The lithium-ion batteries have more or less established themselves as the standard in most electric vehicles globally. By 2025, in terms of sheer value, the demand for lithium-ion batteries is expected to cross $100 billion. However, both in terms of safety and sustainability, it continue to be a worry-point, especially in the Indian context. The worry is would the limited reserves of lithium be able to cater to the global demand and mostly importantly can countries find sustainable solutions to deal with the garbage created by end-of-life batteries and no clear mandate to recycle them?
Randheer Singh, Director, Electric Mobility & Senior Team Member for Advanced Chemistry Cells Program, NITI Aayog, addressing the opening session of FE Electric Mobility Summit 2022 on November 17 said, “India is exploring developing the processing of raw material, reuse and recycle of lithium-ion batteries. The current focus area is to develop cathode and anode.”
This is particularly interesting given that the battery cost comprises nearly 40-50 percent of the EV cost . In fact Singh added that, “Lithium prices are up 6X compared to last December” and this necessitates the urgency to develop local alternatives. He revealed that, “ we are working to bring foreign battery recycling firms to India. The details will be out in few weeks.”
However, speaking on faster EV adoption in the country, Singh pointed out that raw material and the rising lithium prices are not the only challenges. Adequate talent and the scale plays a major role too. “Scaling up EV production a function of availability of right skilled people,” he added. But to add scale, we also need talent and Singh is quick to add that “Up-skilling, re-skilling key to scale EV production.”