Electric vehicle maker Ola Electric today announced an investment of $500 million for setting up its Battery Innovation Center (BIC) in Bengaluru.
Ols Electric’s Battery Innovation Center will be "one of the world’s largest and most advanced cell R&D facilities" with more than 165 lab equipment to cover all aspects of cell related research and development, the company says in a statement.
This comes days after Bhavish Aggarwal-led EV maker unveiled its first indigenously developed lithium-ion (Li-ion) cell, NMC 2170. Ola will begin the mass production of its homegrown cell at its upcoming Futurefactory by 2023.
“Electric mobility is a high growth sector which is R&D intensive. Ola’s Battery Innovation Center in Bangalore will be the cornerstone for core cell tech development and battery innovation out of India for the world,” says Bhavish Aggarwal, founder and CEO, Ola Electric. “BIC will house advanced labs and high-tech equipment for battery innovation and will power India’s journey towards becoming a global EV hub.”
Ola’s BIC will be equipped with physical characteristics labs that have high tech research equipment, including x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy machines (XPS), latest Gen 3 CT scan equipment for the non-destructive testing (NDT) for cell and pack imaging, a double planetary mixer, lab slot die coater, electrode fabrication unit, an automated assembly line for manufacturing cylindrical, and pouch cells, among others.
The innovation center will have capabilities to develop complete packages of battery pack design, fabrication and testing under one roof, the electric vehicle company says.
“BIC will also be equipped with in-house production capability of mg to kg scale of anode and cathode material, integrated facility for Hand in Hand Nanoscale analysis and Molecular Dynamics simulation and an in-house crystal structure analysis to develop new battery materials,” it adds.
Ola’s BIC will recruit top global talent including 500 PhDs and engineers who will be supported by an additional 1,000 researchers in India and multiple other global centers, the company says.
The company was recently also allocated 20GWh capacity under the advanced chemistry cell (ACC) PLI scheme by the Government of India for developing advanced cells in India, and is setting up a cell manufacturing facility with an initial capacity of up to 20 GWh, localising the most critical part of the EV value chain.
Ola Electric’s commitment to build a facility imitating the Gigafactory units of Tesla has given it an edge over incumbents, who have struggled to keep up a steady rate of production.
This comes at a time when electric vehicle companies in India have come under the government radar after a series of explosion incidents with e-scooter batteries. The government has urged electric vehicle makers to voluntarily recall all defective EVs.
Taking a strong note of such incidents, transport minister Nitin Gadkari had earlier said it is most unfortunate that some people lost their lives and several have been injured in these incidents.
“We have constituted an expert committee to enquire into these incidents and make recommendations on remedial steps. Based on the reports, we will issue necessary orders to the defaulting companies. We will soon issue quality-centric guidelines for electric vehicles,” he had said. Gadkari also warned that if any company is found to be negligent in their processes, a heavy penalty will be imposed and a recall of all defective vehicles will also be ordered.