US-based clean energy and mobility products start-up Power Global plans to invest around USD 25 million (around Rs 185 crore) to set up a lithium-ion battery manufacturing unit and battery swapping infrastructure in India over the next two to three years, according to a top company official.
The company, which is setting up a one gigawatt hour capacity battery plant at Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh, is also targeting to retrofit around 8 lakh existing conventional three-wheelers in India for conversion into electric versions.
It will tap these retrofitted vehicles for its batteries, which would be offered for swapping through a subscription model.
“We are setting up a (battery) factory now in Greater Noida. This would be a one gigawatt hour capacity plant…With this about 4 lakh batteries would be rolled out from this factory per annum,” Power Global’s India subsidiary CEO Pankaj Dubey told PTI.
Asked by when the plant will start operations, he said, “We’re expecting the mass production to begin sometime in quarter three of next calendar year.”
Power Global will also produce the retrofitting kit from the Greater Noida plant.
On the total investment, Dubey said, “(What) we are looking at in the next two to three years is about USD 25 million initially and then when we scale up more investments will be required.”
When the company scales up, the investments would be much higher but they will be done by others such as infrastructure partners, he added.
Dubey said the idea behind the venture was that of Power Global CEO and founder Porter Harris and he wanted do something about the environment and came up with the idea of making lithium ion batteries in India and do electrification of “the most polluting vehicles in the country like two-wheelers and three-wheelers which are in very large numbers”.
Elaborating on the company’s road map, he said there are about 55 lakh three-wheelers which are on the road today with various solutions, mostly diesel and a bit on CNG and petrol.
“So we plan to convert almost 15 per cent of that in the next five to six years. So a conversion of about eight lakh odd vehicles is the target,” Dubey said.
Stressing on the benefits of retrofitting the current conventional three-wheelers, Dubey said typically these vehicles cost about Rs 2.5 lakh and converting an existing vehicle into electric will be at a small portion of that cost.
“They don’t have to buy a new vehicle. Their existing vehicles only will be converted to our solution and we provide them with a kit to convert, which should be done in just a few hours and then we give them our battery and we sell that as a service so they can swap anywhere,” Dubey said.
Running the electric version “would save almost 50 per cent on the current income that they’re having”, he said, adding by selling Power Global’s battery as a subscription model, it gives warranty of lifetime as long as the customer is a subscriber of the company’s batteries thus avoid spending around 40 per cent of vehicle cost every three years to change batteries.