to make electric insulators, a key component in power distribution. So even though Olectra controls the voting rights, it’s BYD that brings the technological prowess. And considerable tech prowess, at that.
BYD has been in the electric mobility business since 2003, and in India since 2007. Its Chennai factory produces mobile components, solar panels, and forklifts, besides battery products and chargers. Today, though, the Chennai factory has shifted its production focus to buses, says an employee at the factory, who declined to be named as he is not authorized to speak to the media. Close to 40% of employees at the factory are Chinese, the employee added.
So why tie-up with a company that had no experience in the auto industry? “You can’t dictate terms if you partner with a bigger company,” said an industry consultant who did wish to be named.
BYD makes the chassis and battery packs, which constitute close to 60-70% of an EV bus’ value, the consultant estimated. This then goes to Olectra’s factory in Hyderabad, where the body and other fittings are done for the two models under production—the K7 and K9. This factory can manufacture 2,100 buses per year but, if necessary, could be scaled up to make 6,000 buses annually, according to a report by the Times of India.
With BYD’s expertise and supply chain in tow, Olectra was the surprise winner of the FAME I program. Its bus business raked in Rs 144.8 crore ($20.5 million) in revenue in the year ended March 2019, nearly as much as its insulator business’ Rs 145.5 crore ($20.6 million).
But, it’s not just a question of technological expertise. Winning a contract depends on one factor—making the most attractive bid.
Right place, right time
BYD’s entry into India’s bus market also heralded a new approach to tenders. Under FAME I, many bus makers placed bids that required state transport units, or STUs, to buy the bus outright and handle operational and logistical requirements themselves.
The JV placed their bids under the gross cost contract (GCC) model, commonly known as opex or leasing model. Here, the STUs lease the bus from the manufacturer and are responsible for providing only manpower and electric supply. The manufacturer runs and maintains the buses and the charging infrastructure as well as trains drivers. The STUs pay the bus makers on a per-kilometer basis. While some other manufacturers like Tata and Leyland also bid for tenders using the GCC model, BYD’s previous experience with the GCC model set Olectra-BYD’s bids apart.
For an outright purchase, the Department of Heavy Industries (DHI) provides a 60% subsidy and the STU bears the rest. Under GCC however, the STU gets up to 60% of the capital cost in equal instalments over the years—which means funds are disbursed in smaller amounts.
Under FAME II, DHI will pay up to 40% of the estimated cost of the bus, up to a maximum of Rs 55 lakh ($77,974), for standard buses, Rs 45 lakh ($63,797) for mid-size buses and Rs 35 lakh ($49,620) for minibusses. This subsidy is crucial when it comes to electric buses, which cost more than Rs 1 crore ($141,772)—double the price of a basic diesel bus. Even an air-conditioned Volvo bus—a decidedly premium offering—costs around Rs 85 lakh ($120,506).
The GCC model is a god-send for loss-making STUs across the country and BYD has pioneered it to operate buses across the globe. No surprise, then that, Olectra-BYD was able to outbid other manufacturers for the three biggest contracts under FAME I.
Like any other EV, the operating cost of an electric bus is cheaper than its diesel counterpart. The cost of running an EV bus is estimated to be around Rs 61 ($0.86) per kilometer, while the cost of running its diesel equivalent is about Rs 68 ($0.96), according to HM Shivanand Swamy, a professor at CEPT University, Ahmedabad.
Now, with Fame II—GCC isn’t an option but a mandate. This gives Olectra-BYD the upper hand, not only for its experience in running a bus service, but also the others’ lack thereof. Tata might even be looking at hiring a third-party to operate the buses for them, the consultant quoted above said, further adding to costs.
Still, it’s not a clear road ahead for Olectra-BYD. Rival companies have won tenders recently. In October, Tata won a contract to supply 300 buses to Ahmedabad under the GCC model, the biggest such contract so far in India.
Moreover, not all STUs are happy with the leasing model. The Karnataka government canceled Olectra-BYD’s 150-bus contract under FAME I as it concluded that the total cash outflow at the end would be higher than in an outright purchase model. Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) director Anupam Agarwal likened the situation to when it had awarded contracts to Volvo years back with the leasing model. It ended in failure, financially speaking, Agarwal told The Ken, declining to provide details.
The battery is the new engine
The key advantage Olectra-BYD has over its rivals and will have for at least a couple of years is a steady supply chain for battery technology. Indian manufacturers lack the knowledge and experience in sourcing and dealing with battery technology, was the refrain of various sources The Ken spoke with.
Tata was almost blacklisted by the government for the late delivery of buses under FAME I, which the company blamed largely on sourcing batteries.
As such, Indian companies partnered with Chinese battery makers two years ago when the technology was very nascent, said Debi Prasad Dash. He is the executive director of India Energy Storage Alliance, an industry body. This has made it difficult to switch to firms that can offer lower prices, Dash added.
“Indian companies are talking to multiple companies from China where they can buy the battery,” said Dash. “Each company is giving them different specifications, different warranties, and different sizes. So they have not yet decided which specifications they require. It is not about battery availability, it is about the blindness about the technology of all the companies that are entering this space.”
Take Ashok Leyland, which partnered with Delhi-based swappable battery manufacturer Sun Mobility. When the price of lithium-ion batteries fell faster than expected, Leyland’s swap-tech became less viable. The company is now developing a bus that works on plug-in technology, a company official said on condition of anonymity.
While Indian manufacturers are coming around to developing the technology, fixing their sourcing and adapting to the GCC model, it turns out that STUs have their own set of worries.
Route identification is one. Congested routes are not economically viable and that could reduce the number of trips per bus, says BMTC’s Agarwal.
Charging infrastructure is another bone of contention, says Agarwal, even though, technically, charging stations can be set up in a planned manner given buses have predetermined routes. But FAME II does not specify the number of charging points or their specifications (fast charging or slow charging). Besides, with one charger costing about Rs 10 lakh ($14,177), bus makers would likely install charging points only in depots. So, what happens if a bus runs out of charge in the middle of a busy road? asks Agarwal.
“Who will be answerable to the people? Not the operators, but for us.”
The government on Saturday said that it has awarded grants to the four projects selected in the second round of PACEsetter fund program.
The PACEsetter fund was constituted by India and the USA in 2015 as a joint fund to provide early-stage grant funding to accelerate the commercialization of innovative off-grid clean energy products, systems, and business models, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said in a statement
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy awarded Grants to the awardees of the second round of PACEsetter fund program in a ceremony organized yesterday. MNRE Secretary Anand Kumar and the US Ambassador to India Kenneth Ian Juster co-chaired the felicitation ceremony.
In the second round of awards, a total of 168 Expressions of Interest were received. Out of these, four projects were selected for award of grants. The awardees include Society for Economic and Social Studies, New Delhi, Customized Energy Solutions India Pvt Ltd, Pune, The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi and RaghavendraSuntech Systems Pvt Ltd (RSSPL), Bengaluru.
Stressing on the importance of access to energy for all, the US Ambassador said that innovation in off-grid and clean energy will improve energy access. Kumar appreciated the impact that the awarded projects would have on the common man. He also suggested that innovation realized through such projects could be replicated in other developing countries.
The India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) announced that India and Bolivia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development and industrial use of lithium for the production of lithium-ion batteries. As part of the MoU, Bolivia will support supplies of lithium and lithium carbonate to India, as well as joint ventures between the two countries for lithium battery production plants in India.
A statement, issued during the recent Bolivia visit of India’s President Ram Nath Kovind, said: “Both the countries agreed to forge mutually beneficial partnership to facilitate Bolivian supplies of lithium carbonate to India and foster joint ventures for lithium battery/cell production plants in India.” The two countries have also agreed to facilitate mechanisms for the commercialization of lithium carbonate and potassium chloride produced in Bolivia by Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos Corporación (YLB – Corporación), the statement added.
With the MoU, the possibility of Indian companies setting up production capabilities in Bolivia goes up, as well as the import of lithium to India. Domestic production is also set to see a boost, from the automotive perspective. The arrival of hybrids and electric vehicles from as early as 2020 onwards, will force manufacturers to look at local production. Apart from Electric Vehicles, Renewable Integration, Grid Stability and behind the meter applications will boost Li-Ion battery adoption in India. India is expected to attract over $3billion in investments in the next 3-5 years for li-ion batteries and also witnessing additional investment for its ecosystem.
The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind who was in Bolivia in March this year met with his counterpart Mr. Evo Morales Ayma and during the one-to-one discussions with him, the President said that he was honored to pay the first-ever State Visit from India to Bolivia. He thanked President Morales for special welcome and affection.
Subsequently, the President led delegation-level talks between the two sides. Speaking on the occasion, he said that it is encouraging to see that India-Bolivia bilateral trade has picked up in the last two years and it stood at US$ 875 million in 2018. About 60% of Bolivian gold is exported to India. Bolivia is the 8th leading trading partner of India in the Latin America region. He emphasized that there is a need to diversify our trade basket to further strengthen the bilateral trade.
In the final engagement of the day (March 29, 2019), the President addressed the India-Bolivia Business Forum. The President said that India has a focused business approach to the Latin American region. We hold the India-Latin America and Caribbean Conclaves annually to deepen our business collaborations. These Conclaves have served us well. Several Indian global majors have made entry into Bolivia through them, bringing cutting-edge technology, products, and services to the people. He noted that there are immense opportunities for collaboration between India and Bolivia in various fields such as automobiles, healthcare, IT, renewable energy, Lithium, agriculture, space, developing modern infrastructure- from railways, highways, waterways, airways to energy pathways.
In his address, the President said, “We are committed to transformational economic growth in India. But we want to be respectful of Mother Earth, of nature, in the same manner, and with same devotion as you have done. We want our progress to be propelled by clean technology and sustainable practices. We want growth and environment protection to go hand in hand. We have established the International Solar Alliance to develop clean pathways and to tackle climate change. We welcome Bolivia in the Alliance and look forward to creating a greener planet with its support and ideas. As part of this commitment, we have a target to produce 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022, including 100 gigawatts of solar energy. We are developing our capacity and at the same time making available our services to fellow countries to tap renewable energy. We see opportunities for tie-ups with Bolivia in solar, wind and biofuel segments. Talking of environment and sustainability, we have an ambitious program to develop electric vehicles in India. And for this, we want to enter into long-term Lithium partnership with Bolivia. Indian enterprises are keen to mark their presence here as investment and technology partners – to develop lithium products and to master storage technology. We look forward to such promising ventures taking wings. India has gained vast expertise in developing modern infrastructure – from railways, highways, waterways, airways to energy pathways. This can also be a potential area for collaboration between our two countries.”
The Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Arjun Ram Meghwal said that the Electric Mobility Mission will be implemented in phases based on feedback from the auto industry. He also promised all support to the industry on policy matters to ensure the smooth and efficient transformation of the automotive industry from internal combustion(IC) to electric powertrain. He informed that 3 lakh electric vehicles have already been sold under the FAME India Scheme.
Meghwal inaugurated the 3rd International Electric Vehicle (EV) Conclave at the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) in Manesar, Gurugram, today. The Conclave was held to create a knowledge-sharing platform to ensure flow of information at all levels in the automotive sector.
The EV Conclave organized by ICAT in association with India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) has grown and transformed itself into a global event since its inception in 2017. Owing to the growth of electric mobility and in order to meet the demands of the automotive sector, the EV Conclave is organized with a focus on new trends and challenges in the field of electric mobility.