Kolkata: Lead-acid battery major Exide Industries on Thursday said the first phase of its 6Gwh lithium-ion battery plant in Karnataka will be ready in 27-30 months, and it has lined up Rs 3,800-4,000 crore investment to execute the project.
The project, spread over 80 acres, will expand to become a 12-Gwh (Gigawatt hour) capacity integrated lithium-ion battery facility involving a total investment of Rs 6,000 crore, and it will take 8-10 years to reach its peak capacity.
“The first phase of 6 Gwh capacity cell making facility including modules in Karnataka will be ready in 27-30 months and will require an investment of Rs 3,800-4,000 crore. Funding will in a combination of internal accruals and bridge loans. The total capex will be Rs 6,000 crore to reach the 12Gwh capacity,” Exide managing director & CEO Subir Chakraborty said at a virtual interaction after the company’s annual general meeting.
He said activities at the site have already started and the journey so far with SVOLT– its Chinese technology partner — and the respective governments has been very conducive.
Asked about import dependence for the lithium and other key raw materials for cell manufacturing, the company said initially it will have to import but expects an ecosystem to develop in future.
Chakraborty also expected more lithium mining will happen with surge in demand and short-term rise in the price of the crucial mineral.
The executive said once the plant reaches its peak 12Gwh capacity, the company is expected to generate a revenue of Rs 10,000-12,000 crore.
“There will be space for everyone as the total pie will grow and they will be among the first to have their plant in the country,” Chakraborty said when asked about intensifying competition in manufacturing capacity in India.
Several companies have announced their plans to set up lithium-ion cell plants. According to estimates, by 2030, the demand will scale to 100Gwh.
Exide has a 1.5Gwh lithium-ion battery module making facility in Gujarat which has commenced operation. Once Karnataka plants begin cell manufacturing then it will feed this unit built in association with Switzerland-based partner Leclanche.
Exide officials said there are some signs of raw material price stabilisation and it may take up to another six months to get back to pre-pandemic level margin.
The company said it is also working on various new technologies in the lead-acid battery space.
“In future, applications may change but lead-acid batteries with new technologies will not become redundant in the next 10-15 years,” Chakraborty said.