Steel baron Sajjan Jindal is considering building electric vehicles (EVs) in a separate company, so as not to burden the group companies financially. The EV project is at the feasibility assessment stage and the promoters will take the final call on investments within six months, said Seshagiri Rao, Joint MD and Group CFO, JSW Steel.
"It will cost a lot of money since it's a greenfield project. Besides, we need to acquire technology and platform," he said. The EVs are expected to be launched under the JSW brand.
JSW group had earlier made initial investments and formed a division to launch the EVs, but backed out due to lack of conviction. "We wanted to go ahead earlier, but there was less clarity on the pace of EV adoption. Now technology has changed and there are incentives and support from the government. These are major drivers today to relook at the project," says Seshagiri Rao.
The $22 billion group expects that EV penetration will be faster in India. The car makers in India like Tata Motors, Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki, Kia India and Hyundai India are aggressively pursuing the opportunity with frequent EV launches. With the entry of JSW, the EV landscape will grow further.
JSW will need to acquire EV technology and platform to start the venture. "Koreans have good technology for EVs. The Chinese and Europeans are also strong in the sector," says Rao. We will have to buy basic technology and platform, he added.
JSW group will not be involving any of the listed or operating companies in the EV venture as they have their own investment plans for growth. "EV will be sponsored by promoters. It will be a separate business," says Rao.
JSW Steel, the flagship business of the group, owns and operates 1 million tonne per annum (MTPA) steel plant at Salem in Tamil Nadu, which manufactures auto-grade, high-value steel and supplies to automobile companies including EV makers. The group is also working on projects to support energy storage solutions, including EV batteries.
In August last year, the group collaborated with ElectricPe to develop electric vehicle charging infrastructure across its office network. JSW had earlier introduced a green policy to provide incentives for its employees to purchase EVs. The charging infrastructure was essential to support the EV transition. ElectricPe has already enabled charging points at JSW's Mumbai headquarters and expanding the services to JSW offices in Vasind, Dolvi, Vijayanagar, Sholtu, and Jharsuguda.