Indian Space Agency ISRO has come to the aid of the automobile industry ahead of the paradigm shift to electric cars. In a recent statement, they have offered to transfer their space-grade lithium-ion technology at a marginal cost of Rs 1 Crore on a non-exclusive basis for use in automobiles. The move according to the scientists at ISRO is to promote and accelerate the development of indigenous electric vehicle industry. The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre located in Kerala has opted to transfer their lithium-ion cell technology to the successful Indian industries/start-ups on non-exclusive basis to establish production facilities in the country that can produce cells of varying size, capacity, energy density and power density catering to the entire spectrum of power storage requirements, ISRO said.
According to reports out of ISRO, the request for qualification (RFQ) will be issued from Wednesday for a price of Rs 25,000 and a security deposit of Rs 400,000 has to be paid along with the application. The RFQ contains a brief description of qualification process & technology transfer process, instructions to applicants, eligibility criteria, timelines and various forms for submitting RFQ. Following their registration, candidates will be required to attend a pre-application conference that has been tentatively scheduled for July 13th. All queries or request for additional information concerning the RFQ shall be attended only in the pre-application conference, the space agency said.ISRO also said that the "competent firm's security deposit will be adjusted against the technology transfer fee of Rs 100 lakh. Security deposit of unsuccessful applicants or withdrawn applications will be returned, without any interest". If a company is selected they must be done within 30 days of qualification date."Technology shall be transferred to all/any of the competing firms who qualify the eligibility criteria as specified in the RFQ. The required process documents shall be provided by ISRO at the time of the signing of technology transfer agreement and payment of technology transfer fee," ISRO said.
Presently lithium-ion technology is the most scalable technology in terms of batteries with most mobile phones, laptops, cameras and many other portable consumer gadgets apart from industrial applications and aerospace. The new technology will use space grade materials to solve problems in commercial lithium-ion batteries, like heat management, casing strength and discharge density (which might add to the range). Although we will have to wait until the technologies are released to understand how much they will be able to catalyse the feasibility of the Indian electric car.