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Government to ease visa restrictions for Chinese professionals in EV sector

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In a significant development, the government has decided to ease on the restrictions for visas to Chinese professionals/engineers in the electric vehicle (EV) and battery manufacturing areas.

The development comes after the EV and battery makers requested the government saying the industry 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 of visas to Chinese nationals, projects were getting delayed.

“We have got the request from some of the players (companies), and we have forwarded their requests to Ministry of External Affairs…we have done for some companies already and we will do our best to help the industry,” a top official at the Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI) told businessline.

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

Industry’s concern

Several companies in the battery manufacturing have been complaining saying if the visa restrictions continue then the industry would be impacted and unable to meet the EV demand in future.

In a closed-door meeting with MHI and NITI Aayog last month, the EV industry had also demanded for Chinese equipment to be brought into India for manufacturing advanced carbon composite (ACC) batteries because they are affordable as compared to German or Korean equipment. According to them, German and Korean equipment are four times and twice the cost of Chinese, respectively.

PLI effect

Sources closed to the development also said the government is easing visa restrictions now because it has awarded production linked incentive (PLI) scheme to build a capacity of 30GWh to three beneficiaries – Ola Cell Technologies, ACC Energy Storage and Reliance New Energy Battery Storage – which would also require some Chinese professionals and equipment to start production.

The MHI is also in the process to award another 20GWh, with a target to achieve 50GWh production by 2030 and to monitor the progress of work of the selected beneficiaries, it has appointed Engineers India Limited (EIL) as independent engineers last week.

The prototype testing is almost complete by these beneficiaries and commercial production is likely to start progressively in phases by the fourth quarter (January-March) of this financial year.

The MHI had launched the PLI scheme for ACC Battery Storage in June 2021 for setting up of Giga-scale ACC manufacturing facilities in India with a budgetary outlay of ₹18,100 crore. The scheme aims to strengthen the ecosystem for electric mobility and battery storage in the country and aims to add to Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative.





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