AEPPL to invest Rs37.15 billion in second phase of lithium battery plant

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Japanese joint venture Automotive Electronics Power Private Ltd (AEPPL) will invest Rs37.15 billion in the second phase of its lithium-ion battery production facility at Hansalpur, in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad district, according to a report in financial daily newspaper Mint.

The joint venture set up by Suzuki Motor, Toshiba and Denso will commit the investment over the 2021-25 period, following a first-phase outlay of Rs12.5 billion to finance production lines for battery packs and modules by the end of the year. AEPPL aims to expand plant output to 30 million cells per year by 2025.

The facility will supply lithium-ion batteries to Maruti Suzuki and Suzuki Motor Gujarat. Suzuki Motor holds a 50% stake in AEPPL with Toshiba owning 40% and automotive components maker Denso 10%.

EV testing

Suzuki Motor, which is developing electric vehicles for launch in India, started field testing 50 prototypes in October 2018. “Testing of these vehicles will help to gather valuable insights as well as critical inputs based on customer perspectives and create a reliable and suitable electric vehicle to delight Indian customers,” stated Suzuki in its 2019 annual report. “We plan to feedback these data to the electric vehicle which is being developed for launch at around 2020.”

The foundation stone for the AEPPL plant was laid in September 2017 at a ceremony attended by prime minister Narendra Modi and Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.

Gujarat is attracting domestic and international interest in lithium manufacturing. American company SimpliPhi Power, which designs and manufactures lithium ferro phosphate energy storage systems, is exploring the possibility of a manufacturing plant in partnership with Adani.

Domestic player Tata Chemicals, part of the Rs7.18 lakh crore Tata Group, has already committed Rs40 billion to set up a 10 GW lithium-ion battery plant in the Dholera Special Investment Region of Gujarat. Jai Prakash Shivahare, managing director of Dholera Industrial City Development Limited told pv magazine last year Tata Chemicals “will set up 1.7 GW capacity in the first phase at an investment of Rs7.5-10 billion and then scale it to 10 GW as demand rises”.