The Top 5: India’s Leading-Battery Makers and Their EV battery Plans

Highlights :

  • India’s Leading Battery-Makers: Exide Industries Ltd., ARBL, Luminous Power Technologies Pvt. Ltd., HBL Power Systems Ltd., Okaya Power
The Top 5: India’s Leading-Battery Makers and Their EV battery Plans

In the changing global scenario of battery usage technology, it is worthwhile to observe how India’s Leading-Battery Makers cater to the requirements, and what their EV battery plans are.

The stored-energy needs worldwide have increased with the emergence of the EV segment as a substitute to conventional ICE. With that, the demand for better batteries is constantly on the rise. It must be noted that many types of batteries have been used over time to meet the power requirements of a car. Lead-acid batteries eventually ruled. Now, they finally face a challenge from Lithium-ion batteries, especially in the mobility and increasingly, stationary storage segment.

Li-ion technology trumps earlier technologies in several ways. For example, charging a lead-acid battery can take more than 10 hours. On contrary, lithium-ion batteries take from 3 hours to as little as a few minutes to charge, depending on their size. Evidently, Lithium-ion chemistries can accept a faster rate of current, charging quicker than batteries made with lead-acid. Improvements in total charging cycles or life of the batteries is also helping Li-Ion make a dent. Beyond mobility or EVs, Li-ion batteries are being adopted in telecom towers, mobile phones, and power grids, among others. Some estimates have placed the need for 60 GWh of Li-ion cells by 2025, and twice that by 2030.

Following the global trend of surging Li-ion battery adoption, the Government of India is also taking initiatives to grow the EV market in India. The policies include incentivizing electric vehicle buyers and promoting the Make in India initiative. A PLI scheme for advanced cell chemistries for battery manufacturing is already underway where leading players from within and outside have made bids.

So far, India and Indian car manufacturers are importing Lithium-ion batteries from other countries such as China or Japan. 

So, what is going on with India’s leading legacy battery-makers? How are they tackling the change of concept? Are there any EV battery Plans? To answer these, here’s a list of the top 5 battery-makers in India with their EV battery plans, if any. Keep in mind that legacy players face a special challenge here as besides different chemistries, production processes for Lithium-Ion manufacturing are also completely different, leaving these players few advantages on the manufacturing side. 

#1 Exide Industries Limited

Exide industries limited (estd. 1947) is the leading manufacturer of automotive and industrial lead-acid batteries in India. As of 2021, the Kolkata battery major had a revenue of Rs 15,258 Cr with average 3 years sales growth of 15.81 percent.

Exide has international footprints as well. Exide provides the widest range of lead-acid storage batteries in the world. It offers from 2.5Ah to 20,600Ah battery capacity. The company’s has a production plant in Sri Lanka, other than India. Further, it has distributorship over 46 countries in 5 continents. The company also fares well in environment-friendly practices. Exide claims that 99% of lead produced from its factories is recycled after use.

It is also stepping into the lithium-ion producing industry through its subsidiary company – Nexcharge, a JV with Swiss firm Leclanché SA. Recently, Exide has invested and increased its stake in Nexcharge to start producing lithium-ion batteries considering future demands. The firm has a current capacity of close to 1.5 GWh, with commercial operations already on for key lines. Battery packs and modules are already being supplied to multiple clients across sectors.

Exide has been a strong user of foreign tie-ups for technology absorption and upgrades. It has also signed an agreement with China’s SVOLT for a Lithium ion plant. This grants Exide an irrevocable right and license to use, exploit and commercialize SVOLT’s necessary technology and know-how for lithium-ion cell manufacturing in India.

#2 Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

Amara Raja Batteries Ltd (ARBL) is the second largest manufacturer of lead-acid batteries for both industrial and automotive applications in the Indian storage battery industry. It is headquartered in southern Indian state of Telangana. As of June 2021, it rounded up a Revenue of Rs 6,825 Cr with 3 years average growth of sales pegged at 13.73 percent.

‘Amaron’ is the company’s automotive batteries brand. ARBL supplies automotive batteries under OE relationships to Ford India, Honda, Hyundai, Mahindra & Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki, Ashok Leyland, and Tata Motors, Honda Motorcycles & Scooters India Private Ltd, Royal Enfield, Bajaj Auto Ltd among others. Moreover, it is also a leading manufacturer of home UPS/Inverter batteries under the brand name PowerZoneTM.

ARBL is also eyeing to become a major player in lithium-ion battery production. Recently, Telangana battery-maker has invested around INR 200 million in its Tirupati plant to initiate lithium-ion battery production after it won a bid from ISRO for a tech transfer. Thus, ISRO would now help the company to set up a lithium-ion plant and train its employees.

Amara Raja has also been investing in battery startups in the Lithium space and beyond, even as maximises opportunities in the lead acid space that is its strength. It has already invested  $5 million in Bengaluru based startup Log9 Materials for an 11% stake, besides €10 million equity+debt investment  in InoBat Auto, a Norwegian startup focused on research and development in the field of batteries for electric vehicles and production of lithium-ion battery cells as well as tailored and customs cells.

#3 Luminous Power Technologies Private Limited

Luminous Power Technologies Pvt Ltd. is based in New Delhi. Luminous reported a turnover of around Rs 3,500 crore in 2019-20. This included the power storage business (including inverter, batteries, and solar), which contributed around 85 percent, while the rest was from its home electrical business and exports.

Last year, the firm announced its ambition for a Rs 6,000 crore turnover by FY25. The company is a subsidiary of French engineering company Schneider Electric. It has planned to invest around Rs 500 crore in the next three years for raising manufacturing capacity and boosting logistics as well as marketing.

As of January 2021, Luminous operated seven plants and had a total installed capacity of 30 lakh batteries. This excludes over 50 lakh inverters and fans. Recently in 2022, Luminous Power Technologies has announced the launch of a new product series, “Li-ON”, which integrates inverters with lithium-ion batteries. This also addressed the pressing needs for minimizing the carbon footprint with reduced CO2 emissions, as the firm noted.

#4 HBL Power Systems Limited

HBL is one of the major battery makers in India, with a focus on engineered products and services. Its initial business strategy was finding technology gaps that the company could fill through its indigenous ways. Eventually, the company successfully developed aircraft batteries. This further led to HBL offering the world’s widest range of specialized batteries.

Currently, HBL designs and manufactures Lead-Acid Batteries, Nickel-Cadmium Batteries, and Specialized Defence Batteries. Further, HBL has established its presence in the US, UK, and other European countries as well.

Currently, there’s no landmark EV battery strategy of the company. In recent few years, uncertainties took a toll on the company’s sales. The firm had a revenue of Rs 1,188 crore. Notably, its average of 3 years sales growth declined by 0.81 percent.

#5 Okaya Power

Part of the Microtek group, Okaya Power has moved quickly to establish a strong presence in select niches, like tubular batteries and inverter batteries. The NCT-based firm operates in over 50 countries, leading in 17 countries in product categories across the globe. Okaya Power Group is one of the largest and fastest-growing companies in the segment with a turnover of over 7 billion INR.

Interestingly, the company claims to be the sole manufacturer of automotive, lithium, and tubular batteries that are ideal for inverters and solar applications. 

Recently, the firm has been seen pushing out aggressively in the Lithium Ion segment too, supplying to both 3 wheelers and other categories, including a two wheeler from its own group. The firm has also made a strong push into charging stations. As of December 2021, it set up over 800 EV charging stations across the country. But when it comes to plans at a GWh plus scale, Okaya is still to show its hand.  

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Junaid Shah

Junaid holds a Master of Engineering degree in Construction & Management. Being a civil engineering postgraduate and using his technical prowess, he has channeled his passion for writing in the environmental niche.