India’s biggest lead-acid battery maker, Exide Industries, will start producing lithium-ion cells from a new plant in Gujarat, India, by the close of this year.
The capacity of the plant is yet to be disclosed but it will produce cells exclusively for the domestic market, with the plant’s capacity being scaled up as demand for the firm’s products pick up, an Exide spokesman told BEST Battery Briefing.
The plant was built through a joint venture with Switzerland-based Leclanché, with the goal of targeting India’s burgeoning electric vehicle market.
Exide owns the greater share of the 75:25 ratio JV.
“It is inevitable that electric vehicles will come into India. Whether it will be three years down the line, five years down the line or 10 years down the line, that can be debated,” Exide Industries’ MD & CEO Gautam Chatterjee (pictured) told shareholders during the company’s 72nd annual general meeting.
“But we as a company, want to be fully prepared to address this opportunity.”
Around INR100 crore (US$1.2 billion) has already been invested with another 100 crore to be invested before March next year.
The India government think tank NITI Aayog and the World Energy Council said in a report last September that the country needs 10GWh of cell-making capacity by 2022, rising to 50GWh by 2025. However, other reports believe the number will be more like 600GWh by 2030.
India is close to finalising a number of subsidies to drive the country’s battery market, which could be ratified as early as this December.
The Zero Emission Vehicles (zevs): Towards a Policy Frameworkreport, published by NITI Aayog and India’s government, suggested a tiered approach to import duties to drive the market.
Under the proposals, complete EVs would incur the highest import tax duty, while batteries and drivetrains would be lower and battery-cells and connectors would incur no import duty.
The report noted that: “It is imperative that India gets the cell cost and parameters like energy density (size and weight), life cycles, safety, temperature tolerance right, so that its batteries are best in the world.”
“Early plants can be set-up either by international manufacturers or as joint ventures between Indian companies and international manufacturers. Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (MSIPS) incentives and tax incentives need to be provided to these companies.”
The report added that incentives must be coupled with strong support to research and design into new battery chemistry and manufacturing process to those organisations that have the capability to commercialise those technologies.
At the same time, India will need a policy to secure materials used in lithium-ion batteries, including lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, and graphite, the report noted.
Lithium battery plants in India
- 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.
In January, 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 will 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.