Lithium-Ion cell tech to boost production of electric vehicles

Lithium-Ion cell tech to boost production of electric vehicles

In what may boost production of electric vehicles in India in the coming years, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has begun the process of transferring its homegrown technology to the industries for the production of Lithium ion-cell battery.

Thiruvananthapuram-based Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, one of the Isro centres, on Tuesday offered to transfer the in-house technology to competent industries to establish Li-ion cell production facilities in India.

Globally Li-ion battery has outpaced conventional lead-acid battery in the electric vehicle and grid storage sectors due to technological advancement and reduced cost.

Currently, India fulfils its domestic demand by importing such batteries from the US, China, Japan, Taiwan and Denmark.

But with the government push to augment manufacturing of electric and hybrid cars in accordance with the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan, Isro was nudged to release the technology to the industry to expand the production base of these energy-dense batteries that would lie at the core of the electric vehicles.

“Presently, Lithium-ion battery is the most dominating battery system which finds applications in mobile phones, laptops, PDA, cameras and other portable consumer gadgets. Recent advances in Li-ion battery technology has made it the preferred power source for electric and hybrid electric vehicles also,” says an Isro statement.

The space agency developed these cells long ago for its own use in the aerospace sector.

In 2013, the government announced an ambitious plan to push the automobile industries to sell 60-70 lakh electric vehicles from 2020 onwards, as one of the key steps to reduce India's carbon footprint. However, high cost and lack of charging infrastructure remain the two key barriers. For instance, in 2016, only 22,000 EVs were sold in India.

Since local production of these batteries will bring down the cost, the government reached out to Isro as the potential source of the critical technology.

A new estimate carried out by scientists at CSIR, Central Electrochemical Research Institute, Chennai and Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy, Bengaluru show a maximum battery storage requirement of 19.8 Giga-Watt hours for electric four-wheelers, buses and light commercial vehicles by 2020.

Local availability of Li-ion battery storage would also spread the renewable energy to replace the fossil fuel. The estimate – to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Current Science – calculates the grid-storage requirement as 5-15 GWh by 2022. To meet the government target of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022, such high-quality battery is essential.