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EV makers want government to relax Visa norms for Chinese professionals

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Electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers and battery makers want the government to open up visas for the entry of Chinese nationals to India because they have better knowledge and technical know-how for in the industry.

Sources told businessline that India requires ‘thousands’ of Chinese engineers to help them in manufacturing low cost and powerful batteries, especially for the electric two/three-wheelers, but due to restrictions on granting visas to Chinese nationals, projects are getting delayed.

According to experts, China makes most of the components that go into EV batteries — 77 per cent of the cathodes, 92 per cent anodes, 74 per cent separators and 83 per cent electrolytes. China also makes a bulk of an alternative form of cathodes which are made using LFP or lithium iron phosphate.

Impending impact

Several companies have said that if it continues like this, then the industry would be unable to meet the EV demand in the future. Some EV makers are already on the verge of selling their stakes or shutting down because of government’s investigations against them over subsidies claimed under ‘Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles’ in India (FAME).

“We had requested the government to open up visas for Chinese professionals so that they can help us in manufacturing of batteries and other crucial parts, in a meeting last month. They have the expertise and can help the industry at least in the initial phase,” a Bengaluru-based EV maker told businessline on condition of anonymity.

In closed door meeting with the Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI) and Niti Aayog last month, the EV industry had also demanded for Chinese equipments to be brought into India for manufacturing Advanced Carbon Composite (ACC) batteries because they are affordable as compared to German or Korean equipments.

‘Import experts as well’

“We are still importing some crucial materials or cells for battery manufacturing from China so why not bring in the equipments and professionals… our people can get trained from them and instead of direct imports, the final products will be ‘Made in India’ if the equipments are in place,” said an industry expert.

For instance, automobile industry has been using machineries like forgings or robotics imported from other countries, to manufacture vehicles in India. Same way they can be imported from China to make the final products here, he added.

However, according to Delhi-based EV maker, the demand is not so much for visas for Chinese, but for the equipments. “Visas for Chinese is not such a major demand from us. It’s mostly from electronic manufacturing companies and possibly any auto PLI applicant importing Chinese machinery,” he said.





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