Geopolitics prompts electric bus maker to start work on own tech to phase out reliance on China


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PMI Electro Mobility Solutions is also starting a battery assembling plant in Haryana to localise components.

India’s nascent EV industry needs to import components and tech from China as it works out cheaper, but some companies hope to become self reliant in the next five to six years. (Photo |

New Delhi: Electric bus maker PMI Electro Mobility Solutions Pvt Ltd (PEMSPL), which has a technology partnership with China’s Beiqi Foton Motors, is working to develop its own technology and integrate that into its products within five-six years, according to a senior company official.

The firm’s promoters are also investing around Rs 15 crore on a battery assembling plant at Dharuhera in Haryana in order to localise more components for its electric vehicles (EVs) in India and reduce dependency on Chinese imports.

“When we went for technology selection, we had two options—either go for the European technology or the Chinese technology. Chinese, as we all know, is the cheaper technology but a stable one as well. We chose to go with Foton back in 2017 basis the fact we wanted to get products quicker, suitable for India,” PEMSPL Director Aman Garg told PTI.

He asserted that “everyone is dependent on Chinese technology (for EV) because that is the only cheaper solution available till now”.

While admitting that the company enjoys the “technological advantage riding with Foton”, Garg said, “The scaling up has to happen in India. That is what we are sure of. We don’t consider ourselves dependent on Foton because we want to localise the manufacturing of the components.”

When asked if PEMSPL is working to develop its technology to reduce dependency on the Chinese partner for future upgrades, he said, “It has to be because there is no sustainable business (if there is dependency)... In so far as technology is concerned, we are working on that front as well but yes that will take some time... I look at a horizon of five-six years and we would be able to integrate our own technology.”

Garg also said PEMSPL complies with the FAME-II scheme regulations in terms of local manufacturing of components, for up to 50 per cent localisation, although critical components like motor and batteries continue to be imported.

On battery, he said the promoters of PEMSPL have set up a subsidiary that will invest into manufacturing of lithium batteries for EVs.

“We will be coming up with a battery manufacturing unit at Dharuhera. We are starting small with an investment of Rs 10-15 crore. We had already acquired land in 2017 so we don’t count that as an investment now. The investment is not coming through PEMSPL but by its promoters,” Garg added.

Dispelling notions that PEMSPL is a Chinese company, he said, “As an enterprise, it is promoter funded, with no direct or indirect investments from any Chinese company or in fact any overseas company.”

Although PEMSPL and Foton India had formed a joint venture (JV), he said PEMSPL as a majority shareholder ensured a completely Indian manufacturing unit to be established to manufacture new energy commercial vehicles, with technology support from Foton.

Also, he said the buses that PEMSPL has supplied to state transport units “have been manufactured by PMI Electro” not by the JV and “there is no foreign investment involved in the manufacture of electric buses so far. PMI Electro had a technology tie-up with Foton under which they gave us access to technology. Thus, no foreign investments are made so far in investment of electric buses.”