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Electric Vehicle Batteries: The Leaders Are Ready!

Automotive industry is growing drastically from last few years. Every year we see launches of updated cars and other vehicles. Before, where customers used to drive a normal manual car, now everyone wants to have automatic and foresees an autonomous car. Now, the time has come where we all need to move forward and promote electric vehicle, which is going to help not only economy, but also improve atmosphere and reduce the pollution. Government is planning to convert all normal vehicles into electric vehicle by 2030. In order to promote the use of electric vehicle, government has recently announced $4.6 billion in incentives for battery makers.

Leaders According to a news website, think-tank has suggested $4.6 billion by 2030 for companies manufacturing advanced batteries, starting with cash and infrastructure incentives of Rs 900 crore ($122 million) in the next financial year which would then be ratcheted up annually. So, that was an example, but if you see, there are several updates for EV manufacturers which have come as a big perk. There are many companies in EV sector, which is doing their part to convert customer’s imagination into reality. While pointing out such developments and upcoming plans, Nitisha from BISinfotech talked with Sameer Mahapatra, VP and Country Sales Head-India & SAARC- Aeris Communications, Puneet Jain, Co-founder and COO- Grinntech, Swapnil Jain, Co-Founder and CTO- Ather Energy, Deepak MV, CEO & Co-founder-Etrio, Ratul Borah, Founder & CEO- Elecnovo and Srinivas Reddy, Managing Director, EVERVE Motors.

Indian Market

Although, electric vehicle battery has huge market but specifically if we talk about Indian market so, GMI Research forecasts says that the India Electric Vehicle Battery Market is estimated to touch USD 963 million by the end of 2026, growing at a CAGR of 25.3% during 2019-2026. Focusing on the same topic, Ratul shares that the Indian market has a huge potential for EV batteries. Reliable and cost effective batteries are important for success of electric vehicles in India. “The two and three-wheelers in this electric vehicle space is already been observed and the government’s ambition of 30% EV adoption by 2030 will be led by these two segments. Delhi is home to the largest electric commercial vehicle fleet, whereas Maharashtra has the highest number of electric passenger cars”, says Sameer.

Deepak agrees with Mahapatra, he says that India is at a critical juncture right now with rapid transformation in the infrastructure to support EVs. In turn the EV battery market is also at an important stage where change in EV policies will work as a catalyst in sales. It is estimated that if the policies are encouraged in nature then the worth of the EV battery market would be something around 300 billion dollar by 2030 in India.

As there are a lot of discussions about self-reliance India, we are expecting to get more and more products to get manufactured here only. Swapnil supporting this initiative and said, the government desires to boost lithium-ion batteries’ local manufacturing by battery chemistry associated with FAME incentives and increments on import services. The dependency on China and Taiwan is high for these cells. Whereas, Srinivas also agree with Swapnil, he says the industry is still evolving. He sees the steady growth in the segment that is only going to improve with time.

Grinntech Co- Founder Puneet while emphasizing the Indian market says that the EV vehicle market is very small at present in India. This year it is expected to be around 1.54 Lacs electric two wheelers majority of which runs on Lithium-ion, and 90,000 odd electric three wheelers (e-Rickshaw) majority of which runs on Lead-acid battery. But this market is expected to grow steadily between 6-8% per annum.

Importance of EV Batteries

Battery is a most important part of electric vehicles. An electric vehicle uses battery as a power source, in place of the internal combustion engine which used in the gasolinepowered vehicles. This was the basic definition for the readers but, if we talk about our speaker’s point of view, so they can define it in a quite broader manner. Sameer defines battery as the heart and nervous system of the EV.

The Indian automotive industry is warming up to the concept of e-mobility. According to industry reports, by 2030, electrification could lead to electric vehicles, including EV battery, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles holding a considerable share of the global automobile sector. Based on the NITI Aayog report, India could save 64% of energy demand for road transport and 37% of carbon emissions by 2030 by pursuing a shared, electric, and connected mobility future.

Whereas Ratul says that the battery is a critical component in Electric Vehicles. Battery capacity is important in regard to number of kilometres per charge. It contributes a significant cost to total cost of the vehicles.

An EV without a battery is nothing but a paperweight, emphasizes Srinivas. On the other hand, Swapnil says, the performance of the EV is closely related to the design of the battery pack that powers the vehicle’s engine and must be able to provide enough current for the motor over an extended time.

Puneet has shared vast knowledge about batteries and its importance. He says, battery operated electric vehicles have three major parts, battery, motor and controller. All these replaced the entire engine in the ICE vehicles. Electric vehicles have generally 24 moving parts and 11 wearing parts. Out of the three major components mentioned above, the battery is the most important component as it acts as storage of energy. Lithium ion is the most popular battery type used in cars with different chemistries over the time.

Government Decision On Pre-Fitted Batteries

The Indian government has recently allowed the registration of electric vehicles without pre-fitted batteries. The reason of this announcement was to make the upfront cost of the electrical 2 wheeler (2W) and 3 wheelers (3W) to be lower than ICE 2 and 3W. The battery could be provided separately by the OEM or the energy service provider. This announcement has opened the door for big business and opportunities.

While supporting this initiative, Ratul says that this step will reduce the total cost to own an electric vehicle and it would also encourage the buyer to buy an electric vehicle. More purchase of electric vehicles would create a very good momentum for the electric vehicle industry.

Srinivas feels it’s as an important decision, which will promote the EV adaptation and it will create a competitive ecosystem thereby bringing the cost of batteries further down. It will also promote leasing batteries instead of purchasing it along with the vehicle.

Puneet has the same view like Reddy, he says, this move is going to create opportunities as people would look at electric vehicle options, as the initial acquisition cost of e-vehicles without batteries will be lower so as the total cost of ownership (TCO). Swappable battery stations are going to boost the opportunities for new business and manufacturers of battery packs can surely benefit from this change in government notification.

Battery’s prices were a big challenge for consumers and this initiative has come as a big perk for everyone.

The present situation is 40% of the costs of EVs are of their batteries. This initiative will result in a rapid decrease in the costing of EVs in India and in turn the companies can focus on developing new cost efficient models, says Deepak.

Sameer while explaining the loopholes of this decision says the objective of the government to bring down the entry cost is not fulfilled through this move. Unbundling in fact has more challenges for the end customers as the initial warranty is now split for the consumer a) for the EV and b) for the battery. He has to chase two suppliers in the eventuality of a breakdown. Moreover, the cost to the end consumer remains the same, the only silver lining is that he has more choices for the battery in the open market. But given the lack of bulk buying benefits which the vehicle OEM can get, the cost there could also get compromised.

Future Scope in EV Batteries

As there are numerous developments we are seeing in technology, so EV has also made its mark in the industry. Lots of research companies have clarified that upcoming time will see advance battery features and availability of multifunctional batteries.

The future for EV batteries is very large and ever expanding. Under the Make In India programme, the manufacturing of e-vehicles and their associated components is expected to increase the share of manufacturing in India’s GDP to 25% by 2022. On the economic front, large-scale adoption of electric vehicles is projected to help save $60 billion on oil imports by 2030, says Sameer.

Srinivas is quite optimistic about the future of EV batteries as he says that there are many companies coming forward in assembling battery packs today and that is a good sign. We need such ventures to come forward to fuel the need of the market.

Indian transport system is quite proactive in making EV system more powerful, but there are some loopholes also which manufacturers and consumers facing every day.

Swapnil says that, India needs to support the investment in battery assembly and manufacturing and disincentives importing battery packs. Fiscal support for the R&D and commercial production of batteries and research into cell technology will help pave the way for an indigenous industry. He also mentioned, Batteries have a limited life for electric vehicles. In their second life, these still have multiple uses like energy storage. Ather is working with partners to run pilots on projects that would give a new lease of life to batteries.

Deepak doesn’t feel or see any challenges as such in the EV batteries. He only wants to see change the mindset of end consumers as the companies will now have to convince them to buy additional batteries apart from the cost of vehicles and this will take a lot of time.

Ratul says, there is a huge opportunity for batteries in electric vehicles. Making the batteries cost effective is a challenge. Providing longer life of the battery is also a challenge.

UPCOMING PROJECTS

Grinntech:- Grinntech is setting up a new manufacturing unit in Ambattur, Chennai spread over an area of 25,000 sq feet covering all departments like R&D, manufacturing lines, prototyping and testing, administration and back end processes

Upcoming projects:

  • Shikra > e-rickshaw battery would be ready by December 2020.
  • Robin-72 >72V e-2-wheeler battery should hit the market by January 2021.
  • Variants of Robin (Robin-60 and Robin-48) will come on stream during early 2021.
  • Two wheeler starter battery pintail is readily available.
  • Its commercial vehicle battery Falcon should hit the market by December 2020.

Ather Energy:- Ather Energy upcoming project is the launch and delivery of the Ather 450X across 11 markets – Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kozhikode, Coimbatore, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Ahmedabad and Kolkata.

Elecnovo: – Elecnovo is focusing on motor and controls for high power electric vehicles.

Everve Motors: – Couple of projects going on and will be announced in 2021.

Aeris Communications:- Aeris is working on various POC’s with battery OEM’s and EV OEM’s alike on developing a connected battery-vehicle program. Amongst its range of products, asset tracking for batteries is a popular offering where customers are keen to not only track the location of the battery but also monitor the state of charge and health of batteries. It helps safeguard against battery theft and alerts users against battery vandalism. Another large space the company is working on the battery swapping industry, the entire battery swap concept relies heavily on IoT backbone and we provide exactly that.

Etrio:- The company’s new three wheeler will be launched in October 2020 under the brand name Touro and shall have two variants Touro Mini and Max across both cargo and passenger segments. The cargo variant is undergoing pilots with leading e-commerce and logistics players and has already been booked for around 500 units. Stepping into the electric bicycle segment, Etrio will also introduce the Ashva e-cycle for cargo segment and iSwitch for personal segment in the coming months.

Future of EV

There are numerous steps which have taken by our Indian government to get all-electric vehicles on the roads by 2030. Although, the growth is on hold due to pandemic, but upcoming season will be a great boost for electric vehicles. This step will cut down the pollution as well as dependency on oil. If we check the data, there are only 3,400 electric cars were sold in the world’s second-most populous nation during the last business year, compared to sales of 1.7 million conventional passenger cars.

According to a study, done by Castrol, India would consider buying an electric vehicle by 2022, but most of them also believe that it won’t be until 2025 that the majority of new cars purchased are electric. Expectations are quite high for manufacturers and automotive industry, now the time has come where we need to wait watch.

In other countries, consumers are ready to pay any amount for EVs but in India it is hard to find.

As per the report, on an average consumer in India said they would consider purchasing an EV by 2022. This is two years earlier than the global average of 2024. However, two thirds (67 per cent) of consumers in India said they are adopting a “wait and see” approach. Over 40 per cent of fleet managers said they are waiting for competitors to make the switch before they do.

So, India will take time for moving towards electric vehicles. For promoting faster adoption of EVs, Delhi government has recently announced subsidies on buying electric vehicle, which will directly transfer to buyer’s account is going to start soon. As part of its ambitious EV policy, the government would provide subsidies of up to Rs 30,000 two-wheelers and up to Rs 1.5 lakh for cars.

Every state in India are taking some steps for EVs adoption. Recently, Tamil Nadu government has submitted an action plan to the National Green Tribunal (NGT), detailing the measures it plans to take up for a smooth transition to electricpowered vehicles. As per the plan which was submitted to the NGT by Principal Secretary and Transport Commissioner TS Jawahar, the government plans to give 100 per cent tax exemption and waive off permit fees for all electric vehicles (EV) attached to educational institutions till December 2022. Not only that, Tamil Nadu state is planning to attract Rs 50,000-crore investment under the favourable EV Policy – 2019 and in the next decade all autos, taxis and app-based transport aggregators in the six major cities will be converted to EVs. Besides, around 1,000 EV buses will be introduced every year and private operators will be encouraged to shift to electric-powered buses.

Government has also announced the installation of EV chargers at 69,000 gas/petrol stations across India. The considered cities are Delhi, Kolkata, Bhopal, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Vadodara.

So, these kinds of announcement and developments can become a game changer in India. As we all know that there are huge pollution problem and the main reason is vehicles. If India adopts electric vehicles and it get successful so we can see huge business opportunities also. Now, after electronic equipment, EV will also be charged at home.

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Nitisha Dubey

A diligent writer, who has been working from last five years in the same field. She has covered lots of event and expo for travel & judiciary, now covering technology. Book reading, exploring different destinations and varieties of cuisine are some hobbies. Love to watch biographies and historical movies.

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