How Lithium Reserves in Jammu and Kashmir Can Fulfill India’s EV Dream?

As India gears up to boost electric vehicle (EV) adoption, the country’s massive reserves of lithium have brightened prospects for the country in the field of EV battery cell manufacturing.

According to the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), the country will require an investment of Rs 33,750 crore to meet its domestic lithium-ion battery manufacturing target of setting up 50 GWh of lithium-ion cell and battery manufacturing plants . India’s lithium cell production is estimated to be 70–100 GWh by 2030.

“The 5.9 million tonnes of lithium reserves found in Jammu and Kashmir, if fully extracted and converted into battery-grade lithium, could support up to 6 TWH of cell production, helping India move towards its net zero will give the much-needed push to achieve the goals,” Dr. Akshay Singhal, founder and CEO of Log9 Materials, told IANS. Lithium is a light and reactive metal found mostly in concentrations with other materials as oxides and carbonates.

Converting crude lithium to battery-grade lithium requires a series of refining processes, some of which do not exist in India, leaving us dependent on other countries.

To address this bottleneck, advancements in material science are imperative to ensure the entire supply chain within the country. Despite some initial hiccups, EV penetration in India is slowly but steadily increasing, especially in the e-scooter segment.

Now, four-wheeler makers have also joined the bandwagon, furthering India’s target of reducing dependence on conventional fuels and internal combustion engine-powered vehicles by 2030.

By 2030, the government expects EV sales to reach 30 percent. per cent for private automobiles, 70 per cent for commercial vehicles and 80 per cent for two-wheelers and three-wheelers, which will not only reduce the country’s oil import bill in the long term, but also ensure a cleaner environment.

Electric vehicles (EV) sales in the country have seen a growth in the last two years. While 48,179 EVs were sold in 2020-21, the figure is set to increase to 2,37,811 in 2021-22 and 4,42,901 in 2022-23 (as on December 9, 2022).

According to Soumen Mandal, Senior Research Analyst, IoT, Automotive and Device Ecosystem at Counterpoint Research, currently, the three-wheeler segment leads the market in terms of EV adoption with a 4 per cent share, followed by two-wheelers (3.5 per cent) and passenger vehicles (1.3 percent).

By 2025, the market share of electric passenger vehicles in India is expected to exceed 6 percent. For a market that already has over 13 lakh EVs including 2W, 3W and 4W, and continues to grow, there is tremendous potential in the coming years and the huge Lithium reserves discovered in Jammu and Kashmir will only accelerate the EV journey. He is the giver.

“The impact of the lithium reserves is far greater as it will transform India from just a large EV consumer market to us being an end-to-end supplier globally,” Singhal said.