Chennai-based Munoth Industries Ltd (MIL), promoted by Munoth group, is set to commission what it calls India’s first full-fledged lithium-ion cell manufacturing unit at Electronic Manufacturing Cluster 2 [EMC 2], located at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.

The factory, which will be inaugurated by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, will commence a pre-production run on September 16. The factory will employ about 250 workers.

First in India

“This is the first time a real manufacturing operation for lithium-ion cells is happening in the country,” said Jaswant Munoth, Vice Chairman of Munoth Industries Ltd (MIL), which was earlier engaged in the sales and distribution of mobile phones.

The 15,000 sq mt lithium cell factory has come up on a 30-acre site with a Phase-1 investment of ₹165 crore. It will have an initial capacity of 270 MWh and can produce 20,000 cells of 10Ah capacity every day. The company has technical tie-ups with China-based Tianjin Lishen and BPI.

Phase I production

Phase-1 production will cater to consumer electronics and digital products such as power banks, mobile phones, and wearable devices. The factory’s capacity can serve about 60 per cent of the current requirement for power banks in India. “We have already tied up with boAT, a leading wearable manufacturer, to supply our cells, while we are in different stages of talks with Amazon, Xiaomi, and Reliance,” said Munoth. The Phase-1 capacity can fetch a revenue of about ₹400-450 crore a year.

Presently, India is completely importing lithium-ion cells from China, South Korea, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. These imports would be in the range of ₹15,000-₹20,000 crore.

Capacity expansion

Under Phase 2 and 3 expansion, the company will commence the establishment of additional capacity for energy storage systems and electric vehicles. This will entail an investment of ₹635 crore, taking the total investment to about ₹800 crore, and the total employment will increase to about 800.

The company said it will produce cells based on OEM requirements with capacities ranging from 50 mAh to 10,000 mAh. “By the end of 2024, it will become a giga factory with a total lithium-ion cell capacity of 1.5 GWh,” said Munoth. It will look at local sourcing of materials such as cathode and aluminum foil in the coming years.

EV segment

In the EV segment, the company plans to produce cells for electric two-wheelers and three-wheelers. Lithium-ion batteries have emerged as the battery of choice for EVs due to their high energy efficiency, decent thermal stability, and low self-discharge.

According to a recent estimate by JMK Research, the annual lithium-ion battery market for automotive applications in India is expected to increase from 2.3 GWh in 2021 to 104 GWh by 2030, and for non-automotive applications, it will increase from 0.3 GWh to 12 GWh.

Munoth also said the plan is to go for listing in 2024, when the company is expected to have achieved a revenue of ₹2,000 crore.