The power utilities have taken up special measures to reduce interruptions in power supply and provide quality power to consumers. As a result, the interruptions reduced to 1.77 lakh in 2020-21 from three lakh in 2019-20. Similarly, the average cost of service will be reduced to Rs 7.18 per unit in 2020-21 against Rs 7.23 in 2019-20, Srikant said.
Joint managing director, AP Transco, K. Venkateswara Rao; director, grid and transmission, K. Praveen Kumar; director, finance, K. Muthupandian, Genco director (thermal) G. Chandrasekhar Raju; director, finance, B. Venkatesulu Reddy and other officials and employees of power utilities were present during the celebrations.
In more good news for OEMs and prospective EV customers, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) has notified that EVs will ‘be exempted from paying a fee for the issue or renewal of registration certificates and assignment of new registration mark.’
The ministry had announced the draft notification in May 2021 to further amend the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 proposing to exempt Battery Operated Vehicles (BOV) from paying fees for issue or renewal of Registration Certificate (RC) and assignment of new registrations. The idea is to encourage e-mobility and faster adoption of electric vehicles in the country.
Though many states have waived off registration fees for EVs in their individual policies, the current notification will benefit EV customers across the country and bring uniformity.
EV sales in India
Cumulative EV sales for FY2021 came in at 238,120 units, down 19.41 percent compared to FY2020 (FY2020 sales: 295,497). This was due to this fiscal being impacted by a series of lockdowns across the country to control the spread of COVID-19. Electric two and three-wheeler sales dropped to 143,837 units (-5.37%) and 88,378 units (-59%) respectively on a year-on-year basis. The bulk of the electric two-wheeler demand came from low-speed models (103,000 units) in FY2021 while 40,836 high-speed models were bought in the same period.
An analysis by Autocar Professional of the 11 leading electric two-wheeler makers in India revealed that in the first six months of 2021, a total of 29,288 units were sold, thus surpassing total sales of 2020 (25,598 units). With MoRTH further providing impetus in the form of waiver for registration fees, the EV industry is expected to grow further.
How investment focus is shifting to mega clusters for integrated battery manufacture to serve the growing renewable and EV sector
India’s battery sector is in for a major transformation. The demand surge coming for energy storage in the renewable energy (RE) sector and advanced batteries in the electric mobility segment is necessitating the setting up of Gigafactories to maximise production.
Simply put, a Gigafactory is a gigantic battery-production facility that brings multiple companies and component makers together to scale up for cheaper manufacturing. The word was first coined by Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk in 2013.
The country, with its focus on RE, is fast realising the need to set up mega battery manufacturing clusters. Union Power Minister RK Singh’s recent hints that the Centre is planning to float tenders for 4000 MWh (4 GWh) battery storage and ancillary power generation is indicative of the shape of things to come. In fact, with India at the cusp of a technology transition, the focus of investments in Gigafactories is a given.
Says Dr Rahul Walawalkar, President, India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA): “Our engagement with the development of the National Energy Storage Mission in 2019, and with NITI Aayog for integration of National Energy Storage Mission with National Mission on Transformative Mobility & Battery Storage, has resulted in creation of the Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery Manufacturing production linked incentive (PLI) of ₹18,100 crore with a target of 50 GWh ACC manufacturing by 2027-28. In addition, there are incentives for five GWh niche ACC battery technologies.”
According to him, IESA has been working on removing barriers for all forms of energy storage technologies. In 2016, IESA launched the Beyond Batteries initiative to support other forms of energy storage including gravity-based storage, thermal storage, and green hydrogen technologies.
Over the last three years, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) have enabled regulations to develop hybrid renewable energy and storage projects. The Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd. (SECI), on its part, has already conducted two large bids that are anticipated to result in GWh scale deployment of storage technologies in the next 12 to 18 months. Many more such projects are expected to be announced in the next 12 months.
The new PLI scheme for ACC Batteries allows all forms of electrochemical technologies that meet the criteria. The programme starts with technologies that have at least 50 watt-hours per kg as energy density (measure of energy a battery contains in proportion to its weight) and goes up to technologies that have 350 watt-hours per kg or more.
Apart from mandatory investment, each selected ACC battery manufacturer would have to commit to setting-up a manufacturing facility of minimum 5 GWh capacity and a minimum of 60 per cent domestic value addition at the project level within five years.
ACC battery cells are going to be the engine for industries for the next 15 years. These technologies are useful for renewable integration, power backup, diesel minimisation, electric vehicles — not just on roads but for drones, electric planes, marine applications — and consumer electronics devices such as cell phones.
With the approval of the PLI scheme many majors are eyeing the Indian market. Recently, Mukesh Ambani indicated that Reliance Industries would be investing about ₹75,000 crore in new energy, including setting up four Gigafactories in Gujarat. Amara Raja and Nexcharge too are considering setting up Gigafactories.
Some others planning cell manufacturing plants in India include Exicom Tele-Systems, Samsung SDI, Panasonic Corporation, Tata Chemicals, and TDSG.
In March, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Phinergy of Israel, specialising in hybrid lithium-ion and aluminium-air/zinc-air battery systems, have tied up to form IOC Phinergy. And EV conglomerates like Ola Electric, Ather, Ampere Electric and Mahindra have also announced their plans to set up Electric Vehicle manufacturing units.
“At present, the lithium-ion battery price for renewable scale projects is between $350 and $400/kWh. However, with the investment progress made by global companies for Giga scale battery cell manufacturing, we expect prices to fall significantly in the next 2-4 years. Under the PLI Scheme for ACC Battery Manufacturing, indigenous manufacturing of first cells production is likely within two to three years. Some Indian manufacturers are aiming to achieve lithium-ion battery cell level prices of $100/kWh,” says Walawalkar.
Ankur Agarwal, Associate Director, India Ratings and Research puts it in perspective. “As per the energy storage system roadmap formulated by Niti Aayog, India will require about 529 GWh of battery storage system between 2022-27. Of this, nearly 40 per cent will be required by electrical vehicles and the rest for grid support, telecom towers, data centres, and other applications. This storage requirement is expected to go up manifold to 1710 GWh between 2027 and 2032 at a CAGR of 26-27 per cent per annum,” he says.
With such storage requirement, Gigafactories are likely to be the buzzword for decades to come, and of course the focus of much investment.
Power and Renewable Energy Minister, R K Singh has announced that the Indian government will float 4000 MWh battery storage tenders.
Speaking at the CII AatmaNirbhar Bharat Conference on Self Reliance in Renewable Energy Manufacturing on Thursday, Singh explained the government will come out with 4000 MWh of battery storage as ancillary, such that, each of the four regional load dispatch centres (RLDC) will have 1000MWh of storage to balance the grid in case of any sharp fluctuation because of renewables.
"Part of it will work as ancillary to the grid controller and part will be made available to the developers for use on a commercial basis," Singh added.
Draft Ancillary Services Regulations, 2021
The latest announcement has been hailed as a bold and encouraging move for the industry by energy storage backers.
The announcement also comes on the heels of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) release of draft Ancillary Services Regulations, 2021, in May. The Ancillary Services Regulations seeks to provide a regulatory mechanism for ancillary services in the interest of reliability, safety, and security of the grid.
Singh emphasized that while the government intends to add more storage, they want that capacity to be based on manufacturing in India.
PLI in battery storage to boost domestic manufacturing
"We already have PLI [Production Linked Incentive] scheme. We want that capacity to be based on manufacturing in India. We do not want to export jobs to China or any other country," he said
Singh shared that post the announcement of the PLI scheme, the government has received expressions of interest for large quantities of manufacturing of modules, cells, and polysilicon.
"In polysilicon, we already have Coal India in partnership with one firm. Similarly, we have Reliance. Other companies are also going to set up manufacturing," he added.
Experts note, the latest announcement will go a long way in allaying some of the demand creation-related concerns of the industry for PLI battery storage, and at the same time, it will also boost the confidence of the investors looking to invest in battery storage manufacturing in India.
MG Motor India Ltd, which entered the Indian market recently, has announced the setting up of a 50-kilowatt fast charger for electric vehicles (EVs) in Pune.
The charger was set up as part of the company’s collaboration with Fortum Charge and Drive India to set up E charging stations across the country. The fast charger can be used with an electric vehicle compatible with CCS2 fast-charging standards.
The company also said that the MG ZS electric vehicle can be charged to 80% capacity over a period of 50 minutes at the Fortum superfast charging stations. Other charging options with the ZS EV include a free-of-cost AC fast-charger (installed at the customer’s home/office), a plug-and-charge cable onboard, and charge-on-the-go with RSA (roadside assistance). Additionally, it has extended the charging network in select satellite cities.
“Our collaboration with Fortum reiterates our commitment towards enabling the infrastructure for environment-friendly mobility solutions in the country. The ZS electric vehicle's availability in more cities in a phased manner is a step closer to achieving sustainability goals. After launching the ZS EV in 6 more cities in 2021, the MG ZS electric vehicle is now available across 37 Indian cities," said Gaurav Gupta, chief commercial officer, MG Motor India.
MG Motor India and Fortum, which is one of the leading EV charging service providers in the global market, had announced their partnership in 2019. Since then, the carmaker and Fortum have built a network of 11 DC chargers across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Ahmedabad, the company said in a statement.
“We are happy to extend our partnership with one of the leading automotive companies to further bolster the super-fast charging network in the country. With this charger on Fortum Charge and Drive network, an EV user can travel between Mumbai and Pune without any range anxiety as both the cities have Fortum chargers," Awadhesh Kumar Jha, vice president, Fortum Charge and Drive India.
Installation of fast chargers is necessary for increased adoption of electric vehicles since they can curb the range anxiety among prospective customers.
PLUSS Advanced Technologies (PLUSS) in collaboration with Apollo LogiSolutions (part of the Apollo International Group) has set up a 20,000 sq. ft. packaging box facility in Hyderabad that will be used in storing temperature-sensitive vaccines.
These packaging boxes will ensure temperature control for the Sputnik V vaccine.
"With the installation of this facility, the burden of creating a cold chain logistics infrastructure for pharmaceutical companies can be reduced. It also allows optimal use of resources between companies. The boxes come pre-fitted with temperature sensors and monitoring of temperature is seamless," said Samit Jain, CEO, PLUSS in a statement.
The temperature-sensitive vaccine storage boxes, called Celsure, are customizable and maintain the desired temperature without requiring electricity for more than four days. This is achieved due to 'phase change materials' technology used in the packaging boxes. These boxes can be used for temperature-sensitive vaccines, pharmaceuticals, and biologics.
Celsure can maintain temperatures from -70°C to +30°C, in 35 different ranges.
COVID-19 vaccines require temperatures in the range of 15°C to 25°C, -15°C to -25°C, and 2°C to 8°C.
"These applications go to show the versatility of use cases of energy storage," PLUSS stated.
"It serves as a sustainable transport ecosystem with passive cold-chain shippers capable of transportation of vaccines at -20°C coupled with electric recharge stations for rapid regeneration of thermal batteries," the company added.
The Delhi-based company has partnered with pharmaceutical companies across India for transporting their products using Celsure boxes.
PLUSS, has further plans to export the Celsure boxes and its 'phase change materials' to pharma packaging suppliers in Europe and the US.
The government is planning to set up an establishment to fund businesses with a focus on electric vehicles as well as enable new financial instruments for lending to the public transportation and commercial vehicle segment, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said.
Addressing the India Global Forum 2021, Gadkari also said the government is planning to bring incentives for construction equipment vehicles to encourage them to become electric ones.
According to the latest report, India's electric vehicle financing industry is anticipated to be worth Rs 3.7 lakh crore in 2030, which would be about 80 percent of the present retail vehicle finance industry.
The report titled 'Mobilising Electric Vehicle Financing in India', prepared by Niti Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) had also said that end-users at present face several challenges such as high-interest rates, high insurance rates, and low loan-to-value ratios.
"The government is planning to set up a financial institution to fund business with a focus on electric vehicles and facilitate new financial instruments for lending to the public transportation and commercial vehicle segment," he said.
The minister noted that the government is giving uppermost priority to electric vehicles adoption in India.
"India's electric vehicles sector has been growing rapidly. The government is supporting domestic electric vehicle manufacturers," he said.
Further, Gadkari pointed out that battery cost is 50 percent of an electric vehicle and India's research institutions are working on alternative battery technology for such vehicles.
"We have huge domestic demand for electric vehicles. Many startups have started manufacturing electric vehicles," he said.
The minister noted that due to the import of petroleum products, India is facing problems of pollution.
"We will use solar energy for charging batteries of electric vehicles," Gadkari said, adding that at present, 69,000 petrol stations have electric vehicle charging facilities.