Indian Oil, the state-owned oil company from India, wants to start the production of battery cells for electric cars in cooperation with a foreign company. However, many details have yet to be announced.
According to Indian Oil CEO Sanjiv Singh, a factory with an annual capacity of at least one-gigawatt-hour is planned. The mineral oil company does not want to rely on lithium cells, but on raw materials that are available in India. According to Singh, one of the reasons is that India has no significant lithium reserves. “We don’t [have] lithium in India so, if you are looking at EVs in a big way, we have to look for something which is indigenously available,” Singh said on the sidelines of the company’s general meeting. “We have already tied-up with one company and we are working on a solution which can be manufactured 100% indigenously.”
Neither the name of the foreign partner for the production nor the planned chemistry of the cells to be produced are officially mentioned. But an indication of where the journey could take us is provided by a cooperation agreement concluded at the beginning of 2018: Indian Oil announced its intention to work together with the Israeli battery company Phinergy on the development and production of metal-air batteries.
According to Ram Kumar, Director of Research and Development at Indian Oil, the batteries will use chemicals “chemistries which are India-centric, whose raw material is easily available in this country and whose recycling industry is well established in this country”. However, neither Kumar nor Singh mentioned a time frame for the battery factory.
The planned cell production is not Indian Oil’s only e-mobility project. The Group intends to increasingly install charging stations and, in the future, battery swapping stations at its filling stations, thus upgrading them to what they call Fuel Solution Centers.