EV Battery Cells Manufacturing: Taking stock of India’s odds and evens

 In Blog, EVs

As the cliché goes, any chain is as strong as the weakest link in it. The cliché aptly fits automotive supply chain – a complex interlinking of vendors as well as numerous decision makers. Every business disruption leads to an associated disruption in the supply chain and if one looks for them, one can find many examples of disruptive businesses that failed because the supply chains could not be disrupted and re-built to support the new business.

While globally countries are pushing hard to increase the manufacturing and sales of EVs, a major link in the EV supply chain – the EV battery cells – was off the radar. This might have been because of numerous factors – decision makers not able to believe that EVs are gonna come so fast and actually stay and grow or the very natural and comforting corporate instinct of playing it safe. Now that everyone knows the ball is rolling and will only move faster, countries have started thinking about the weakest link in their electronic vehicles supply chain – the EV battery cells.

Quanzen has already published one article in this series of three articles to share an in-depth overview of battery cell manufacturing globally and opportunities in India. You can read the first article which gives a bird’s eye view of global status quo here. As the title of this article says, here is the second article which gives its readers an idea what’s happening in India as far as cell manufacturing goes.

India: Emerging Land of Electric Vehicles

As we have highlighted in numerous articles on our blog, India is an early adapter when it comes to EVs. India not only has healthy reception for EVs from consumers, but it also has a totally invested government, supportive policies and even a robust start-up ecosystem. As one of our earlier articles describe, India has witnessed a homegrown start-up maturing into a unicorn and now challenging the established legends by setting up its own giga-factory.

It would have been a surprise if a country like India did not have a robust plan to boost up its EV battery cell manufacturing, especially after the government announced ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ – a mission to make manufacturing in India as independent as possible.

On June 9, 2021, Indian Government notified Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for manufacturing of Advanced Chemistry Cells (ACC). The scheme will greatly benefit the cell availability for electric vehicles as well as for grid storage which will strengthen the charging infrastructure. This scheme earmarks an outlay of USD 2.49 billion and intends to boost up the local manufacturing Capacity to 50 GWh. Experts are estimating investments in excess of USD 6 billion dollars on account of these incentives.

EV Battery Cell Manufacturing in India: What’s Actually Happening?

Due to the large size of domestic market as well as globalized nature of Indian conglomerates, India has a large pool of companies having enough muscle power to venture into EV battery cell manufacturing as well as fuel cell manufacturing. Here are the recent steps taken by Indian companies into the EV battery cell manufacturing:

Reliance Industries: Mukesh Ambani, MD of Reliance Industries shared his ambitious plans to invest over Rs 60,000 crore (roughly USD 7 billion) over the next three years to offer a fully integrated, end-to-end renewables energy ecosystem, including a factory to manufacture fuel cell technology. Work has already been kickstarted to actualize this mega project on 5000 acres of land in Jamnagar, Gujarat. On 10th of August 2021, Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd. (RNESL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), disclosed plans to investment $50 million to acquire 42.3 million shares in Ambri Inc., an energy storage company based in Massachusetts, USA. Reliance also has a partnership with BP for energy storage solutions. If one connects all the dots, Reliance is playing it with a clear vision and pursuing with full throttle.

Tata Chemicals: When it comes to Lithium-ion cell technology, Tata Chemicals is working across the spectrum – from cell manufacturing to recycling used batteries. Tata Chemicals has a wealth of information about chemistry and plans to leverage it to establish a strong foot in the EV cell ecosystem. The company has partnered with reputed R&D centers in India like ISRO, CSIR-CECRI and CMET. The company has an Engineering and Innovation centre in Pune working on cell chemistry as well as active manufacturing and recycling technologies. The company has a functional manufacturing facility at Cholera, Gujarat and has already launched battery recycling business.

L&T Power: A subsidiary of Larsen & Toubro – a major player in the heavy industries is also working towards developing cell technology and is reportedly in talks with the government to start its manufacturing under the PLI scheme mentioned earlier in this article.

Virya Batteries: Incorporated at the prestigious IIT Bombay, Virya Batteries has developed indigenous Lithium-ion cells that offer safety and high cycle life. Virya is backed by Chetan Maini – a serial techno-preneur and the mind behind Rewa – India’s first electric car.

Other Players:  A large pool of other companies including Adani Group, Suzuki Motor Corp, BHEL, Exide Industries Ltd., Amara Raja Batteries Ltd., Greenko Group, Renew Power, JSW are in talks with government to tap into the PLI scheme. (Ref: https://www.investindianews.com/top-indian-conglomerates-in-talks-with-government-to-tap-the-pli-scheme-for-lithium-ion-cells-worth-inr-18100-crores/)

These moves make it pretty clear that India is all set to have a robust cell manufacturing strategy as well as action plan in place which will catalyse the penetration of EVs in the country. 

Stay tuned for the third article in this series which will give readers a deep dive into the EV battery cells manufacturing and supply chain opportunities in India.

To learn more about the Indian Battery Cell market, contact me at sudhir.nerurkar@quanzen.com.

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