India Auto

India’s first lithium ion battery plant to produce 6 million cells/yr

21, May. 2019

Toshiba-Denso-Suzuki joint venture executives in New Delhi last week with replicas of a lithium ion battery module and lithium ion cell.

By Atul Ranjan

NEW DELHI, NNA - India’s first lithium ion battery manufacturing plant, a joint venture of Toshiba Corp., Denso Corp. and Suzuki Motor Corp. will have initial capacity to produce six million battery cells annually next year, according to a Japanese official.

The plant in the western Indian state of Gujarat is being built with initial investment of $180 million. It will meet demand from Suzuki Motor’s local subsidiaries Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. and Suzuki Motor Gujarat Pvt. Ltd., boosting hybrid and electric vehicle production.

“We can produce six million cells annually in the first line of production,” Haruchika Ishii, director of the joint venture TDS Lithium-ion Battery Gujarat, told NNA on the sidelines of an auto industry conference last week.

Construction will begin in August and the plant is scheduled to start operating in 2020, he said. It will produce lithium ion battery cells and modules for hybrid cars.

The three Japanese firms announced their plan to establish the venture in 2017.

Indian manufacturers currently source lithium ion batteries from China, Japan and South Korea.

Suzuki Motor’s local subsidiary Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., India’s largest passenger vehicle maker, said last week that it was looking “towards maximum localization” of its electric and hybrid vehicles.

The company is urging the Indian government to promote hybrid vehicles along with EVs to create volumes that help drive localization in the country.

“Volumes are more important than subsidies,” Kenichi Ayukawa, managing director and chief executive officer of Maruti Suzuki India, said at the conference.

Suzuki Motor and Toyota Motor Corp. are collaborating on production and popularization of electric vehicles globally.

India has launched its latest version of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles scheme known as FAME II, allocating 100 billion rupees ($1.4 billion) in subsidies over three years.

Under the scheme, which took effect on April 1, upfront incentives are offered to buyers in the form of reduced prices for e-vehicles.

There is also a 50-percent localization requirement in some categories of manufacturing of electric vehicles to qualify for the FAME II scheme, aimed at reducing imports of EV components.

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