Thanks to Central Electrochemical Research Institute(CECRI) and Centre for Automotive Energy Materials (CAEM) that now India can produce Li-ion batteries instead of depending on imports. This is going to boost the Indian Electric Vehicle industry further apart from the FAME India Scheme introduced by govt of India.
Globally, there is an urgent need for the development of alternative energy sources, especially for the automotive sector, due to the alarming depletion of the fossil energy reserves. Lithium-ion battery has emerged as a promising candidate to alleviate this problem due to its attractive features viz high energy density (both volumetric and gravimetric), high current drain, high cycle life, low self-discharge, absence of memory effect, good low temperature performance.
Centre for Automotive Energy Materials (CAEM) has been recently set up at Indian Institute of Technology (M) Research Park, Chennai with a focus to start major R&D programmes on Materials and Components Technology for Electric Vehicle (EV) / Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) applications. The Centre is developing Li-ion battery for EVs/ HEVs by setting up Research facility for Lithium-ion cells and battery packs at pilot plant scale. Lithium-ion battery technology is projected to be the leapfrog technology for automotive sectors to provide stationary storage solutions to enable the effective use of renewable energy sources. Giant automobile manufacturers like Ashok Leyland are already engaged in the Manufacture of EV based on Lithium-ion batteries (LIB’s) and CAEM has initiated the interactions to work closely with them to demonstrate ARCI’s in-house Li-battery technology for EVs.
For the Lithium-ion batteries, India’s market share is significantly high in the area of consumer electronics. It is expected to increase in the Electric Vehicle sector also. However, in India, till date, there are no manufacturers of Lithium-ion cells; It is hence comprehensible that there are no manufacturers of most of the raw materials for the batteries also. Keeping in view the rapid growth of the Automotive Industries and the need for the development of the material technology for sustainable transportation, CAEM has taken up a major project to develop Li-ion battery materials for EV/HEV by setting up the manufacturing of Lithium-ion cells and battery packs at pilot plant scale for automotive application. The project is planned to be executed in a twofold approach.
The following are the expected outcomes of the project:
- Setting up a pilot scale facility for the fabrication of the Lithium-ion cell, and development of the technology for E-bus battery of capacity 330V, 200 Ah and batteries for E-cars
- The Pilot plant facility will also cater to other capacity batteries required for E-scooter and E-car. This will meet the needs of the automobile industry in the country for reducing Green House Gas Emission and foreign exchange for importing the oil which is the Ultimate Goal of the project.
- Electrode materials and other components for Li-ion battery (LIB) will be developed indigenously. This offers scope for the in-house development of tailor-made LIB for a wide variety of Niche applications.
In parallel The Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi in Tamilnadu, has set up the first indigenous Li-ion fabrication facility that has applications in electric vehicles, defence, solar powered devices, railways and other high end usages.
“It’s the first time that we will have our own technology and potential to produce Li-ion batteries domestically. This would help in cutting costs as well as our dependence on the foreign market,” professor Vijayamohan K. Pillai, CECRI Director, told IANS. CECRI is part of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
“In two months we will attain capacity to produce at least 100 batteries in a day at our lab,” he added.
India uses around 1 billion Li-ion.For now, 100 percent of Li-ion batteries or cells used are imported.China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and some Western countries are the major manufacturers of lithium ion batteries.According to experts, mass production of indigenous Li-ion batteries would reduce the cost manifold as compared to the imported batteries.”Imported batteries are very expensive. The domestic programme can bring the price down”.
CECRI has also invited investors for mass production. “Some investors have already shown interest. A Canada-based NRI is willing to install a plant in India. On June 3, we have (former DRDO chief) V.K. Saraswat visiting our fabrication facility. His visit gives hope for good investments,” Pillai said.