Bharat Forge’s Amit Kalyani on what’s wrong with India’s EV model and whether green hydrogen is the silver bullet

Source : PTI | One of India’s leading manufacturing multinationals, Bharat Forge, on Tuesday called for a more innovative approach to electric vehicles (EVs) in the country’s climate action agenda which is not based on copying China’s battery-based model. Addressing India Global Forum’s Climate and Business (ClimB) session in London, company vice-chair and joint managing director Amit Kalyani pointed to great potential to incorporate inductive electric charging as the highway infrastructure takes shape around the country.

He highlighted that the higher price tag of EVs is largely down to the cost of the batteries and having an alternative model will have a significant impact on sales of the more environmentally-friendly mode of transport. “I believe that we are all following the wrong model because everybody is copying what China did and is using the Chinese template for electric vehicles, which is a battery-based electric model,” said Kalyani.

“Most countries like India, where we are building infrastructure from scratch, not just EV infrastructure but highways… we can incorporate inductive electric charging in those and dramatically reduce the amount of battery we use to one-tenth or one-fifth of what you would otherwise need and only use it when the EV is off the main highways. This will dramatically reduce the need for the harmful chemicals and the mining of those chemicals, which is largely in Africa, and all controlled by Chinese companies,” he said.

EVs were among several topics in the spotlight for ClimB, an annual platform for advancing climate solutions and sustainability initiatives around clean energy, finance, green infrastructure, mobility and technology to accelerate global efforts towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

“India has significant financing needs. Just 2.5% of GDP in green financing until 2030, and then it moves into trillions for the energy transition as we get towards the target of net zero,” noted Julia Hoggett, CEO of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), who called for greater focus on creating mechanisms by which companies in the Global South can invest in such projects.

“We need a global financial architecture… There’s a lot to be done in terms of making our financial system work for the energy transition in places where affordability is a real issue,” said Kate Hampton, CEO of Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF).

The debate also revolved around the role that green hydrogen would play on the course of energy transition away from fossil fuels.

“Everything we can electrify, we should electrify because we found a way to decarbonise the grid already through renewables. While hydrogen is important, electrifying what we can is the most important thing and everything that we have electrified moving to renewables is equally important,” said Rahul Munjal, Chairman and Managing Director, Hero Future Energies.

“Is green hydrogen the silver bullet that we have all been looking for and does it have the promise that it’s all hyped up to be? At least in smaller projects it’s here and now, large scale not yet,” he added.

The session was followed by IGF London’s first Global Investors Forum, celebrated with a market close ceremony at the London Stock Exchange – celebrating its role in facilitating capital flows into the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

Darko Hajdukovic, Head of New and Private Markets and Deputy Head of Digital and Securities Markets at LSE plc, noted: “Over the past 30 years, approximately 100 Indian companies and funds have financed their ambitious plans through our markets, and we look forward to continuing to support India in its growth.”

“London’s unparalleled financial expertise and robust capital markets can significantly contribute to India’s ambitious growth trajectory, creating pathways for substantial investments in infrastructure, innovation, and sustainable development,” added IGF Founder Manoj Ladwa.