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'Look at China's BYD, India's R&D expenditure needs to go up,' says Ather Energy CEO Mehta

Jaya Vishwakarma
New Update
Ather Energy Co-founder & CEO Tarun Mehta

Ather Energy CEO Tarun Mehta has advocated for increased spending on research and development (R&D) by Indian automotive companies.

In a recent post on X, Mehta said that founders need to target an R&D team of a million engineers in India. He cited the example of the China-based EV giant BYD, which reportedly has more people in R&D than the rest of the auto industry outside of China combined.

Tarun Mehta's tweet


"The most important progress is technological progress and China, for all its faults, is doing a damn good job on this. BYD is the largest EV company and that's because they are all in. Just look at the freaking numbers:"

"An RnD team size approaching 100K people with some 20-30K engineers hired last year alone! Almost 10% of their revenue is spent on RnD, even at the scale of $40-50B in annual revenues," he wrote. 

Mehta said that India needs to increase its focus on R&D in an immense way. 

"Remember, suppliers come and setup capacities where OEMs produce. OEMs produce where their new product development (NPD) happens. And NPD happens where there are engineers. That's why China today wins the NPD game so that it can continue to maintain it's eventual manufacturing advantage," he added.

Mehta further stated that Indian companies often don't spend more than 3-4% on R&D and if "we have a 10-20X growth ahead of us for the next few decades, then we need to target big numbers everywhere."

He said that the country will need to aim for 10-15% R&D spending in all critical sectors and have a million engineers in all critical sectors. 

"In fact, having a million engineers for an incredibly focused product company out of India itself won't be crazy and is almost certain to happen in the future. That ought to translate into a $40-50B spend per year. That's roughly comparable with the R&D spends of the big tech players in the US today. There are companies already spending more than that today. BYD is already at 10% of that headcount in China. Throw enough engineering muscle at a problem, and eventually, progress will follow," he added.