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BYD: A Chinese EV giant’s inroad to capture almost half of Indian market despite…

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Chinese carmaker BYD is accelerating its bold push into India with plans of new launches and dealer network expansion. The world’s largest electric vehicle company by volume also sticks to its ambition of capturing almost half of the Asian nation’s EV market.

Warren Buffett-backed BYD will launch its third passenger electric vehicle in India by the fourth quarter of this year and it also plans to double its dealer network in India this year, the company said during an auto show in Greater Noida. BYD India had expanded its network to 24 showrooms across 21 cities in just a year. It now plans to double the presence to 53 showrooms within this year, the company added.

BYD launched its first passenger car in India during the festive season in October. The carmaker plans to sell 15,000 units of the Atto 3 e-SUV this year in India, where it has already invested over $200 million and will set up local manufacturing in due course, according to Reuters.

BYD seeks to capture 40% of India’s EV market by 2030, Sanjay Gopalakrishnan, Senior Vice President of BYD India’s Electric Passenger Vehicle Business, said. “Being a global manufacturer, we have to keep aggressive goals,” Bloomberg cited Gopalakrishnan. India is a good bet because “people are realizing the need for EVs and the charging infrastructure is picking up.”

Several Chinese vehicle makers have struggled to set up manufacturing bases due to the government of India’s extra screening of investments from the neighbouring country.

Investments from China have also been under the radar as relations between the neighbours deteriorated due to heightened tensions and incidents of border skirmishes, while India with its local manufacturing push is chasing a dream to become the world’s factory floor.

India’s resilience, in fact, made authorities mandate that all FDI applications from land-bordering countries will have to go through a certain degree of approval.ET reported earlier citing sources that only a few Chinese companies since late 2021 have qualified for FDI, but there wasn’t anyone from the auto sector. Many FDI applications from China are either stuck or have been rejected by India in recent times.

However, what Gopalakrishnan clarified last November is that “we are not investing”. BYD already has a manufacturing setup in India and it can expand capacity by another 10,000-15000 units in the existing plant without further investment.

BYD also stands out from other EV makers as it was the first automaker to master the three core technologies of new energy-powered vehicles, including battery, electric motor and electric control. Its annual battery production capacity of 16GWh makes it a world leader in the production of power batteries.

BYD’s blade-battery technology cuts battery weight by 30% to 40%, helping increase the volume and efficiency by almost 80% to 90%, according to the company. Amid growing safety fears, the company claims EVs equipped with the Blade Battery would be far less susceptible to catching fire, even when they are severely damaged.

BYD’s accelerated push also comes at a time when India, one of the most polluted countries, is seeking to cut reliance on fossil fuels and sift to the green energy ecosystem.

The government has set an ambitious goal for EVs to make up 30% of private cars, 70% of commercial vehicles, and 80% of two- and three-wheelers by 2030. Retail sales of EVs are estimated to top the 1-million mark in the calendar year 2022, accounting for about 4.7% of the total automobile sales.

Local companies such as Tata Motors, India’s top-selling EV maker, and Mahindra & Mahindra are also rolling out affordable EV models. S&P Global Mobility projects India is en route to becoming the world’s third-largest market for passenger and other light vehicles, displacing Japan.

However, India’s changeover to green cars lags behind countries such as China and the US due to high upfront costs and creaky or lack of charging infrastructure.

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