“With Lithium-ion batteries, other accessories will be our focus”
With much happening under the Government’s vision for EVs, battery companies are gearing up for launching their new products and services. IPF delves into how Lithium-ion battery industry will thrive in the coming years with Sanket D More, Founding Partner, Emerging Power Systems and Producers Pvt Ltd.(EPSPPL), Gazhiabad.
What benefit manufacturers like you will get with the recent push from the Govt. of India’s initiative, making custom duty on lithium-ion cells to a NIL?
This is a progressive policymaking and will help new entrants in the Lithium-ion batteries market to thrive, by the time the duties are hiked. Government has proposed a phased-hike after 2020 which is again an encouraging factor for the newly entered battery manufacturers. Lithium ion batteries have potential but more R&D over the technology will make it more powerful. Such policy implementations by government do promise a positive future for EV segment in India. Importing Lithium-ion batteries was a challenging task due to high duty.
Experts have concerns over the waste generated from Li-ion batteries. What are your views over the same?
Yes, to some extent there are challenges for disposal of the waste. Recycling for Lithium-ion Batteries is too complex and even costly. Big companies or aggregators can still attempt to do so. The Lithium-ion Batteries are much safe and environment-friendly as they have a long life, and the amount of the new units produced will go down slowly.
According to TechSci Research, Indian Lithium-ion Battery market is forecasted to grow at a rate of 35% till 2020. The volume of the waste generated will pose a problem for sure but if we look at the positives it is still a win-win. Lithium-ion Batteries require less maintenance and has a longer life compared to other options. Lithium-ion batteries will also build a new model of ‘rental’` service—on every discharge, old battery will be replaced with a new battery, on yearly or a three-yearly subscription or warranty.
With EVs introduction, will regular batteries still continue to have its market?
Yes. High-end industrial applications where intensive power supply is needed will continue to buy batteries with Lead or other formulations, which will merely shift their applications to industrial sectors who require power.
How will you be approaching your target industries of lithium batteries in India?
We have also tied up with a European company for our Lithium cells. While here in India we are working with a Bangalore-based company for developing Lithium batteries. We are eyeing 2021 as a timeline for launch. Additionally, we will also provide services to Lithium battery-based vehicles that will include maintenance, installations, troubleshooting and others. As we are also into mobile Smartphone franchises, we have a pool of R&D team in-house which can be leveraged for developing our products. Further we are planning to build tie-ups in the markets like Bangladesh and Nepal.
What are the key challenges before manufacturers like you in India?
Currently, one of the major challenges in India is skilled labour, to avoid being in such circumstances our factory and storage plant is 70 per cent automated. As of nowm we need to develop batteries which are robust and up to the mark. The real challenge lies ahead of 2021, when all the producers will have their batteries in the market. This is where we as a SME need to really workout. We are in the talks with some automotive companies but are yet to close over any such assignments. For us sourcing components is an another challenge.
Tell us about your future plans?
Apart from batteries, we are also working ahead to develop a charging infrastructure. The first trial has been conducted in Punjab. With development of Electric vehicles, we are also exploring avenues of service stations where we could engage with more companies to build our own exclusive solutions for them as well as the overall development of the industry. Wholesome solution is a key differentiator. Accessory market will also be among our focus. We will be collaborating with IIT Kharagpur from December, this year, for our R&D initiatives and will impart knowledge.