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Automotive Product Finder Magazine | 20 per cent business is hit with little help from the replacement market
20 per cent business is hit with little help from the replacement market
E mobility and connected vehicles drive automotive batteries market
Ashok Leyland delivers modular platform vehicles with BS VI technology
The automotive battery manufacturers are looking ahead to stabilise demand with implementations of BS VI in April 2020. With this, they are hopeful that neighbouring nations will open new markets for them till the time they venture into the lithium-ion batteries. Though, they caution over conditions post April 2020, if not improved, market will be highly unstable. Anuj Kumar Jain, CEO, Supreme Batteries Ltd., discuss on automobile battery trends in India and market opportunities.
What is the current scenario of automotive batteries in India?
Automobile batteries are subjected to many recent radical changes in the market. Introduction of electric vehicles is one of them. With emergence of electric vehicle, market for connected cars will see a rise. This rise of high-end connected cars opens up a new opportunity for batteries. In an electric vehicle, manufacturers will also have to look into connected aspects and electronic parts and even at the battery for vehicle operations. Such combined work will require efficient batteries for seamless support.
Usage of Graphite batteries is being explored by many in the market but the higher costs of such batteries may not be accepted. These batteries are suitable for electric vehicle operation compared to older battery types like lead-acid battery or nickel-cadmium battery.
Do you see OEM demands pick up next year?
Considering the BS VI regulation deadline, yes, the demand may resume by April 2020. Everyone in the industry is hopeful for the same but until demand actually picks up no one can actually predict future.
Currently, OEM demands are struggling. Almost 20 per cent business is hit with little help from the replacement market.
Additionally, we are also closely following our neighbours as demand for technology and supply can open markets for battery manufacturers in India. We have been exporting batteries to Nepal since 2013. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka also have high numbers of e-ricksaws which can be a lucrative market for us.
What are some emerging trends in the aftermarket automotive batteries?
We will see higher demand from the commercial vehicles especially in the aftermarket. This is due to lifecycle and operations of a commercial vehicle. Our major parts of products are in commercial vehicles while others are in passenger cars and two wheelers. Three years back, we have entered EV auto rickshaw market, which has evolved well. Battery swapping is seamlessly works in this industry. Very few two wheelers offer battery swapping as an option and most are chargeable ones. But we are providing battery swapping options to the business which have scooters in such variant as we are too experimenting with what works for us and what does not.
Are you exploring any expansions, what will they be?
Yes. We had plans to have our new lithium ion plant and part of the same plant for other battery production but have put it on hold till April 2020. Situation will be back to normal by June or July 2020. Then we would further contemplate over expansions.
Tell us about raw material trends in the battery manufacturing?
Lead is the raw material required for manufacturing of a battery. Nickel and cadmium are also widely available. With lead, recyclers provide us regular supply of raw material with consistent pricing. There are currently very less fluctuations in the prices for raw material.
Do you also provide Li-ion batteries? Comment over EVs from battery manufacturer’s perspective.
As an experimental order, we have conducted a pilot but have not forayed into it. We conducted the pilot with one of our partners for viability test. It was not that convincing. Li-ion batteries require very complex machinery, imported cells, skilled manpower but these batteries are not much in demand currently. The replacement market for li-ion batteries may open up by 2025 in a scale that we shall be upgrading our facilities with li-ion battery manufacturing line.
Manufacturing a li-ion battery requires serious efforts and investment. Instead, we are exploring avenues like li-ion battery packs.
Anuj Kumar Jain
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