The India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) announced that India and Bolivia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development and industrial use of lithium for the production of lithium-ion batteries. As part of the MoU, Bolivia will support supplies of lithium and lithium carbonate to India, as well as joint ventures between the two countries for lithium battery production plants in India.
A statement, issued during the recent Bolivia visit of India’s President Ram Nath Kovind, said: “Both the countries agreed to forge mutually beneficial partnership to facilitate Bolivian supplies of lithium carbonate to India and foster joint ventures for lithium battery/cell production plants in India.” The two countries have also agreed to facilitate mechanisms for the commercialization of lithium carbonate and potassium chloride produced in Bolivia by Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos Corporación (YLB – Corporación), the statement added.
With the MoU, the possibility of Indian companies setting up production capabilities in Bolivia goes up, as well as the import of lithium to India. Domestic production is also set to see a boost, from the automotive perspective. The arrival of hybrids and electric vehicles from as early as 2020 onwards, will force manufacturers to look at local production. Apart from Electric Vehicles, Renewable Integration, Grid Stability and behind the meter applications will boost Li-Ion battery adoption in India. India is expected to attract over $3billion in investments in the next 3-5 years for li-ion batteries and also witnessing additional investment for its ecosystem.
The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind who was in Bolivia in March this year met with his counterpart Mr. Evo Morales Ayma and during the one-to-one discussions with him, the President said that he was honored to pay the first-ever State Visit from India to Bolivia. He thanked President Morales for special welcome and affection.
Subsequently, the President led delegation-level talks between the two sides. Speaking on the occasion, he said that it is encouraging to see that India-Bolivia bilateral trade has picked up in the last two years and it stood at US$ 875 million in 2018. About 60% of Bolivian gold is exported to India. Bolivia is the 8th leading trading partner of India in the Latin America region. He emphasized that there is a need to diversify our trade basket to further strengthen the bilateral trade.
In the final engagement of the day (March 29, 2019), the President addressed the India-Bolivia Business Forum. The President said that India has a focused business approach to the Latin American region. We hold the India-Latin America and Caribbean Conclaves annually to deepen our business collaborations. These Conclaves have served us well. Several Indian global majors have made entry into Bolivia through them, bringing cutting-edge technology, products, and services to the people. He noted that there are immense opportunities for collaboration between India and Bolivia in various fields such as automobiles, healthcare, IT, renewable energy, Lithium, agriculture, space, developing modern infrastructure- from railways, highways, waterways, airways to energy pathways.
In his address, the President said, “We are committed to transformational economic growth in India. But we want to be respectful of Mother Earth, of nature, in the same manner, and with same devotion as you have done. We want our progress to be propelled by clean technology and sustainable practices. We want growth and environment protection to go hand in hand. We have established the International Solar Alliance to develop clean pathways and to tackle climate change. We welcome Bolivia in the Alliance and look forward to creating a greener planet with its support and ideas. As part of this commitment, we have a target to produce 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022, including 100 gigawatts of solar energy. We are developing our capacity and at the same time making available our services to fellow countries to tap renewable energy. We see opportunities for tie-ups with Bolivia in solar, wind and biofuel segments. Talking of environment and sustainability, we have an ambitious program to develop electric vehicles in India. And for this, we want to enter into long-term Lithium partnership with Bolivia. Indian enterprises are keen to mark their presence here as investment and technology partners – to develop lithium products and to master storage technology. We look forward to such promising ventures taking wings. India has gained vast expertise in developing modern infrastructure – from railways, highways, waterways, airways to energy pathways. This can also be a potential area for collaboration between our two countries.”
The Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Arjun Ram Meghwal said that the Electric Mobility Mission will be implemented in phases based on feedback from the auto industry. He also promised all support to the industry on policy matters to ensure the smooth and efficient transformation of the automotive industry from internal combustion(IC) to electric powertrain. He informed that 3 lakh electric vehicles have already been sold under the FAME India Scheme.
Meghwal inaugurated the 3rd International Electric Vehicle (EV) Conclave at the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) in Manesar, Gurugram, today. The Conclave was held to create a knowledge-sharing platform to ensure flow of information at all levels in the automotive sector.
The EV Conclave organized by ICAT in association with India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) has grown and transformed itself into a global event since its inception in 2017. Owing to the growth of electric mobility and in order to meet the demands of the automotive sector, the EV Conclave is organized with a focus on new trends and challenges in the field of electric mobility.
India is gearing up to create manufacturing, R&D and testing capabilities in the batteries space and the recently approved production linked incentive (PLI) scheme will act as a catalyst to meet both domestic and export needs (once self-reliance is achieved).
The Union Cabinet recently approved Rs 18,100 crore PLI scheme for Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) battery, providing new opportunities in the consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and renewable energy sectors. It aims to enable setting up 50 GWh annual production capacity ACC manufacturing facilities and lead to net savings of Rs 2 lakh crores-Rs 2.5 lakh crores on account of oil import bill reduction.
Dr Rahul Walawalkar, president, India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), told Telangana Today, “The ACC programme will enable Indian companies to take the first step to become part of the global advanced battery manufacturing ecosystem and attract global technology leaders and investors to invest in India. ACC batteries will be crucial for India’s energy security in the coming decade given its role in enabling renewable integration and e-mobility transition.”
The scheme is directly linked to production which will lead to creation of manufacturing capabilities in the country. The focus will be on stationary energy storage, mobility and consumer electronics sectors. Higher incentive is expected for higher performance batteries. The scheme allows flexibility for companies to upgrade the technology after five years and claim higher incentive to develop higher performance cells. This will not only meet the domestic value addition needs but also enable catering to global markets. The next 12-18 months are going to be crucial for Indian industry. The supply chain is set to improve significantly, Walawalkar emphasized.
India had been importing cells completely. In the last five years, the industry has started building capability for cell packs. In the last year, 5 GW hr (worth $600-700 million) of cells had been imported. This number could go to 100 GW hr in the next one decade. Majority of the cells are coming from China, Korea and Taiwan. Consumer electronics (cell phones and laptops), telecom towers, backup batteries, electric vehicles remain the major consuming segments of lithium-ion batteries. In the next 10 years, EVs will certainly dominate, particularly after 2025, he noted.
While the Department of Heavy industries is going to implement the PLI scheme, several other government departments and Niti Aayog will coordinate and monitor the implementation of the scheme in the country. Pan-India, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat are leading in the energy storage and EV space. Gradually States such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab are also trying to attract investments.
He said, “India is on the path to improve design, research and development. IESA has been making efforts to build these capabilities in the country by 2022. The focus will be on energy density, compactness and long usage life. The industry is expected to significantly invest, so that niche technologies can be developed.”
IESA is also closely working with the government to ensure safety standards are maintained in making batteries that are used across verticals, particularly when the focus is going to be on high density. Testing labs for evaluating performance standards are being set up. Niti Aayog is also providing guidance in this direction. He said, “IESA has already set up three testing labs in Pune and is looking to replicate the lab model across the country and work with testing agencies and testing equipment companies.”
“These are crucial for tapping export opportunities. IESA is also rolling out initiatives to incorporate renewable energy in battery making plants. We are also looking into recycling/waste treatment and setting up zero discharge facilities of lead acid batteries makers,” he added.
Electric vehicle manufacturer Ampere has announced its collaboration with eBikeGO and established an order from the e-mobility start-up for the supply of 2,000 electric scooters. The development trails Ampere seizing an order of 3,000 e-scooters from Bengaluru-based scooter rental start-up Bounce.
"Our partnership with eBikeGO is a significant step towards catering the increasing last-mile delivery demands from leading e-commerce platforms in the country," believed P Sanjeev, Chief Operating Officer, Ampere Electric.
He further that the firm has established a strong technology and service support to facilitate fast-growing EV subscription platforms such as eBikeGO.
"The initial order from them for 2,000 Ampere electric scooters is just the start, we can see this partnership going a long way ahead," he further.
Redefining the future of last-mile deliveries, there has been a substantial rise in demand for home deliveries, and this corporation impeccably suits last-mile logistics delivery support required by e-commerce players, held the company.
With this association, Ampere electric reinforces its presence in the fast-growing business-to-business (B2B) shared mobility service segment, it added.
"As an EV start-up, we endeavor to provide clean mobility solutions, Ampere is one of our trusted partners in our growth journey," believed Irfan Khan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, eBikeGO.
He further that with easy rental options, now consumers will have more choice to be on the go even if they do not own a vehicle.
Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), a dedicated Central Public Sector Undertaking for the solar energy sector under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued an expression of interest for identification and empanelment of agencies for the development of electric/ transformative mobility space in the country.
As indicated in the notice, an e-consultation meeting with the prospective participants is scheduled on November 6, 2020, SECI’s office through an online platform. The last date for submission of interest is December 7, 2020.
“SECI intends to empanel agencies for the identification and implementation of business opportunities in the electric/transformative mobility space in line with the national target of raising the share of electric vehicles (EVs) to 30 percent of a total number of vehicles by 2030 along with associated infrastructure,” SECO stated in the official EOI notice.
The objective of EOI is to onboard three to five agencies which preferably have proven track record prior experience in electric/transformative mobility and/ or in new/innovative technology development/scale-up.
The scope of the EOI mentions, business opportunities could be existing in demand creation, demand aggregation, setting up charging infrastructure, introduction of new and innovative products, market development, capacity building, etc. In addition to identifying the business opportunities, the empaneled agencies (EA) would be required to provide regular updates in this regard to SECI.
The business opportunities identified therein by EAs will be evaluated by SECI and if found suitable SECI would endeavor to facilitate further implementation of such opportunities on mutually beneficial terms and conditions for which a binding agreement may be executed between SECI and EA detailing the various terms and conditions.
The notice further clarified that unless extended, the empanelment shall be for a period of three years which shall be subject to regular reviews and modifications.
To be eligible to participate in the EOI, the application must have a positive net-worth as of March 31, 2020, or March 31, 2019. Additionally, they will also be evaluated by SECI based on criteria such as their experience in this space, the number of operational electric and transformative mobility projects, and proposed technology and business plans laid out by the company.
SECI has been the implementing agency for many of the Government of India schemes for the promotion of solar and wind energy projects where SECI serves as a demand aggregator and intermediary procurer of solar and wind power and supply of RE power on a back-to-back basis. One of the objectives of SECI is the promotion of new technology and the development of demonstration projects that reduces carbon emission and the latest EOI marks SECI’s foray in the electric and transformative mobility space.
Between 2005 and 2018, patenting activity in batteries and other electricity storage technologies grew at an average annual rate of 14 percent worldwide, four times faster than the average of all technology fields, according to the new joint study published by the European Patent Office (EPO) and International Energy Agency (IEA).
The International Energy Agency (IEA) and European Patent Office's (EPO) joint report, “Innovation in batteries and electricity storage” highlights the growth in patenting activity in batteries and electricity storage over the past decade.
“More than 7,000 international patent families (IPFs) related to electricity storage were published in 2018, up from 1,029 in 2000,” according to the report. "While a consistently upward trend has been observed since 2000, there has been a notable acceleration since 2005, with an annual growth rate of 14 percent until 2018, compared with just 3.5 percent on average for all technology areas across the economy." (Figure E1)
The report shows that batteries make for an estimated 90 percent of all patenting activity in the area of electricity storage, and the growth in innovation is primarily driven by advances in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in consumer electronics and electric cars. The uptake of electric mobility in particular has been recognized as the main driver for the development of new lithium-ion chemistries aimed at improving power output, durability, charge/discharge speed, and recyclability.
It further highlights that technological development is also being fueled by the need to integrate larger quantities of renewable energy (wind and solar power) into the electric grid.
The study revealed that of the top 10 global application behind IPFs related to batteries, nine are based in Asia. These include seven Japanese companies, led by Panasonic and Toyota, and two Korean companies, Samsung and LG Electronics. Bosch, a German company, is the only non-Asian applicant to feature in the ranking.
The report shows that Japan and Korea have established strong leadership in battery technology globally and the technological progress combined with mass production in an increasingly mature industry has led to a significant drop in battery prices in recent years. Prices have declined by nearly 90 percent since 2010 in the case of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, and by around two-thirds over the same period for stationary applications, including electricity grid management.
The report highlights Li-ion currently leads the battery technology patenting, accounting for 38 percent of all battery-related IPFs in 2010-2018.
“NMC cathode chemistry has seen the most innovative breakthroughs related to Li-ion batteries since the launch of mass-market electric vehicles, but potentially disruptive competitors are emerging outside the big companies and with more regional variation,” the study underscored.
According to the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario, for the world to meet climate and sustainable energy goals, close to 10 000 gigawatt-hours of batteries and other forms of energy storage will be required worldwide by 2040 – 50 times the size of the current market.
The study is the first joint report by the two organizations, as a part of the MoU signed between IEA and EPO for bilateral cooperation aimed at promoting innovation in sustainable energy technologies. As per the MoU, the two entities will publish a series of joint studies over the next three years to inform policymakers and the public about technology trends in areas that are critical for the energy transition and climate change mitigation.
India plans to offer $4.6 billion in incentives to companies setting up advanced battery manufacturing facilities as it seeks to promote the use of electric vehicles and cut down its dependence on oil, according to a government proposal seen by Reuters.
A proposal drafted by NITI Aayog, a federal think tank chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said India could slash its oil import bills by as much as $40 billion by 2030 if electric vehicles were widely adopted.
The proposal is likely to be reviewed by Modi's cabinet in the coming weeks, said a senior government official, who was not authorized to comment on the matter and declined to be identified. NITI Aayog and the Indian government did not respond to requests for comment.
The think tank recommended incentives of $4.6 billion by 2030 for companies manufacturing advanced batteries, starting with cash and infrastructure incentives of 9 billion rupees ($122 million) in the next financial year which would then be ratcheted up annually.
"Currently, the battery energy storage industry is at a very nascent stage in India with investors being a little apprehensive to invest in a sunrise industry," the proposal said.
India plans to retain its import tax rate of 5% for certain types of batteries, including batteries for electric vehicles, until 2022, but will increase it to 15% thereafter to promote local manufacturing, the document said.
Though keen to reduce its oil dependence and cut down on pollution, India's efforts to promote electric vehicles have been stymied by a lack of investment in manufacturing and infrastructure such as charging stations. Just 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.
The policy could benefit battery makers such as South Korea's LG Chem and Japan's Panasonic Corp as well as automakers which have started building EVs in India such as Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra.
While China accounts for 80% of the world's lithium-ion cell production, India has introduced stricter investment rules for Chinese companies. It has also slowed down the approval process for some proposals after a deadly border clash between the two countries in June.
The draft proposal said annual domestic demand for battery storage and market size - currently less than 50 gigawatt hours and worth just over to $2 billion - could grow to 230 gigawatt hours and more than $14 billion in ten years’ time.
It did not offer an estimate of how many electric cars it expected to be on the road by 2030.
The proposal estimates it would cost firms some $6 billion over five years to set up manufacturing facilities with the support of government subsidies.
NITI Aayog has been the driver of several key India government policies including the planned privatisations of a swathe of state-owned companies.
Bengaluru-based e-mobility technology company, Cell Propulsion which designs and manufactures EV powertrain and EV parts has raised pre-Series A funding from three investors growX, Micelio, and Endiya Partners.
The latest Pre-Series A round follows the seed round held last year led by Endiya Partners in which Cell Propulsion received funding from the Centre for Innovation, Incubation, and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) part of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Sangam Ventures, and growX Ventures.
“This investment sets us up for building a strong foundation for the company with a compelling story and vision,” said Nakul Kukar, Cofounder and CEO of Cell Propulsion speaking to ETN magazine.
“We will complete homologation and all required certifications for the commercial launch of our LFP battery packs, electric light commercial vehicles, and e-bus powertrains. Besides these funds will also enable us to execute pilots and demos with potential customers,” Kukar added.
Micelio, India’s first seed fund focused solely on clean mobility is the new investor in this round while growX, the Delhi-based early-stage investment firm and Endiya Partners are the existing investors that participated in the recent round.
Investment by Micelio, which is billed as a dedicated fund for EV technology start-ups with its vision to promote e-mobility in India is expected to bring greater strategic advantages to Cell Propulsion.
“They can help us with business development and increasing our presence in south India,” added Kukar commenting on how the new investment will help scale the existing business.
Cell Propulsion mainly develops battery packs, battery management systems (BMS), chargers, motor drives, motors, VCU, telematics module, and associated operating software stack in-house catering to e-4Ws, e-buses, and e-trucks (vehicles with a power rating of greater than 15kW and operating voltages of more than 96V) segment.
The latest round of investment will be instrumental for the startup's plan to diversify into electrification of all commercial vehicle segments starting from LCVs and all the way up to HCVs.
EV Motors India, a turnkey electric vehicle (EV) solutions provider, and Hero Electric have arrived into a partnership to upkeep adoption of EVs for last-mile delivery operations.
Under the corporation, EV Motors will offer advanced battery solutions and charging infrastructure unified with Hero Electric vehicles, the two companies said in a mutual statement.
Hero Electric's e-bikes will be integrated with hi-tech batteries from EV Motors India and these can be supercharged in less than 30 minutes using the rapid charging station network 'PlugNgo' being implemented by the latter.
"The rapid charging stations will be installed at strategic locations, comprising the Hero Electric franchises and will be accessible for public charging," the declaration said.
At the outset, a pilot of about 10,000 e-bikes will run in a few cities in the next 12 months before the countrywide launch.
These solutions are particularly designed to meet the necessities and expectations of last-mile delivery operators, comprising e-commerce, online food, fleet operators, and courier delivery businesses, it further.
Hero Electric CEO Sohinder Gill believed, "This unique solution of '30 minutes charging' coupled with the easier ownership models may be a game-changer for the EV industry as it will solve three important issues namely -- range anxiety, battery replacement costs, and the high acquisition price."
He further said, "As a market leader we'll keep offering a variety of EV adoption options to customers be it battery rapid charging or home charging with lightweight portable batteries.
“Our upgraded bikes are now ready with the hi-tech batteries from EV Motors to deliver the best value for money to the discerning customer."
The quick charge feature makes regular vehicle operation of 130-140 km stress-free, thus bringing down maintenance and running costs, while certainly impacting business unit economics, as per the declaration.
EV Motors India Managing Director Vinit Bansal believed the partnership with Hero Electric is another step forward towards the company's pledge to boost e-mobility and provide a holistic EV infrastructure.
"We have observed a huge demand for electric two-wheelers and related services in last-mile delivery operation, keeping in mind the demand of long-life batteries that can not only be charged very swiftly but also can endure the rigidities of high temperatures and Indian driving conditions.
“Hence, this strategic partnership will help generate the necessary capability and technology for building the future of the mobility market in India," Bansal further.
Image Credit: Hero Electric