August 15, 2019: Gautam Chatterjee, chief executive of battery giant Exide Industries, told shareholders at the Indian firm’s annual general meeting on August 3 that he saw ‘no existential threat’ to the future of the lead battery business despite the rising demand for lithium ion batteries and the government’s push for electric vehicles.
He said Exide was poised to face the challenge full on. “It is inevitable that electric vehicles will come. We as a company want to be fully prepared to address the opportunity,” said Chatterjee.
Chatterjee pointed out that irrespective of when widespread EV adoption happens, lead batteries would continue to have a role as the auxiliary battery. He also pointed out that lead batteries have a price advantage over lithium ones — moreover the prices are more stable — as well as being fully recyclable.
Exide has already made moves to offer lithium batteries — as it has in looking at advanced lead batteries.
In June last year Exide signed a joint venture with the Swiss lithium ion battery maker Leclanché. The JV, which will be 75% under Exide’s control, will enable lithium cells, modules and battery packs to be manufactured in the state of Gujarat.
In the firm’s annual report there was positive news about adoption of other forms of lead batteries.
The reported noted that in the industrial battery segment, the firm “crossed a significant milestone by developing, during the course of the just-concluded year, 28MWh of battery storage, mainly for micro-grid energy storage applications.
“The advanced Ultrabattery solution, developed with East Penn Manufacturing and Ecoult Pty, Australia, for grid-level energy storage, has also started to be deployed commercially.
“Together with EPM, the Industrial Battery group has also developed ‘Front Terminal’ AGM VRLA products required by international telecom customers as well as data centres.
“Development of the cutting-edge technology of bipolar battery, in active cooperation with Advanced Battery Concepts (ABC) of the US is on course. The work is scheduled to move beyond laboratory studies to field testing in the current financial year.”