Way Forward for ‘Just Transition’ to E-mobility: Convergence of Policies and Players

September 09, 2021

“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,” said Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director, CUTS International. He was moderating 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.

Ms Shilpi Samantray, Senior Manager and Lead Electric & Energy Mobility, Ola Mobility Institute, was invited to highlight 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 economy. She said, “There are four technologically driven trends which are leading the disruption in the auto-sector, which are, 1) Shared Mobility, 2) Connected Mobility, 3) Electric Mobility and 4) Autonomous Mobility. Out of these, electrification is 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.”

Mr Zafar Equbal, Co-founder and CEO, Goenka Electric Vehicles Pvt. Ltd., was invited to throw some light on the ground realities of a ‘just transition’, from policy to practice. He highlighted that, “Low volumes of components is the main issue in the way of localisation of EVs. In past one-two years the procurement of raw material from China has become costlier. With this, 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.”

The discussion was carried forward by inviting Mr K V Narsimham, Director and COO, Quanteon Powertrain, to speak on the perspectives of new entrants in the localised EV Ecosystem in terms of innovation. He said that, “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 transition to EVs, people have realised that there are some segments of vehicle which are Indian specific and hence there are solutions which are not present elsewhere which gives us a scope to improvise by opening gate for innovations and technological advancement.”

Then Mr Arindam Lahiri, CEO, Automotive Skills Development Council, was asked to throw some lights on the manifestations of a ‘just transition’ for local livelihoods and economy. He said, “Currently there is a skill gap in EV manufacturing which will need to be addressed through concerted efforts of the Government, industry and individuals to achieve comprehensive localisation of the manufacturing value chain, i.e., locally procured raw materials, localised and customised design, local manufacturing and assembly as well as localised servicing of vehicles. Further, the transition to Electric Vehicles can be a path-breaker for ensuring gender diversity in an otherwise male dominated auto manufacturing industry.”

Finally, Ms Anumita Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director, Research and Advocacy Centre for Science and Environment, was invited to share 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.”

Mr Bipul Chatterjee in his closing remarks, lauded, and emphasised the need of convergence of various EV related policies in the E-mobility ecosystem and to continue a solution driven discourse on existing problems in India’s path of ‘just’ transition.

For further details, contact:

Trinayani Sen (tns@cuts.org) or Ruchi Singhal (rcs@cuts.org)