The recent discovery of substantial lithium reserves in the Reasi district of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) has fueled hopes in India that the country may become the next titan in the field of battery manufacturing for the booming electric vehicle (EV) industry.
Indeed, in terms of lithium cell production, the sector in India is targeting production of around 70 and 100 GWh by the end of the current decade. That is, of course, if the country is able to extract and convert the 5.9 million tons of lithium reserves into battery-grade materials capable of supporting up to 6 TWh of cell production.
Hitting such an achievement would also put the country on the right path toward achieving its overall net-zero goals. However, experts are still casting wary eyes on EV penetration in the country.
Slow to Make the Shift
Admittedly, Indians have been slower to hop aboard the EV bandwagon than other nations. Nevertheless, people have been looking into alternatives to gas-powered conveyances. For the most part, especially in the country’s traffic-plagued urban centers, e-scooters are becoming a popular form of personal transportation.
But this may soon change as manufacturers of four-wheeled EVs have come into play and are set to help reduce the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels as well as internal combustion vehicles by the end of the decade. Indeed, an Indian government study recently projected that, by 2030, EV sales would be divided as 30% for private vehicles, 70% for those used for commercial fleets, and around 80% for two- and three-wheeled modes of transport.
Such a development has a dual benefit for the country: it would reduce its dependence on oil imports and, in the long term, help clean up the environment. The second is particularly important given the recent crises involving excessive smog affecting the health of Indian city dwellers.
The numbers also look quite promising in terms of EV sales over the past couple of years.
Between 2020 and 2021, only 48,179 EVs were sold in India. However, as 2021 drew to a close, the number rose to 237,811. As of press time, it was reported that a total of 442,901 EVs were sold in India last year.
Experts are optimistic that the market share for EVs, particularly those capable of carrying multiple passengers, is expected to grow by 6% by 2025.
No doubt, if India is able to extract and process its own lithium properly, these numbers are bound to grow astronomically in the near future.