Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) announced plans earlier this week to develop and research an alumina-based battery in an effort at reducing India’s dependency upon the People’s Republic of China for lithium supplies.
IOCL execs told local media it has entered into a partnership with an unnamed overseas firm to begin the process. The firm is currently seeking land around India’s automotive production hubs and says it plans to go forward with the project upon receipt of necessary permits and approvals.
India’s government has encouraged domestic firms to take on such projects in recent months. In a budget speech last month Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman spoke approvingly of plans to establish mega-factories for the production of batteries for electric vehicles with the intent of making India a global leader in EV production.
Earlier this year the government revealed plans to establish battery plants for EVs under the rubric of the National Mission on Transformative Mobility. Per the government, the five-year plan would oversee the construction of battery manufacturing plants intended for producing units for sale on the global market. The plants envisioned for the project would be patterned after Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada.
Though the EV market is expected to continue to rise significantly over the coming years, India still has a long road to travel to position itself to take advantage of the rise. The country has failed to keep pace with the digitization of the power-electronics industry, and market penetration for electric vehicles remains at less than 1 percent of total yearly vehicle sales. As the cost of the vehicle’s battery is roughly one-third of the total price of most of today’s electric vehicles, the industry continues its attempts at finding less expensive alternatives.