Surging demand for Electric Vehicles fuels Indian innovation in charging and battery solutions

27th November 2023
Surging demand for Electric Vehicles fuels  Indian innovation in  charging and battery solutions
Inset: i.MX 6 SBC single board computer from iWave

By Anand Parthasarathy
November 27, 2023: Electric mobility is transforming the automotive industry. And batteries – the ticking heart of any electric vehicle -- have morphed into a separate and massive business.  
A November 8 announcement by Counterpoint, highlights a study which  finds that  the global EV battery business  has been growing at 54% year on year, in tandem with electric vehicle sales which grew at 43%.
The battery business is dominated by Chinese and South Korean players who have together scooped up 2/3rd of the global  market. 
Batteries and the availability of adequate Electric Vehicle charging  have emerged as the  central concern of EV owners – and  a big opportunity for ancillary business as well as innovation.
Lithium-ion (Li-ion)  batteries  dominate, but  shortage of lithium has driven developers to come up with  Sodium-ion (Na-ion) as a viable alternative. The lower energy density of Na-ion has restricted its use to lighter vehicles  like two-wheelers and small cars.
Regarding the Indian EV battery market, there is some  variation  in  the estimates offered by market analysts:
Mordor intelligence suggests that the Indian battery market will grow from $16.77 billion in 2023 to $27.70 billion by 2028. However, this is not all EV batteries and includes lead acid  batteries, stationary batteries for UPS etc.
Research and Markets estimates the EV Indian battery market at $ 5.9 billion in 2023, expected to reach $10.14 billion by 2028.
However, there is general agreement that there is good potential for India in the manufacturing of EV batteries since it is currently heavily dependent on importing 60–65 per cent of the total component requirement of a battery for electric vehicles.
While the government does not appear too keen on extending the fiscal incentives offered to buyers of EVs  in India under FAME-2,  it is more generous when it comes to  nudging the indigenous manufacture of EV batteries. A Bloomberg report last week, quoted unnamed sources  to state that the government is all set to announce a Rs 8000 crore ( $9650 million) incentive scheme for the production of electric vehicle batteries in India, aimed at collectively generating a capacity of  20 gigawatt hours of energy.
Expected to bid  for a share of the  incentive are  players like  Amara Raja, Exide, Tatas and Hero MotorCorp who  have already made or announced  investments for the manufacture of EV batteries.
Amara Raja is known to have set up a Lithium-ion facility in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, while Exide has announced  investments for a similar plant in Bengaluru.  Tata Chemicals  is acquiring Lithium-ion technology from ISRO.  Hero, through its major investment in the EV scooter from Ather Energy, is also into EV battery manufacture since Ather’s Hosur (Tamil Nadu) scooter plant will also  make the required batteries. Maruti Suzuki has formed a joint venture with Toshiba for  batteries to power its hybrid cars. (Details of Indian  EV battery manufacturing players sourced from this article in Equity Master)
Embedded solutions
EV charging  requires advanced grid systems, efficient chargers, and home energy integration,  all driving a surge in demand for widespread and efficient charging stations.
To address this demand, Bengaluru -headquartered electronic design and development house, iWave,   is an early mover and has recently created a suite of embedded computing platforms and solutions for powering EV Charging Stations and telematics solutions for electric vehicles.
Its recent offerings include a  Telematics Connect Hub  for electric vehicles which  helps visualize driver and vehicle performance while gathering actionable insights on the battery health, charging schedule, EV station's analytics, routing, and dispatch workflow.  iWave’s solution for erecting a display monitor for a charging station is a  Single Board Computer with efficient graphics rendering for a visually engaging user interface for EV Charging stations. And  its  i.Mx93 System on Modules serves as an ideal building block in designing an Electric Vehicle Charging Controller, seamlessly integrated with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth for wireless connectivity.
Tool for EV owners
One of the largest EV charging networks in India, Statiq,has launched  a tool for EV owners— StatiqConnect --  with features such as Total Kilometers Travelled, improved journey tracking and maintenance planning and a Remaining Range feature  which provides real-time updates on the electric vehicle's remaining range. The Charging Indicator enables users to keep tabs on the vehicle's charging status, aiding in effective daily planning, and the Current Location option supports real-time tracking, offering insights into the vehicle's whereabouts.
Beefing up  EV charging network
Another EV charging company, Charge+Zone  has announced  the launch of a national network of what it calls SuperCharging stations starting with Mumbai and Vellore, which  will be equipped with four guns delivering 60 kWh and one gun delivering 500 amps DC, which offer charging times of just 15-20 minutes. The company has joined Evnnovator to recently tie up with luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz to offer charging solutions tailored to M-B customers
Magenta Mobility, a leading EV charging provider with 800 outlets across India, has developed PLENT, claimed to be India’s first charger with 12 outputs of 3.3 kW each, with a charging time of 3-4 hours
The startup, Energy Company has developed a battery platform called Flexi for ultrafast, adaptive charging –15 minutes for a 50 km range or 55 minutes for 100 kms. – which will work with any brand of 3KW charge
With all these innovations and the gradual proliferation of charging facilities on Indian highways, customers may be slowly persuaded to   make the switch to EVs from petrol, diesel or gas  and help achieve the government's target of  30% EV adoption by 2030 of two wheelers, three wheelers, cars and commercial vehicles.

More illustrations here
This article has also been carried in Swarajya