Venturing in a new line of business after establishing a huge empire in textile and garment market, LNJ Bhilwara Group of Rajasthan has decided to develop its business in EV batteries production.
The firm is within the last phases of establishing a 1-gigawatt hour battery facility in Pune in partnership with Replus Engitech and is already trying to develop it to five GWh by 2026.
“We have three different businesses, textiles, graphite and the power generation business. We continue to grow in at least the textiles and graphite businesses, but we also realize that the times are changing,” mentioned Riju Jhunjhunwala, vice chairman, LNJ Bhilwara Group. “Going forward the next 10-15 years, technology, EVs, artificial intelligence are on the cusp of really growing. We as a group cannot shy away from this and we have to have a presence in some of these areas.”
“As the grid in India cleans itself and moves away from thermal power stations, batteries will be the backbone and the majority of the power generation will come from solar and wind,” mentioned Hiren Pravin Shah, govt director and CEO of the LNJ Bhilwara Group & Replus Venture. “As far as EVs is concerned, in the next 3-4 years the industry will mature, volumes will pick up and the range of the batteries will stabilize at a minimum 300 kilometers in real-world conditions. So EVs would account for around 3-3.5-gigawatt hour of the sales for us and stationary storage will account for the rest 1.5 GWh capacity.”
As the grid in India cleans itself and strikes away from thermal energy stations, batteries would be the spine and nearly all of the facility era will come from photo voltaic and wind”, said Hiren Pravin Shah, LNJ Bhilwara Group & Replus Venture
” We would want 20% to come from this particular business in the next 5-7 years, because otherwise it will never be in focus. We have to see this as a serious business,” he mentioned. “What we are really trying from our end is to have the most fast-moving cutting-edge systems integrator, which any of the big companies will need to build a technology. We will watch the big players and if they have to switch from a technology, we should be able to do that extremely fast and at the lowest possible cost.”
“When I talk about cost today, our cost is dependent on the cost of imported cells from China. Tomorrow, when the Indian cell manufacturing starts in two, three years, one really has to see how competitive the Indian cell manufacturers are compared to the Chinese ones,” he added.
“Even in a mature market like China or Europe, there are over 50 brands of batteries with the top 10 who control 80% of the market and about 40 players for the balance 20% with each one having a pie for themselves,” mentioned Shah. “It will be very similar here–very large players in the top five top 10 controlling the majority of the market. Who those top five top 5 will be, we have to wait and see. There will be large battery companies if they can quickly diversify their focus pumping money and there will be some like us completely riding on the technology wave of innovation and new cell chemistries. That is how the market will evolve.”
“We are not limited or restricting ourselves to the Indian market and will definitely want to be a global multinational company. And by virtue of that, we will explore other geographies. For example, there is huge development happening in the Middle East,” Shah mentioned. “They have the money and want to work with very strong technologically sound engineering companies. They want people who know you know the worth of the game and whom they can bet on in terms of technology and engineering. And we will be one of those who will do the execution.”