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Five firms make the PLI cut to manufacture hydrogen-powered vehicles

The government selected five companies — Ashok Leyland, Eicher Motors, Pinnacle Mobility, Tata Motors, and Booma Innovative – for manufacturing fuel cell electric vehicles under the Rs 25,938-crore production-linked incentive scheme for the automobile and auto component industry (PLI-Auto), Minister of State for Heavy Industries Krishan Pal Gurjar has informed the Lok Sabha.

“Several automobile companies have expressed their interest to set up their manufacturing units and invest in India for fuel cell-powered automobiles. So far, five companies have been approved under the PLI Auto scheme,” Gurjar said in a written reply on Tuesday.

The five original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are part of the Ministry of Heavy Industries’ (MHI’s) 20 approved applicants for its Champion OEM Incentive scheme.

The Rs 25,938 crore PLI-Auto scheme has two components — Champion OEM and Component Champion. The Champion OEM Incentive scheme is a sales value-linked scheme, applicable to battery electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles of all segments.

According to the MHI data, the PLI-Auto scheme has attracted a proposed investment of Rs 74,850 crore, against the estimated target of investment Rs 42,500 crore over a period of five years. Of this, a proposed investment Rs 45,016 crore is from approved applicants under the Champion OEM Incentive Scheme and Rs 29,834 crore from approved applicants under the Component Champion Incentive Scheme.

While informing Parliament about the research and development in the hydrogen blending initiative, the minister said, according to information received from the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) Pune, ARAI and Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) had extensively worked on hydrogenated CNG (HCNG) engine development for the finalisation of hydrogen blend in CNG and developed HCNG engines for Indian OEMs.

“Demonstration on buses in Delhi using hydrogenated CNG (HCNG-blend of hydrogen 18 per cent by volume in CNG) was carried out by IOCL,” the minister said.

At present, various OEMs like Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicle (VECV), Ashok Leyland, Tata Motors, and Cummins are working on dedicated hydrogen internal combustion engine development for Heavy Commercial Vehicle applications.

Some of these OEMs are ready with the prototype of hydrogen engines and vehicles. Tata Motors & IOCL is planning to demonstrate fuel cell buses in Delhi, Gurjar said.

The minister also informed the Parliament that the research and development projects on hydrogen-based internal combustion engines, hydrogenated CNG, and diesel and hydrogen-fuelled vehicles are being developed across the country.

The Centre is relying on PLI-Auto, along with the already launched for Advanced Chemistry Cell (Rs 18,100 crore) and Faster Adoption of Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) (Rs 10,000 crore) for helping the country leapfrog from the traditional fossil fuel-based automobile transportation system to an environmentally cleaner, sustainable, advanced and more efficient electric vehicles (EV)-based system.

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