Reliance Announces Battery Plans With Launch of Swappable Batteries

Reliance Announces Battery Plans With Launch of Swappable Batteries

The REI Expo, where Reliance Industries has been marking presence gradually over the past two years with technologies it plans to introduce to the renewable sector finally saw the first formal product, in the form of swappable, multipurpose batteries for electric vehicles and home appliances from India’s largest private sector group.

The batteries from Reliance, were unveiled by Chairman Mukesh Ambani at the expo. The interesting aspect that will interest a lot of people will be the interoperability with household appliances, besides the primary role of powering EVs . The batteries can be used by routing the power through an inverter for appliances.

The batteries can be swapped at a network of Reliance’s battery swap stations that will be coming up , besides rooftop solar panels, which are also on the marketing agenda for Reliance. Sales are likely to start in 2024 only however, we believe, even as Reliance has not given any formal time frame yet.

Reliance has already won an allocation under the PLI scheme for Advanced Chemistry Cell manufacturing last year, under which it will set up a 5 gigawatt hours (GWh) battery manufacturing facility by 2026 . It has planned smaller batteries as well as containerised energy storage solutions for larger energy storage projects.

Readers will recall that Reliance has acquired two battery companies for about $200 million in 2021 and 2022, respectively – UK-based Faradion that makes sodium-ion batteries, and Netherlands based Lithium Werks, that produces lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. Besides different technoligies, both these firms are also focused on driving down costs, as seen in the LFP chemistry based batteries that were showcased at REI by Reliance. LFP batteries, as opposed to NMC Lithium batteries are much lower cost, besides proving to be easier in terms of sourcing raw materials.

The presentation by Reliance at the event showed it is also working on customisable batteries for business and individual usage, intelligent swap stations and integrated charging networks.

The issue of Swappable batteries has been contested somewhat by some vehicle manufacturers, who claim that a standardised battery that it entails will stifle innovation. However, on the other hand, supporters argue that it will help lower EV costs and enable a faster transition. As with all major announcements from Reliance, readers will be wise to ignore any initial hype in the short term, while not making the mistake of underestimating the impact of the move in the long term.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International