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New EV Hub Could Catapult Tamil Nadu to be the Largest EV Producer in India


To boost and complement the national scheme of Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India), Tamil Nadu released the draft EV Policy 2019. The following year, the state’s government passed an order for 100 percent exemption of motor vehicle tax for battery operated vehicles. It bagged Ola Electric's Rs.2,400 crore investment to set up two million units. Today, the state welcomes its largest EV production facility at Ranipet by Greaves Electric Mobility Pvt. Ltd., the e-mobility wing under the Greaves Cotton Limited, is one of the most prominent EV players in the industry. Housed at the industrial center of the state, this hub stretches for about 35 acres and is promised to serve as a hub for domestic as well as export markets.

This only adds more value to the state’s city, Chennai, constantly upholding its title, ‘Detroit of Asia’, since it already has a vast number of major automobile manufacturing units like Ford, Hyundai, Nissan/Renault/Datsun & Royal Enfield and a few more in the list. To top it off, it also boasts one of the best roads in the city, which suffer from congestion often being the reason why a lot of people are driving back from work to their homes late. Nonetheless, it is one of the largest state producers of automobiles in the country striving to upgrade its position to being one of the largest EV producers and is doing exactly that.

Manufacturing Capacity of 120,000 Units by Year End
That’s right, this plant is a part of Rs.700 crore investment roadmap announced earlier this year, as Greaves Electric Mobility plans to expand its growing share in the country’s EV market.

By the time Santa Claus comes to town, chances are this plant would have completed 120,000 manufacturing capacity units, let alone its other plans of creating a million units in the future.

Basavanhalli adds, “when we grow our capacities to produce a million EVs per year in the future, this EV mega site will help us address the rising needs of discerning customers and fleet purchasers in the last-mile mobility sector”

The optimism of where this comes from is that of the company’s workforce, as it claims to possess a robust workforce that has been the hallmark of the brand since the early times.

To that it plans to make the women folk sum up to 70 percent of its workforce. As Thangam Thenarasu, Minister for Industries, Government of Tamil Nadu puts it, “electric mobility is gaining momentum, and we are totally dedicated to extending every conceivable support to the vehicle industry here. More factories like Greaves Electric Mobility will benefit the community, and it's fantastic to see how the company has hired the majority of the plant's female employees. We must prioritize upskilling and job creation for our female workforce if we are to make India the world's manufacturing hub”.

According to Nagesh Basavanhalli, MD and Group CEO, Greaves Cotton, who says “interestingly, referrals account for 40 percent of our sales, demonstrating that the brand enjoys great word-of-mouth support. This is the strength of our brand that allows us to go big in the e-mobility arena, delivering technically sound and comfortable-to-ride electric 2Ws on a scale that puts us at the forefront of India's EV revolution”.

Basavanhalli further adds that, “when we grow our capacities to produce a million EVs per year in the future, this EV mega site will help us address the rising needs of discerning customers and fleet purchasers in the last-mile mobility sector”.

The opening of this plant is proof of how the state is striving to be one of the largest EV producers in the country, which already ranks second for that matter.

Draft EV Policy and the Aim to Pool Rs.50,000 Crore Investment
The state’s government is bent on establishing a comprehensive EV ecosystem with a goal of attracting a total investment of Rs 50,000 crore. It plans to generate over 150,000 new jobs and the policy is said to last for about ten years from the date of its release. Below are some of the objectives destined to be fulfilled under the policy.

Build a solid infrastructure for electric vehicles, including a reliable power supply and a network of charging stations with low-cost electricity.

Promote EV innovation for automotive and shared mobility by creating the environment and infrastructure necessary to make Tamil Nadu India's EV hub.

Create a pool of skilled workforce for the EV industry by utilizing the State's technical institutions, as well as new jobs in the EV industry.

Make Tamil Nadu the preferred destination for EVs and components, including battery and charging infrastructure.

Create an atmosphere that encourages industry and research institutions to focus on cutting-edge research in EV technology and reap the benefits.

To avoid pollution, recycle and reuse used batteries and dispose of rejected batteries in an environmentally acceptable manner.

Last year, the state’s government approved an order of 100 percent exemption of motor vehicle tax to encourage the adoption of EV.

The Two Year EV Tax Exemption
Tamil Nadu, like Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and a few other states, is attempting to transition from a traditional automobile production powerhouse to an EV manufacturing and ecosystem hub.

To stimulate the adoption of EVs, the state’s government issued an order which calls for the exemption of battery-powered vehicles from all motor vehicle taxes for a two-year period, from November 1, 2020 to December 31, 2022. On the other hand, several e-mobility companies have already made investments in the state, including Ather Energy, Grinntech, an IIT-Madras-incubated battery company, and m-Auto. But before Greaves’ manufacturing plant was planted, Ola Electric’s two wheeler mega plant was already in place and is on the verge of completion.

Ola’s Mega Factory
Ola Electric said earlier this year that it is constructing a huge plant on a 500-acre plot of land. Last year, it signed a Rs.2.400 crore Mou with the state’s government to build the world's largest two-wheeler manufacturing plant. The plant's site acquisition was completed in January of this year, and construction began in late February.

The cab-aggregator turned EV manufacturer announced that the facility's first phase will be operational soon, with more than 10 million man-hours expected to get the production up and running in record time. The massive plant will be Ola's worldwide production base for a range of electric two-wheelers that will be sold across India and exported to markets such as Europe, the UK, Latin America, Australia, and New Zealand.

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