Indian lead battery maker Exide Industries could be a step closer to building a “multi-gigawatt” lithium-ion cell manufacturing plant in the country.
The firm’s board of directors agreed to set up a green field lithium-ion cell manufacturing facility in India during a meeting on 21 December, according to an exchange filing report by The Economic Times newspaper.
The exact size and location of the plant has not been disclosed, however, as far back as August 2019 India’s biggest lead-acid battery maker said it would start producing lithium-ion cells from a new plant in Gujarat, India.
Although those plans were supposed to come to fruition in 2019.
A company press release hinted that expected electric vehicle penetration in India and lithium-ion battery-based storage solutions for both automotive and industrial applications were a reason for the expansion from lead to lithium batteries.
Exide Industries plans to apply for and participate in the country’s Ministry of Heavy Industries' production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for manufacturing Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC), according to reports.
India’s government cleared the Rs 18,100-crore ($2,4 billion) PLI scheme in May, which is aimed at promoting domestic battery manufacturing.
Exide Industries MD and CEO Subir Chakraborty said: "The government is pushing electric vehicle manufacturing through a supportive policy framework and by providing incentives to the manufacturers in this space. As a result, lithium-ion battery-based storage solutions will gain prominence, for both automotive and industrial applications.
Investing in lithium-ion
The move into lithium-ion comes after Exide Industries announced it was focusing on ‘cost control’ and ‘technology upgradation’ to improve the bottom-line after COVID-19 caused a distribution in the supply chain in 2020.
The company announced on 3 August that its net turnover for the second quarter of the year ending 30 June, was down Rs.1,232 crore ($16 million) compared to year-on-year figures (Rs. 2,779.25 crore or $37 million).
In 2019, the company announced a plant was going to be built in Gjurat to produce cells exclusively for the domestic market, with the plant’s capacity being scaled up as demand for the firm’s products pick up
The plant was to built through the joint venture with Switzerland-based Leclanché, with the goal of targeting India’s burgeoning electric vehicle market.
In 2020, Exide Industries, increased its stake in Nexcharge— the lithium-ion joint venture (JV) it formed with Leclanché in 2018.
Lithium battery plants in India
In 2019, BEST reported the following plans for India’s lithium-ion industry:
- The Tata Group has reportedly pledged INR4,000 crore ($600 million) towards building a lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in Gujarat, India. A 126-acre parcel of land in the area has already been secured for the plant, which could boast up to 10GW of capacity, according the Times of India.
- Car maker Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL)— a 56.21% owned subsidiary of the Japanese OEM Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC)— has said it will commission its battery manufacturing plant in Hansalpur, Gujarat by the end of next year.
- A joint project by SMC (50%), Toshiba (40%) and Denso (10%) plans to build a lithium-ion battery plant in Hansalpur with a reported IND1,151 crore ($180m) investment.
- Suzuki Motor Gujarat— a 100% subsidiary of SMC—completed construction of its second Gujarat plant, bringing its combined EV production capabilities to 500,000 units a year.
- Talks are under way for the Indian government’s first lithium-ion plant— a 1GWh factory to be built by state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and LIBCOIN consortium made up of Magnis Energy, Duggal Family Trust and Charge CCCV (C4V). It is part of the “Make in India, for India” programme and could be scaled up to 30GWh if the plans come to fruition. Incidentally, US-based C4V and Australian firm Magnis are part of the Imperium3 consortium planning to build a gigafactory in New York, US.
- Billionaire Gautam Adani announced in January he would invest in a lithium battery manufacturing complex in Gujarat.
- The state of Telangana aims to establish a lithium-ion gigafactory, according to NITI Aayog. The state wants to build a 5GWh plant, and has set aside a 200-acre parcel of land near Hybrabad for the factory.