Gigafactory, skilling, part of Maharashtra’s plans to be a major EV hub 

by Sumantra B Barooah 21 Jul 2021


Subhash Desai: “We are very actively interacting with industrial houses, local as well as global, to promote the manufacturing of EV batteries.”

Battery cost and its technology evolution influences the rate of electric vehicle (EV) adoption. Likewise, the presence of a fully localised battery manufacturing factory will help a state grow its EV industry. Recognising the criticality of it, the Maharashtra state government which announced its EV Policy last week, has initiated talks with potential investors.

“We are very actively interacting with industrial houses to promote the manufacturing of EV batteries, and soon we will find that many investors take interest in setting up this battery manufacturing units here in the state,” Subhash Desai, Industries Minister, government of Maharashtra, tells Autocar Professional.

The names of the potential investors were not divulged, but Desai says they are “local as well as global”. One of them is set to be Reliance Industries, which has recently announced a Rs 60,000 crore investment plan to build a variety of components for the new energy ecosystem including advanced batteries.

Encouraging local entrepreneurship in the EV space is also a focus for the state government, according to Desai. While the state government conducts discussions with prospective investors of a gigafactory or two in the state, Desai says the focus is also on training and skilling local students and building a talent pool in the state which is fit for the EV ecosystem.

Developing industry-ready personnel
Availability of ‘industry-ready’ personnel has been an issue in varying degrees in the domestic ICE vehicle industry for long. Cognisant of the challenge, the Maharashtra government has taken measures to ensure availability of more industry-ready manpower, which is essential for the state to retain its position as a major auto hub. “The skill development corporation of Maharashtra is very busy since the past four years in converting the conventional courses into industry specific courses,” says Desai. 

Incentives aimed at fuelling demand for EVs, setting up charging infrastructure are key for mass scale EV adoption in the state, and the country, but factors like availability of local supply chain (battery being the most crucial) and local talent pool would also be crucial in the growing competition among states vying to be major EV hubs. That explains the focus on these areas by the Maharashtra government, a major auto hub in the traditional ICE vehicle industry. Will it be able to achieve the same status in the EV industry? The jury is out on that, but the Maharashtra government is putting efforts for “time-bound results” and to be a major EV industry hub in the country. For starters, the first set of time-bound goals is 10 percent of all new vehicles in the state.