In a move which is set to have a beneficial impact on the nascent electric vehicle industry in India, Suzuki Motor Corporation, Toshiba Corporation and Denso Corporation have reached a basic agreement on establishing a joint venture company for production of automotive lithium-ion battery packs in India.
According to the three Japanese companies’ announcement made earlier today, the joint venture company – with Suzuki 50 percent, Toshiba 40 percent and Denso 10 percent – respectively is to be set up this year with manufacturing operations planned at the earliest. The initial investment will be 20 billion Japanese yen
As per the statement, the three JV partners are bullish on the India market where “higher attention is being paid to the environment, and new CO2 standards for automobiles are planned to be introduced. In the Indian automotive market where compact cars are the mainstream models, introduction of sustainable technology suitable for such affordable cars is required. The battery pack manufacturing joint venture by the three companies will realise stable supply of lithium-ion battery packs in India in the course of promoting sustainable cars in the country and will contribute to the ‘Make in India’ initiative by the Indian government.”
Suzuki Motor Corporation, which is the main driver for the JV, will be key to drive home the advantage of manufacturing lithium-ion batteries in its key global market – India – where the government is keen there is greater adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).
The Indian government has an ambitious target of selling six million EVs by 2020, which is the target of its National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 and the FAME (Faste Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric & hybrid Vehicles) India scheme. At the moment though the target seems light years away, considering only 22,000 EVs were sold in 2015-16, with barely 2,000 being four-wheelers. The government, which is looking to drive increased manufacturing of pure EVs and hybrids, recently withdrew the incentives offered to mild hybrids.
Denso's lithium-ion battery pack
Some years ago, Denso has developed a lithium-ion battery pack that further increases the fuel efficiency of vehicles with stop/start systems. The Li-Ion battery pack, which consists of a battery management unit and power supply control switch, as well as battery cells, stores regenerated power, and then supplies that power to the electrical and electronic components, such as the car navigation and audio systems. This reduces the power generation required by the alternator, which results in an overall load reduction on the engine and improves the vehicle’s fuel economy.
The battery pack is naturally air-cooled and therefore does not require a dedicated battery cooling system. Because there is no need for auxiliary cooling components, this allows the battery to be lighter and more compact. This enables automakers more design flexibility, which is important for vehicles with limited space.
The 2.5kg Li-Ion battery pack’s dimensions are: 200 x 178 x 70 mm (length x width x height).