Li-ion batteries make up for the most expensive component of an electric vehicle, accounting for 40-50% of its cost. With the increasing penetration of EVs in our transport system, the demand for Li-ion batteries for EV applications is set to skyrocket. Apart from Electric Vehicles, other applications such as renewable energy integration with the grid will boost the Li-Ion battery demand. According to the government’s estimates, India will need a minimum of 10 GWh of Li-ion cells by 2022, about 60 GWh by 2025 and 120 GWh by 2030. This article explores the current state of Lithium-ion battery manufacturing in India.
Currently, either Li-ion cells are imported from China or Taiwan to be assembled into batteries in India, or already assembled battery packs are being imported. Considering the ambitious plans to push EVs, these imports are going to cost the economy dearly. India neither has any known sources of lithium (the lightest metal) or cobalt nor do we have lithium-ion battery manufacturing capabilities as of now. The government wants to encourage the local manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries through battery chemistry linked FAME incentives and increments on import duties. Local manufacturing of Lithium-ion batteries is expected to bring down the EV cost in due time. Let us take a look at recent initiatives takes by the Indian government:
Players in the Fray
The market for electric vehicle power packs is set to grow to $300 billion by 2030, including a huge secondary market comprising of more than 2.5 million e-rickshaws and 4,00,000 lead-acid battery-powered 2 wheelers on roads today. Many players in automobile and energy space have started teaming up together and finding synergies to roll out Li-ion battery manufacturing units for EV applications. Let’s take a look at some prominent names involved:
1. Suzuki Motor Corp is setting up a lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in Gujarat at an investment of Rs 1,150 crore and planning an expansion of the same in the next phase. The facility is being established in partnership with Toshiba and Denso.
2. Li Energy has purchased 125 Acres of Land in Thondi, Tamilnadu to develop an SEZ and set up Li-ion cell manufacturing with the guidance of Dr Gopu Kumar, former Head of Lithium-ion Battery Research appointment by CSIR.
Update as on Jun 28, 2020 – Li Energy is building a vertically integrated value chain and has planned the project as follows:
Phase 1 – (Early 2021) – First fully automated prismatic Li-ion battery assembly line (1 GW) in India. Talks underway with CATL to supply Cells. Li Energy plans to raise PE, VC & Debt funding of INR 50 Crores for Phase 1.
Phase 2 – (End of 2021) – Li-ion cell manufacturing pilot line of 150 MW. Cathode, anode & other cell constituents to be imported.
Phase 3 – To do away with material imports and setup a Cell Material Company for LFP, NMC and LTO chemistries with CECRI-CSIR technology.
Phase 4 – Scale the Cell manufacturing facility to 1 Gigawatt.
Assembly line, R&D to be set up in Chennai. Plans to raise INR 750 Crores over next 4 years. Industries under focus are EVs & Energy Storage for Renewable Energy.
3. Exide Industries formed a 75:25 joint venture with Switzerland-based Leclanché SA, one of the world’s leading energy storage companies to produce lithium-ion batteries. The JV is called Nexcharge. The company will initially import the cells from Leclanche’s plant in Germany, citing cell production at the local plant will start later.
On July 10th, 2020, CEO of Nexcharge – Stefan Louis announced that they are ready with their production line to make Li-ion pouch cell battery modules in India. The plant is located at Prantij (near Ahmedabad) and started with a capacity of around 1.5 GWh. The cells are being imported from Leclanche’s plant in Germany, at present.
Government Initiatives Around Li-ion batteries
1. Restricting FAME 2 benefits to EVs with Lithium-ion and better chemistry batteries, excluding lead-acid battery-powered vehicles.
2. Increasing import duty on lithium-ion cells to 10% from the current 5% from April 2021.
3. Increasing the import duty on assembled battery packs from 5% to 15% from April 2021.
4. Setting up of National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage in 2019 to drive mobility initiatives with the goal of setting up large scale manufacturing plants for cells, batteries and other components of the EV value chain.
5. Tender worth USD $50 billion expected to be floated for global investors to set up a 50 GW battery manufacturing base under ‘Make in India’. NITI Aayog will seek proposals from states to identify a total of 5-20 locations in the country. The companies will be required to set up the manufacturing facilities by 2022, after which they will get the incentives for eight years till 2030. Ref IEEFA report.
6. India and Bolivia have forged a partnership that entails India investing in developing Bolivia’s vast lithium deposits and Bolivia would, in turn, facilitate the supply of lithium, lithium carbonate and cobalt to India. The MoU between the two countries is set to foster alliances for lithium battery/cell production plants in India and the possibility of Indian companies setting up production capabilities in Bolivia.
7. According to news reports, 3 different Lithium-ion battery manufacturers (names withheld) are expected to set up units with a combined capacity of 10 gigawatts in Telangana, with an investment of Rs 1,500 crore in the first phase and a total investment of Rs 6000 crore.
In addition to the above points, government bodies are also engaging in Li-ion cell manufacturing. BHEL is planning to set up India’s first Li-ion Giga-factory to manufacture Li-ion cells in a JV with Libcoin with plans to scale up the capacity to 30 GWh in due course. Earlier in 2019, ISRO chose 10 companies to transfer its indigenously developed low-cost Li-ion cell technology. These companies are listed below, however there are no official updates available on their progress with the technology.
1. Amara Raja Batteries, Andhra Pradesh
2. Bharat Electronics Limited BEL, Pune
3. Carborundum Universal Limited (CUMI), Kochi
4. Exicom power solutions, Gurgaon
5. GOCL, Hyderabad
6. Jyoti CNC Automation Ltd, Gujarat
7. Tata Chemicals Ltd, Mumbai
8. Thermax Ltd, Pune
9. Sukhbir Agro Energy Limited, New Delhi
10. National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO), Bhubaneshwar
Lithium-ion Battery Pack Assembly for EV Applications
Many companies in India supply lithium-ion batteries for non-EV applications like consumer electronics but EV batteries are bigger and more complex. Below, we have put together a list of a few Li-ion battery suppliers who are providing Li-ion batteries for EV applications in India:
1. Exicom – Exicom offers fixed and portable Lithium-ion batteries for e-autos, e-rickshaws, e-scooters and light electric vehicles. Kinetic Green 3 wheelers are using batteries produced by Exicom.
2. Okaya Power offers an LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery for e-rickshaws.
3. ACME – ACME Cleantech plans to expand the capacity of its lithium-ion battery manufacturing unit in Rudrapur, Uttarakhand to 2-3 GWh by 2020. ACME claims to be the first manufacturer of Li-ion batteries in the country.
4. PuREnergy Pvt. Ltd, Hyderabad
5. Future hi-tech Batteries, Mohali
6. Pastiche Energy Solutions, Panchkula
7. Greenfuel Energy Solutions, Gurgaon
8. Bhagwati Products Limited, Bhiwadi, Hyderabad, Rudrapur
9. Explore Energies, Delhi
10. Bharat Power Solutions, Noida
11. Nexus Power Solutions, Maharashtra
12. Explore Synergy Synocare Pvt Ltd, Delhi
13. Elecorev, Gujarat
14. Lithimax, Thane
15. Micromax Energy, Delhi
16. Synergy Intact Pvt Ltd – Mohali
17. Vrinda – Supplier of Li-Ion Battery Raw Materials
18. Euclion Energy Pvt Ltd, Noida
19. Amara Raja Batteries Ltd is building a 100 megawatt-hour Lithium-ion assembly plant in Andhra Pradesh in close coordination with IIT Chennai.
20. Panasonic plans to assemble Lithium-ion batteries for two- and three-wheelers in India by importing lithium-ion cells from Japan or China.
21. According to an ET report, many other companies like Trontek, Coslight India, Napino Auto & Electronics, Trinity Energy Systems, Versatile Auto Components have also announced their plans to make lithium-ion batteries in the country.
Please let us know if you would like us to add any other Li-ion battery suppliers for EV applications to this list. For a list of EV Charging Solution providers, visit EV Charging Solution Providers in India.
Globally, China is the biggest consumer of lithium. China also plans to procure lithium from Bolivia through a joint venture with the latter’s state lithium company. Lithium rich countries like Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Australia are set to play a critical role in the energy storage industry in coming years. In order to achieve the country’s EV adoption targets, we need to see quick capability building for lithium-ion cells and battery production. Hopefully, the initiatives being taken by the government and industry will secure access to lower-cost energy storage systems for India’s EV future.
Cover Image Credit – Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
Last Updated: 12 Jul, 2020