Betting big on the electric vehicle’s future in the country, leading battery maker, Exide Batteries, is planning to set up a lithium ion battery plant by next year. The company has tied up with Chinese major Chaowei Group for its technology and will start the production of the batteries by 2019.

“It’s a technology partnership for design and manufacture of Lithium Ion batteries with Zhejiang Chaowei Chuangyan Shiye Co Ltd Group. The deal was signed at the beginning of this year and will get over by 2025,” says a senior official in the company who requested anonymity.

The company will have a separate plant for the manufacture of lithium ion batteries. It should be noted that the company has been in talks with the Kolkata Port Trust for 25 acres of land. The company has also asked Haldia Development Authority for an additional 25 acres of land. It is not clear if Exide is planning to set up manufacturing plants in these lands or if it would be used for other purposes.

In terms of investments, officials said that over Rs 700 crore were required to build the ecosystem for the production of lithium ion batteries. “ Such a huge investments has to be justified by ample demand in the market,” the official noted.

Currently, the company has been manufacturing batteries for electric rickshaws. “We have launched a range of batteries for E-rickshaw applications. Batteries are being offered both in tubular as well as in flat plate design to ensure maximum performance under the challenging road conditions. We aim to offer e-mobility solutions for a wide range of applications, such as e-vans and e-buses, among others,” the company had said in its annual report for FY17.

However, this does not mean that the traditional lead-acid batteries will run out of business. According to the official, lead acid batteries will remain in the market for the next two decades and the company has been making investments in the same.

Earlier this year, the company invested Rs 700 crore in developing its state-of-the-art plant in Haldia. The new plant has been manufacturing next-generation automotive batteries using the ‘punched grid technology’ to increase the longevity of the batteries. The company has been in collaboration with the US-based East Penn Manufacturing Company for the technology.

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