Automotive and industrial battery maker, Exide Industries, is looking to invest around ₹6,000 crore to set up a 12 gigawatt-hour lithium-ion cell manufacturing unit in Karnataka over the next 8–10 years. The first phase of the plant (6 gigawatt-hour), which is expected to be completed in the next 27–30 months, is likely to entail an investment of around ₹4000 crore.

According to Subir Chakraborty, MD and CEO, Exide, the construction work on the project is likely to commence shortly and the first phase will be completed in the next 27-30 months. The funding for the project would mainly come from internal accruals.

“We are a debt-free company and have sufficient reserves. So we will look at internal accruals (to fund the project) and some bridge loan facilities from banks as and when required,” Chakraborty told media post the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday. 

Manufacturing facility

Under Exide Energy Solutions Ltd., the company is setting up the Li-Ion cell manufacturing facility spread over 80 acres in Karnataka. It has entered into a multi-year technical collaboration agreement with SVOLT Energy Technology Co., Ltd. (SVOLT), a global technology company that makes and develops lithium-ion batteries and battery systems for EVs and for energy storage.

As part of the agreement, SVOLT is providing Exide an irrevocable right and licence to use, exploit, and commercialise necessary technology and knowhow owned by them for Li-Ion cell manufacturing in India. SVOLT is also providing the requisite support required for setting up a new manufacturing plant on a turnkey basis.

“Once the first phase is ready, we will look at ramping up the second phase,” he said.

While the company will continue to maintain its leading position in the lead-acid battery market, it has been simultaneously taking steps to strengthen its position in the emerging Li-Ion battery market. One of its subsidiaries, Exide Leclanche Energy Private Ltd, popularly known as “Nexcharge”, is in the business of manufacturing lithium-ion battery packs and modules, along with Battery Management System (BMS) and other control software at its facility in Gujarat.

This factory is one of the largest such manufacturing units in India and has fully automated assembly lines for the manufacture of Li-Ion battery packs and modules for pouch, prismatic, and cylindrical cell formats, he said.

Revenue generation

The company expects to generate annual revenue of around ₹10,000-12,000 crore from its lithium-ion cell manufacturing business in the next 8–10 years. It currently gets nearly all its revenue from the sale of lead acid batteries, which are used in automobiles, inverters and other products.

“It is difficult to say what percentage of the business lithium ion can comprise (in the future) as the lead acid business will also be growing. But once the plant becomes fully functional, it has the potential to generate ₹10,000-12,000 crore,” he said.