Existing lead-acid cell makers, auto original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and energy companies looking to diversify their portfolio are in the fray. “These companies are all seeking a major share of the battery pie, depending upon the business case,” said Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog.
A recent advanced cell chemistry (ACC) program that it ran was subscribed 2.6 times, he added. Under this, selected companies will receive incentives for investing in battery storage. An ACC production-linked incentive scheme announced in March 2022 will help the indigenous electric vehicle cell ecosystem evolve faster, say experts.
Design, Certification Play
“When made locally, it’s easier to build competitiveness and control the process. India now has the opportunity to step up the game in battery design, certification and in control systems, ”said Chetan Maini, chairman of Sun Mobility.
Most EV cells in use in India are manufactured elsewhere in Asia, and undergo heading and temperature cycling tests after import. “The cooling or heating of the cells (depending upon the external temperature, driving pattern, road conditions, power availability) is being managed through an active or passive‘ battery management system ’which is customized and optimized for use in different conditions,” he said. Kant.
However, what needs to be ensured is that the imported cells carry the valid test certificates, meet the minimum code conditions to avoid non-standard cell usage, said Venkat Rajaraman, CEO of lithium-ion battery pack maker Cygni Energy. Other components like thermal pads, sealants, encapsulants that go in a battery pack need tremendous engineering, he added.
Suzuki, Toshiba and Denso have already announced a lithium-ion battery plant at their joint venture unit in Gujarat. Tata Group is drawing up plans to launch a battery company in India as it transitions to build more electric vehicles.
recently tied up with US-based battery technology startup company Ambri Inc. Others like, a leading conventional battery maker, have invested in battery tech startup Log9 Materials.