Nexcharge, a joint venture between Exide and Leclanché, said this week that its new 1.5 GWh, highly automated factory in Gujarat will mass-produce at least 150 types of lithium energy storage products for electric vehicles and grid-based applications.
Its factory in Gujarat is spread across 6,10,098 square feet. It is purportedly one of the largest factories in India for Li-ion battery packs and modules across pouch, prismatic and cylindrical formats. The facility has six highly automated assembly lines and testing labs to produce energy storage systems for electric vehicles and grid-based applications.
Nexcharge said it launched an extensive market study before launching production.
“From January 2019, we started looking at the market to understand customer requirements across market segments such as two-wheelers, three-wheelers, passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, electric buses, invertors, telecom, and UPS. Once we had a clear idea of the requirements, we started developing products. In total, more than 150 products have been developed. Once we developed those blueprint products, we were able to order the production lines [from China],” Stefan Louis, chief executive officer of Nexcharge, told pv magazine.
However, it took longer than planned to build the factory due to pandemic restrictions.
“The production line people were planning to send 30 people to our factory. Unfortunately, we could not get visas for 30 people because these people were coming from China. We were only allowed to get visas for six people. So the time to erect our factory was much longer than originally planned,” said Louis.
Nexcharge will import all of its battery cells from China and other markets until Exide’s proposed cell manufacturing plant is up and running in India.
“Leclanché being a lithium-ion battery manufacturer, we can source cells from them, but they are not suitable for every market we pursue. So we also need to bring cells from other manufacturers. As 75% of the world’s lithium-ion cell production is in China, we have to source cells from there,” said Louis. “Meanwhile, Exide has made a decision to set up cell manufacturing as well, domestically in India. The factory will be ready in 2024 but till then all of our cells will be imported.”
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