Electronics Bazaar

India banks on South America for lithium for EV batteries

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With an eye on achieving an all-electric car fleet by 2030, India has started reaching out to the ‘Lithium Triangle’ in South America to meet the demand for the metal used in batteries for electric vehicles.

The countries in the ‘Lithium Triangle’, comprising Chile, Argentina and Bolivia, are also members of the Internatio­nal Solar Alliance (ISA), an initiative of Prime Minister Modi, which fosters South-South cooperatio­n. India’s move towards electric cars will help to cut its oil import bills.

Talking to the Financial Express (FE), Bolivia’s ambassador to India, Sergio Arispe Barrientos, said that with the largest lithium reserves in the world, Bolivia can partner with India in its electric vehicle projects. A team from Tata Motors is expected to travel to Bolivia to explore possibilit­ies for sourcing lithium for its electric cars.

Debajit Palit, senior fellow and associate director at The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI), told FE that it is important for India to

get lithium from the source countries, which are mostly in Latin America, if India is to succeed in its plans for electric mobility.

SEMI reports record semiconduc­tor photomask sales of US$ 3.7 billion

SEMI, the global industry associatio­n representi­ng the electronic­s manufactur­ing supply chain, announced that after several years of incrementa­l increases, the worldwide semiconduc­tor photomask market surged 13 per cent to a record high of US$ 3.75 billion in 2017, and is forecast to exceed US$ 4.0 billion in 2019.

The mask market is expected to grow 5 per cent and 4 per cent in 2018 and 2019, respective­ly, according to the SEMI report. Key photomask market drivers remain advanced technology feature sizes (less than 45nm) and the growth in manufactur­ing in the Asia-Pacific region.

Taiwan is the largest photomask regional market for the seventh year in a row and is expected to retain the top spot for the duration of the forecast period. Korea rose in the rankings to claim the second spot.

L&T and BEL sign MoU for defence products

L&T and Bharat Electronic­s Limited (BEL) have signed an MoU to develop and manufactur­e defence products and systems for the evolving domestic and export markets. The partnershi­p also intends to leverage the well-developed supply chain, vast experience and expertise of BEL and L&T, to enhance exports in the defence sector.

By combining L&T’s manufactur­ing, systems design and integratio­n capabiliti­es as well as extensive global footprint with BEL’s core competenci­es in electronic equipment and systems, the companies look forward to enhancing their product range, jointly evolve new products and enhance business prospects.

Wipro and SBI lead corporate drive for EVs

Wipro Limited and State Bank of India (SBI) are committed to transition their global fleets to electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030, becoming the first major Indian businesses to join The Climate Group’s global EV initiative, EV100, to accelerate the roll-out of EVs worldwide.

The Climate Group reported that Wipro will begin rolling out its plans in Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune, involving nearly 2000 vehicles, before also addressing internatio­nal markets. As interim goals, the company expects to scale up the use of EVs to 500 in the next three years and to 1,000 by 2023.

Jarnail Singh, India director, The Climate Group, said that the firm is thrilled to welcome Wipro and SBI to EV100. He believes that their leadership on electric vehicles will send a strong demand signal to the market in India and beyond.

Xiaomi pushes for smartphone component suppliers to invest in India

China’s Xiaomi said it wants its global smartphone component makers to set up base in India, in what is likely to bring in as much as US$ 2.5 billion worth of investment­s into the country, while also creating up to 50,000 jobs.

Xiaomi’s push could boost Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi’s flagship ‘Make in India’ drive that is aimed at adding tens of millions of new jobs and turning Asia’s No.3 economy into a global manufactur­ing hub.

Xiaomi, which began assembling smartphone­s through Foxconn in southern India in

2015, will now assemble parts like memory systems and processors on printed circuit boards, locally, said Manu Jain, managing director of Xiaomi’s India operations. This announceme­nt came a week after New Delhi levied a 10 per cent import duty on some key smartphone components, including populated PCBs.

Defence major Thales targets three-fold rise in revenue from India

The French defence firm Thales is in the process of forming a joint venture with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Ltd, to integrate India-specific capabiliti­es for 36 Rafale jet fighters, maintain radars and electronic sensors, as well as manufactur­e highperfor­mance airborne electronic­s.

The New Indian Express reported that Emmanuel De Roquefeuil, vice president and country director, India, said that the Letter of Intent has been signed and the joint venture will be set up by the end of 2018. The company has set a target for the near term to generate annual revenue of US$ 1.23 billion from India.

The two companies went ahead with this plan only after the Competitio­n Commission of India (CCI) approved the formation of the JV between them.

HMD Global, the company behind the Nokia brand, aims to make components in India

Eyeing aggressive growth in India, Finnish company HMD Global — which sells the iconic Nokia brand of phones — is working hard towards manufactur­ing its own components in the country.

In 2016, HMD Global got the licence to sell Nokia-branded devices for the next 10 years, and it revealed its first line-up last year.

“We are following the phased manufactur­ing programme. In line with this, we have started having conversati­ons with our partner, Foxconn, to manufactur­e our own components in the country,” Ajey Mehta, VP and country head-India, HMD Global, told IANS (Indo-Asian News Service) in an interview. “It will happen over a period of time. We may be a little behind schedule, but it will eventually happen and the components that attract import duty will be manufactur­ed here,” Mehta added. The company said it will also work with Foxconn to set up surface mount technology lines.

Apple plans to ditch Intel’s processors entirely by 2020

Over the last couple of years, Apple has been developing specialise­d chips to handle certain functions in its phones and computers, and now, Bloomberg reports that the company is gearing up to make all its processors in-house by 2020 and ditch its long-time supplier, Intel.

The move is part of an initiative called Kalamata, which will see Apple work towards getting more products and software in its ecosystem to work well together. Another part of this plan includes a new platform codenamed ‘Marzipan’ that would run both iOS and MacOS apps. It’s said to be scheduled for a launch sometime this year, and Apple might announce more details at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

ISRO open to sharing EV battery tech with private players

The chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisati­on (ISRO), K. Sivan, has said that ISRO will make its know-how on space-age lithiumion (Li-ion) battery technology available to private players in the automotive industry. Sivan made this announceme­nt after the launch of the GSAT-6A.

“Government-level discussion­s are going on to find suitable industrial partners to manufactur­e commercial grade Li-ion batteries, which are cost-effective,” said Sivan. Currently, Li-ion batteries are being imported from countries like China and Japan. ISRO uses in-house Liion batteries to power satellites and launch vehicles.

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