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Exclusive Interview Series at 20ABC #3: Mr. Debi Prasad Dash from IESA – Indian battery market in transfiguration

During the 20th ABC, we had a pleasure to be given an opportunity to interview Mr. Debi Prasad Dash, Executive Director from India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) about the battery market in India. According to him, a rapid growth of E-rickshaws has been witnessed in India for the past 2 years. 

 

 

Currently in India, out of all batteries utilised for E-rickshaws, lead batteries account for 80% and LIBs for 20%. 

Whilst E-rickshaws may disappear in the future in India due to government regulations on grounds of their danger, Indian battery manufacturers have been sharing the same view that it would take about 20 years before E-rickshaws are completely eliminated from the market, as making changes or transitions usually takes a while in India.

Among LIBs, whilst the NMC type is mainly chosen for E-bikes and buses, LFP is the main one for E-rickshaws and general four-wheeled vehicles.

 

The market for E-rickshaws is still growing, in anticipation that regulations will not be implemented anytime soon in the country.

It was also explained by Mr. Dash that battery manufacturers for E-rickshaws were making large profits, as lead batteries for E-rickshaws are being replaced every six months or year and therefore they could achieve a so-called “rolling business” by the demand of frequent battery replacement.

 

The reasons why lead batteries are preferred, and the LIBs market is not growing well in the country can be seen in its not-well-developed infrastructure and the high cost of LIB-equipped vehicles. However, there is no doubt that the government would like to promote LIBs further. 

 

According to Mr. Dash, India has set two targets: a rather ambitious goal for EVs to account for 30% of the entire automobile market by 2030, and a renewable energy (RE) target of 500 GWh. 

IESA currently estimates a total energy storage demand of 600 GWh, expecting more penetration of superior LIBs for EVs, with certain performance and characteristics such as high energy and power density, superior cycle life and safety.

 

In the ESS market, the government promotes vanadium redox flow batteries in their leading projects.

 

 

Batteries for blackout problems in India

 

There has been some improvement in the power supply problems in India, with a current average supply duration of 20 hours per day. However, people are still experiencing some blackouts. 

Whilst in some areas such as Delhi city and Gujarat state, the power is provided within the whole areas with an average rate of 22 hours per day, there is a 2-hour-time difference between the urban and rural areas and the rural areas have longer power outage hours in general. Some struggling areas are experiencing more than 6 hours of power outages per day. Batteries are regarded as a key component for power supply stabilisation in those areas and should be promoted for this purpose.

 

Mr. Dash told us that there was a possibility that the number of E-rickshaws companies, which currently stand at around 200, might diminish to about 15 in the distant future. If it happens, a negative news for the lead demand. 

 

 

LIB production in India

 

So far, there is no LIB production plant in India and all LIBs are being imported. However, Ola Electric Group, which provides an electric scooter allocation service in India, seems to have a plan to build and launch the plant in December this year. 

 

 

Furthermore, a consortium of some Japanese companies such as Panasonic, Denso and Toshiba, also plans to start LIB production in India next year. 

 

Nevertheless, Mr. Dash reveals his perspective that the lead demand in India will not drop much and rather keep the current level. 

 

The number of new car sales in India is about 4 million. Whilst this number is still smaller than 1% of the total population, the potential for the future is huge. Although the growth speed is much slower than in China, gentle yet consistent growth is expected. And, in the meantime, the main vehicles would still be E-bikes and E-rickshaws, with an expectation to keep growing their demand.

 

 

* Original Japanese version of this article: 20ABC インタビューその3 インドIESA Debi氏 変貌するインド電池市場

 

 

(IRUNIVERSE Tanamachi, translated by A.C.)

 

 

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