Benling, eBikeGo electric vehicle supplier Ipower to roll out India-made battery cells soon

Vikas Aggarwal, MD of Ipower Batteries Pvt Ltd, spoke with Express Drives and explained what are the challenges faced in battery manufacturing, and the plans of expansion.

iPower battery factory

Electric vehicles have the battery as their main component. The battery is the powerhouse that provides the vehicle with the capacity to propel itself forward or in some cases, reverse as well. The biggest challenge today is the fact that the batteries are imported and due to this the cost of the EV goes up. Did you know that 60 per cent of your electric vehicle’s cost is due to the batteries. Now, in India, there are very few companies that manufacture these batteries – primarily due to to the higher cost of making them in-house. Express Drives happened to chance upon one such battery maker – Ipower. This company has a backing of three decades of experience in battery manufacturing and R&D, though Ipower Batteries started full-fledged operations in December 2019 and has emerged as one of the leading green energy battery suppliers for OEMs, 2-wheelers, 3-wheelers.

Vikas Aggarwal, MD of Ipower Batteries Pvt Ltd, spoke with Express Drives and explained what are the challenges faced in battery manufacturing, and the plans of expansion. Here are the excerpts from the conversation.

ED: How was the company formed? What was the idea behind it, the financial backing as well as who are the board members?

Vikas Aggarwal

With a legacy of 30 years in the battery industry and market experience, Computech Systems formed the base for Ipower to take off, which started out with trading in batteries. Ipower Batteries Pvt Ltd was incorporated in Dec 2019 with the intent of manufacturing Lithium-ion batteries for automotive and allied applications. The company has a backing of almost three decades worth of experience in clean energy storage providers and 10 years in electric mobility. With the impactful vision of revolutionizing India’s transport system, Ipower is fuelling up electric mobility in the nation. We have a pioneering legacy of batteries, now ready to empower India in becoming a 100% EV nation.

To start Ipower batteries, the founders used their good tie ups with the banks to roll out this venture. After the pandemic itself they have invested close to Rs 25 million in to facilitate the fast-growing need of the market. Also, they hope to further double their investment in next two years.

The company was founded by Vikas Aggarwal and Chhavi Aggarwal as founding directors. The mission of the company is to establish Ipower as a pioneer in the evolving energy solution space in India by developing an ecosystem of delighted customers, committed partners and pay back to the community with our exceptional product quality and delightful service.

ED: How big is the battery manufacturing facility, investment in it and the location?

The company is headquartered in New Delhi, while the manufacturing unit is based in Kundli, Haryana which is 50,000 sq ft state-of-the-art facility which is fully IMS certified (ISO 9001-2015,14001:2015,45001:2018) & producing high-quality Lithium-ion batteries. All government compliances like ICAT, ARAI, govt recognition for our R&D are in place. So far, we have invested approximately Rs 20 million in it and with time intend to invest more with regards to the growing demand for the product.

ED: Do you still import the battery cells? What are the challenges in manufacturing these battery cells in India?

VA: Yes, the majority of the cell units are imported from different countries like Chile, Japan and PRC. Ipower is a company that works with the concept of “Make in India” being one of its core principles, as a result of which except cells all other parts are indigenised. Currently, the Ipower in-house R&D team is working on developing cells in-house and aim to deliver a world-class Li-ion cell in the next 2-3 years, with this we wish to soon align completely with the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission of the Indian Government. Only Li-ion batteries are currently assembled by Ipower.

ED: How many batteries do you roll out in a day?

VA: Currently with our new manufacturing capability in place we have an infrastructure with the capability to manufacture 500 battery packs per day and we are constantly innovating to get better at this, both in terms of increasing our quality and capacity. Till April ’21 we are expecting to reach full production capacity and make 200 packs each day. We are already in an expansion mode with regards to upgrading and multiplying our manufacturing capacity. In the coming years, we are looking at fresh funds investment to upgrade ourselves further to keep us market ready for the burgeoning demand.

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ED: Thoughts on the battery boom in the Indian market, demand as well as supply chain issues…

VA: Presently, we are in the advent of the age of electric vehicles in India and it is expected to become more important in near future. We understand that the era of mass usage of non-renewable fuels for commuting is soon coming to an end, it is time we move towards sustainable forms of energy, and the best way is to go electric. The government itself has undertaken various initiatives to promote electric vehicles in the country. The country has an ambitious target of becoming an EV nation by 2030. In the process toward mass adoption of electric vehicles in the country, the government has also announced many schemes and incentives like FAME policy. Therefore, the growth in the Indian EV market is expected to have a direct impact on the growth of the lithium-ion battery market in the country and thereby driving the market.

India is yet to achieve commercial Li-ion cell-manufacturing capacity and has to completely depend on imports. With this booming requirement of reliable energy solution providers in India we wanted to play our part in giving India a push towards the right path of going electric and fuel its electric mobility revolution. With the increasing demand in the market, it was crucial for us to rethink our supply chain models—especially considering in mind that Lithium-ion battery industry has been an import-driven one. “Make in India” is one of our core principles, as a result of which except cells all other parts are indigenized. Ipower has worked closely with the various raw material suppliers with their R&D and partnered to create a state-of-the-art Battery Management System which gives it an edge to manufacture high-grade energy storage solutions in India.



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