India’s ambition to scale up the electric vehicle (EV) programme and build local manufacturing face the challenge of securing adequate supply and access to raw material for battery cell production. Without a strategy to secure adequate supply of critical battery materials, this can limit growth of local manufacturing of EVs and batteries. Currently, the dependence on import for Lithium-ion batteries and cells is significant as the local cell manufacturing is extremely limited. This makes India’s ambition and India’s electric vehicle industry highly vulnerable to uncertainties and risks in the global supply chain.
Currently, most of the Li-ion cell requirements are met from import especially from China. Narrow base of local manufacturing, limited access to raw material, lack of local mining and refining have made dependence on import inevitable at these early stages of growth. Yet India is at the cusp of change. There is growing interest to reduce import dependence and build self-reliance to enable the economy to retain most of the value chain within India and ensure larger economic benefits and jobs.