India needs to invest about USD 10 billion to boost cell manufacturing and raw material refining to meet domestic demand for lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles by 2030, according to a report.
India’s lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery demand is currently 3 GWh and is set to grow to 20 GWh by 2026 and 70 GWh by 2030, as per the report by management consulting firm Arthur D Little. At present, India imports almost 70 per cent of its Li-ion cell requirement from China and Hong Kong, it added citing reports by Ministry of Mines. “By 2030, just to serve the local demand of Li-ion batteries, India would need upwards of an estimated USD 10 billion investments in cell manufacturing capacity, with additional investments in raw material refining capacities,” it said.
As a consequence, the report further said this would create one million or more jobs in the battery manufacturing and related ancillary businesses and services. It said India can learn a lot from China which has aggressively expanded in the EV battery space over the last 10 years, conquering each part of the supply chain to emerge as the dominant player in e-mobility. China now leads in next-generation EVs through large investments in R&D, favourable government policies, foreign direct investment inflows, and aggressive acquisition of raw material resources across geographies, the report added.
“Taking lessons from India’s neighbour in the north, improved access to raw materials can be provided in multiple ways, including reduction of import duties on raw materials, improving bilateral ties with countries rich in natural resources of the raw materials, and encouraging Indian companies to acquire those resources,” it said. The report suggested that a collaborative approach between the government and industry is the way forward to build a local supply chain for batteries and make India an export hub.
“Comprehensive policies from the government that encompass the complete battery value chain — from acquisition of natural resources to recycling of batteries — will go a long way in providing a necessary push to the industry,” said the report titled ‘E-mobility: Cell Manufacturing in India’. Steps such as tax subsidies and development of special economic zones/lithium parks across countries to promote investments in raw material refining and cell manufacturing capacities and continued PLI schemes and subsidies for cell manufacturing will be a key.
Also, the report called for regulations for battery usage, secondary applications, and recycling with strong incentives for compliance. While EV cells are the most critical part of the e-mobility value chain, the Indian EV industry suffers from overdependence on imports, limited local manufacturing, finite access to raw materials, and refining capacities. “To accelerate India electric mobility growth, the government and the industry ecosystem must collaborate, to nurture a self-reliant, local EV value chain, with established battery manufacturers, OEMs, and startups, investing in continuous R&D, partnerships, and global alliances to create a strong supply chain,” Arthur D Little, India Managing Partner Barnik Chitran Maitra, said.