New Delhi, Apr 18 (FN Representative) Lithium-ion battery pack manufacturer and recycling company Lohum plans to invest up to Rs 250 crore in the next three years to enhance its capacity with plans to foray into electric four-wheeler battery segment, according to a top company official. The company, which currently has battery manufacturing capacity of 300 megawatt-hours per annum, plans to set up a new unit at Greater Noida to take its total battery manufacturing capacity to a ‘gigawatt-hour scale’ to respond to the surge in demand from the electric vehicles segment. ‘What we had anticipated for 2022 capacity, we realised that our capacity will fall short. Immediately… we have to set up more capacity and that is what we are now in the process of doing both on the manufacturing and recycling side,’ Lohum Founder and CEO Rajat Verma told.
Elaborating on the plans, he said, ‘At this stage our immediate goal is to set up a large integrated facility in the next 12 months time frame, where we can manufacture up to 1,000 batteries a day, where we can process up to 1,000 tonnes of old feedstocks a day. Approximately, to go out and set up a gigawatt-hour scale manufacturing facility and a 1,000 tonne (per day) recycling facility.’ The current capacity of the company is approximately 300 megawatt-hours per annum and in terms of units per day it translates into about 200-250 units a day. When asked about investments on the new project, Verma said, ‘In the very near term horizon, we are looking to deploy about another Rs 50 crore. In the next two to three years timeframe, we are looking to deploy an additional Rs 200 crore. All these will into enhancing capacities of battery packs for two, three and four-wheelers.’ Although the company currently offers electric two-wheeler, three-wheeler battery packs along with batteries for storage application, he said Lohum has started a pilot project for electric four-wheeler batteries as well.
‘We have started working with a couple of four-wheeler customers, who don’t do traditional four-wheelers. These are slightly different four-wheeler categories. We are putting together battery packs for the four-wheeler category,’ he said without disclosing the partners. Stating that the project is at a pilot stage at the moment, Verma said, ‘We anticipate to go into mass production there as we set up the factory.’ Bullish on the growth of the EV market in India, he said, ‘Things started looking up pretty well in the September-October timeframe and then a lot of EV models came out in the market. With petrol and diesel maintaining their high prices, the awareness around EVs has percolated at a much deeper scale than we all anticipated.’
Asserting that in two-wheeler and three-wheeler segments, EVs have established a firm footing, he said, ‘In the next 3 to 5 year timeframe, I can be extremely bold and say new sales will probably be entirely driven by electric vehicles.’ With many options and better products coming in the two-wheeler and three-wheeler categories, the price point at operational level is much more competitive compared to the traditional vehicles market, he said adding although with finances coming in for EVs as well, the cost of acquisition will also come down. However, for the four-wheeler segment, specially in small cars and sedans segment, Verma said it will take longer for EVs to be competitive against the conventional vehicles.