German multinational BASF eyeing e-vehicles segment

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on January 05, 2018

Raman Ramachandran, Chairman and Managing Director, BASF

Fresh investment will depend on companies setting up local units for manufacturing such batteries, says chief

In a bid to find new revenue streams, German multinational BASF is eyeing the growing electric vehicles (EVs) segment. BASF makes chemicals required in batteries for EVs and the company could make fresh investments in the country, if the segment sees traction in the coming years.

Fresh investment will depend on other companies setting up local units for manufacturing such batteries, said Raman Ramachandran, Chairman and Managing Director, BASF, during a meeting with BusinessLine’s editorial in Mumbai.

Ramachandran said that this new opportunity is being considered as the materials used for making EVs batteries is an area of focussed R&D for the company.

Electric vehicles are the next big technology jump and a number of countries want to fully adapt to this technology by about 2030s.

If the government wants all cars to go fully electric by 2030, then local manufacturing of batteries is essential, he said.

The company is already a part of the automobile value chain.

It supplies paints, catalytic converters and engineering plastics, which are used as dashboards in cars.

In the last four years, BASF has invested about ₹2,000 crore in the country. It has 12 manufacturing facilities in India, making products as diverse as foam materials used in beds, agrochemicals to vitamins added for reinforcing breakfast cereals.

Ramachandran said that BASF along with making battery chemicals in India will also focus on storage capacity and longevity of such batteries. BASF already has battery-making clients in China, the US and Japan.

The research on battery materials is happening in Japan. Investment in India by automobile makers for making EVs could become a trigger point for the company to invest in the battery chemical business, he said.

He said that the company was also following the nascent semiconductor business in India as it provides chemicals to semiconductor makers globally. Ultrapure water, gases and electronic chemicals for semiconductor production are provided by BASF.

Agrochem concerns

On the issue of concerns over agrochemicals getting into food chains, Ramachandran pointed that if the products are used as recommended on the label and if the mandatory time between the application of chemicals and harvesting of food crops is strictly followed, then the chemicals will not enter the food chain.

It is raising the awareness of farmers by continuously engaging with them on issues of safe practices.

As a part of this engagement, it sells masks and gowns for safe spraying chemicals.

These personal protection accessories are being sold to the farmers on a no profit basis, he added.

Published on January 05, 2018
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