The overall electric vehicle (EV) supply chain in the country is evolving steadily with a significant focus on localisation on the battery front, says Hexagon, a global technology firm that is helping at least a dozen companies in India in the area of battery and associated systems.

“India is primed for success in the adoption of battery-powered vehicles. Because it’s more commoditised and the battery charging system is more modular, whereas in the four-wheeler side, the evolution of EV will depend on how fast the supporting infrastructure is able to support it,” Subham Sett, Vice-President – Multiphysics, Manufacturing Intelligence Division, Hexagon, told businessline at a conference here.

Growing EV adoption

Convenience and economic benefits of EV charging compared with petrol-powered vehicles are among the factors that contribute to the growing adoption of electric two-wheelers in India, he added.

While there is a lot of focus on product innovation, addressing the challenges on the material side and charging infrastructure would go a long way in accelerating EV adoption in the country. “Not everyone in India has the privilege of having a home charger to charge their cars. Like in the US, if fuel outlets build charging stations, it will support the EV revolution,” he said.

Discussing the EV supply chain industry in India, Karthik Sundarraj, Director - Multiphysics Engineering Solutions, Hexagon, said the progress has been good and there is a vision to build a strong supply chain.

Battery management

Most of the automotive OEMs that are venturing into EVs are keen on developing their own battery packs instead of sourcing from outside the country. They only want to import cells. Of course, EV is not just battery, but also other components such as power electronics, semiconductors, motors, among others.

To monitor the battery, you need a BMS (battery management system) and for the BMS to work, you need a semiconductor and power electronics. While India is now heavily dependent on imports of semiconductors, there are a lot of initiatives for local manufacturing. Locally-made chips will help OEMs to do their own battery packs, he said.

Sundarraj said Hexagon is working with at least a dozen companies in India, including leading OEMs and tier-1 players, in the design of the right batteries, packaging as also integration of the same with the vehicle. Hexagon has partners such as Altium to offer BMS and thermal management solutions etc in EV batteries.

The €5.2-billion Swedish company Hexagon’s manufacturing intelligence has three divisions — design and engineering, production software, and metrology. But the company as a whole, has eight divisions. It employs about 24,000 across 50 countries.