The Punjab government is in talks with Japan to launch electric vehicle (EV) buses based on the Japanese model of state-of-the-art quick charge lithium-ion batteries, beginning with a pilot of five buses in Chandigarh and Patiala, an official said. The government will take forward the discussions on the Japanese EV Corridor during the forthcoming Progressive Punjab Investors Summit 2019 in which the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), a Japanese government-related organisation, is partnering for the country session. The JETRO promotes mutually beneficial trade and investment between Japanese organizations and other countries.
A delegation led by the Japanese Ambassador to India will attend the summit, which will also see the participation of key stakeholders from Mitsui, SML Isuzu, Mitsubishi and Yanmar, according to state Additional Chief Secretary Investment Promotion Vini Mahajan. Punjab is also pursuing the setting up of a centre of excellence in advanced and emerging technologies with the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, she said.
Taking advantage of the favourable industrial and investment climate in the state, and the ease of business promoted by the new industrial policy of the Amarinder Singh government, Japan has undertaken significant investment in the state in recent months, particularly in the automobile sector. Recently, Ludhiana-based Vardhman Special Steels Ltd received a capital infusion of approximately Rs 500 million from Japan's Aichi Steel Corp, which acquired 11.4 per cent stake in the Indian steel major.
Vardhman's Ludhiana plant will supply special steel components to Toyota's Chennai plant for manufacturing automobiles. They will develop special steel grades for automotive companies in India to help fill the gap of providing substitution of steel that is currently being imported.
In September 2018, Sumitomo Corp, which holds over 50 per cent stake in SML ISUZU, invested Rs 200 crore in technology, product development and expanding production capacity to 25,000 units per shift from 15,000 units at its Nawanshahar plant in Punjab. Other Japanese companies that have invested in Punjab's automobile industry are Yanmar Holding, which owns over 20 per cent stake in International Tractors Ltd (commonly known as Sonalika), the biggest tractor manufacturers in the country.
They are now planning to launch new hybrid tractors in India: Micro Hybrid, Mild Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid (three variants). Further, New Swan Technologies, a leading Punjab-based manufacturer of fine blank, metal sheet parts and sub-assemblies, has entered into a technology collaboration with Gunma Seiko for manufacturing of precision cold forging components for the automotive and general industries.