With the rise in popularity of electric vehicles in the country, the charging infrastructure is also getting strengthened gradually. The next big requirement is to bring down the cost of EVs, which is only possible by bringing in cheaper lithium-ion batteries. With policy support from the Government, lot of established companies and some startups are working diligently in that direction.
While launching the FAME-II scheme, the Government had envisioned converting 30 per cent of the total vehicle sales in the country to electric by year 2030. Over a period, it has also taken multiple initiatives to boost the EV ecosystem, including educating the public about the benefits of EVs over combustion-based vehicles. The steps have certainly yielded results and things are improving across the spectrum.
Most importantly, the race for new innovations in the EV battery segment has started heating up. Since 50 per cent of the total cost of an electric vehicle comprises the battery cost, this is a highly positive development. A few years back, the prices of batteries were extremely high but now, with the advancements in technology, these have started coming down drastically.
- A few years back, the battery prices were very high but with the advancements in technology, these have started coming down.
- China is the largest producer of lithium-ion cells and hence, it controls the price of batteries used in the EVs.
- Exide has formed a JV with Leclanche SA, a world-leading provider of high-quality energy solutions, to make lithium-ion batteries.
- Three Tata Group companies, Tata Power, Tata Chemicals and Tata Motors, are creating a state-of-art EV infrastructure.
- Hero MotoCorp has acquired a 34.6 pc stake in Ather Energy, which will focus on manufacturing lithium-ion batteries at its Hosur facility.
Currently, most of the lithium-ion batteries are imported from China and that’s what has been driving their prices high. China is the largest producer of lithium-ion cells and hence, it controls the price of batteries used in the EVs. However, after the Government’s recent announcement that it will provide $180 billion as subsidies for advanced cell chemistry, many start-ups and established companies have started investing in new battery technologies. The objective is to bring down the price of batteries, and thereby, reduce the cost of EVs, eventually.
Some of the top companies that have embarked upon the new battery technologies are discussed below:
- Exide Industries: A leading storage battery manufacturer in the country, it has invested heavily in its subsidiary, Leclanche Energy, to expand its production capacity. Exide has formed a joint venture (JV) with Leclanche SA, a world-leading provider of high-quality energy solutions, to make lithium-ion batteries and build energy storage systems in the country.
- Amara Raja Batteries: It is the second largest manufacturer of automotive batteries in the country. Amara Raja has invested more than $200 million to set up a hub at its Tirupati facility in Andhra Pradesh for the development of lithium-ion batteries. It is one of the ten companies which the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has shortlisted to transfer technologies that will benefit electric mobility in the country.
- Tata Group: Three top companies of the Indian multinational conglomerate, Tata Power, Tata Chemicals and Tata Motors, are creating a state-of-art EV infrastructure across the country. ISRO has also signed a MoU with Tata Chemicals for the transfer of lithium-ion cell technology. The Group also plans to start manufacturing lithium-ion batteries at its Gujarat facility.
- Hero MotoCorp: The world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters has acquired a 34.6 pc stake in Ather Energy, which claims to be one of the first intelligent electric vehicle manufacturers in the country. Ather has set up an EV manufacturing facility at Hosur in Tamil Nadu which will also focus on manufacturing lithium-ion batteries. It is targeted to have an annual production capacity of nearly 1,20,000 battery packs. Currently, Ather is the only OEM in the country which manufactures its own battery packs for EVs.
Apart from these major companies, several EV start-ups are also venturing into new battery technologies. With the Government backing their efforts with positive policy framework, the country is set to witness an EV revolution in the near future.