Exide and Leclanche form venture to make batteries for India

Lithium-ion battery cells are seen on the production line of the Eliiy Power Co. plant in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.

Exide Industries Ltd., one of India’s largest battery manufacturers, signed a joint venture with Leclanche SA of Switzerland to make batteries for electric vehicles and the grid in India.

The partnership will produce and sell lithium-ion batteries in India with a focus on packs to power electric buses and e-rickshaws, according to a statement. The companies plan to set up a lithium-ion cell manufacturing plant in Gujarat and a module and battery pack assembly line as well.

“This ideally compliments our leading position in the lead acid storage battery market in India and will allow us to take the lead in the lithium-ion battery industry, which is expected to grow significantly in the next few years,” said Gautam Chatterjee, chief executive officer of Exide.

 India’s large cities have some of the world’s worst air pollution. Electric vehicles are emerging as a solution to reduce nitrogen oxide, a harmful gas mostly emitted from cars and trucks. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a target to install 100 gigawatts of solar power by 2022, which is likely to create a demand for batteries to help stabilize the grid.

“In a region that is expected to be one of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets for electric vehicles, the JV shall provide Leclanche with giga-scale procurement volumes,” said Anil Srivastava, CEO of Leclanche.

Leclanche will license its technology to the joint venture for manufacturing, module making and associated systems. It will be the minority shareholder in the venture. The assembly line is expected to operational by the second quarter of 2019 and the cell production plant the year after.