For Comprehensive Localisation, Skill Gap in EV Manufacturing Needs to be Addressed via Concerted Efforts of Govt, Industry

Energetica India, September 10, 2021

Currently, there is a skill gap in electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing which needs to be addressed through concerted efforts of the Government, industry and individuals to achieve comprehensive localisation of the manufacturing value chain, said Arindam Lahiri, CEO of the Automotive Skills Development Council.

“It means locally procured raw materials, localised and customised design, local manufacturing and assembly as well as localised servicing of vehicles,” he added.

He was speaking during an online panel discussion on the theme of ‘Localisation as a Vehicle for Achieving Just Energy Transition’, co-organised by CUTS International and FES India at the Just Transition Forum in Asia 2021.

Lahiri further said, “the transition to EVs can be a path-breaker for ensuring gender diversity in an otherwise male-dominated auto manufacturing industry.”

While moderating the discussion, Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director at CUTS International, opined that “there are a number of new players entering in transition to electric mobility. Many of the existing players are also showing interest in this. For the transition to be ‘just’ we have to understand the necessities of an integrated ecosystem development and then figure out the ways to achieve it.”

Shilpi Samantray, Senior Manager and Lead Electric & Energy Mobility at Ola Mobility Institute, highlighted the discourse on linking the technological disruptions and trends of the auto sector with their impact on the sector-specific stakeholders at different levels of the economy.

She said, “there are four technologically driven trends which are leading the disruption in the auto-sector, i.e. Shared Mobility, Connected Mobility, Electric Mobility and Autonomous Mobility. Out of these, electrification is the most significant factor for auto-sector OEMs and component manufacturers. With an integrated policy development this disruption can be nurtured and scaled across the supply chain and businesses.”

On the ground realities of a ‘just transition’, from policy to practice, Zafar Equbal, Co-founder and CEO of Goenka Electric Vehicles, commented “low volumes of components is the main issue in the way of localisation of EVs. In the past one-two year, the procurement of raw materials from China has become costlier. With this, the government’s push towards indigenisation by FAME II and other policies has helped many manufacturers to come forward and join hands to manufacture all components in India.”

From the perspectives of new entrants in the localised EV ecosystem in terms of innovation, K V Narsimham, Director and COO, Quanteon Powertrain, said “the past trend was to set manufacturing unit in India for series production of vehicles designed in other countries. As a result of this many automobiles do not fit in with Indian traffic conditions.

Fortunately, with the transition to EVs, people have realised that there are some segments of vehicles that are Indian specific and hence there are solutions that are not present elsewhere which gives us a scope to improvise by opening the gate for innovations and technological advancement.”

Finally, Anumita Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director, Research and Advocacy Centre for Science and Environment, shared her views on linking macro narratives with micro trends of E-mobility transition. She said, “At a macro level the transition to E-mobility will lead to a ‘net gain’ in jobs. However, at the micro-level, there will be a structural shift in the types of jobs as the entire manufacturing supply chain will undergo a transition.”

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